Thursday, October 29, 2009

Technology is nice, but new business models change the world. This week is step one for print. Go Oce! Go Esquire!

Technology takes a long time to get just right. The internet started in the 1960's. When Mosaic was released it was a huge step. When Google went public, the history took a step sideways.

Digital print started when Xerox introduced the Docutech in the early 1990's. QR was invented in the 90's in Japan. This week the signs are getting clearer that the world of print may be taking a step sideways this year.

First this story at
The paper, called Niiu, is all about consumer choice: it gives readers the freedom to choose the types of articles they want to read, culled from a wide range of German and international news sources. After registering on Niiu's website,, readers can access other newspapers online and select the pages or sections they find interesting, designing their own specialized paper. But instead of reading it online, Niiu is printed overnight and delivered to the subscriber's door the next morning, just like any other newspaper.
Then this story at

It’s time to get excited about magazines again. The National Magazine company is championing augmented reality with its December edition of Esquire.Link

Readers will be able to hold the US edition in front of a webcam and an on-screen image of the magazine will, spring to life with letters flying off the cover.

As the magazine is shifted and tilted, the animation on the screen will move accordingly while cover star Robert Downey Jr. emerges out of the on-screen page in 3-D.

The animation is triggered by a box located just below Downey's cover image which resembles a crossword puzzle and hits news stands on November 16.

For the last 10 or so years, the world of print has tried to evangelize the power of digital print. Inside the trade, it seems so obvious. But tipping point changes don't happen inside a trade.

The enormous efforts at "educating the customer, the PSP, the CMO" have not been successful at scale. It's not because the industry has done a bad job. It's because "real" means new business models.

Now that all the pieces have fallen into place, the era of "education" will probably be replaced by the era of execution.

Print is back.

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