World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers

The new e-business: print

World News Publishing Focus

World News Publishing Focus
Your Guide to the Changing Media Landscape

The new e-business: print

More and more new business models for printing houses are entering the market. During the past few years, online shops have successfully established themselves as employment engines in the printing industry. Online print is a new, upcoming trend that could potentially revolutionise the printing industry in the long term. Why? Because online opens the door. When properly implemented, it creates substantial follow-up orders, in particular for magazines and daily newspapers.

Flyeralarm, Vistaprint and Cewe have already shown us how. Online print shops are an extremely lucrative market segment with a good prognosis. A bandwagon that new providers so far have tried to jump onto. But today, it’s not enough to just ride the bandwagon. It’s essential to expand this innovative business model with a view to the future. It’s exactly this approach that online print takes. It builds on the principle of the digital marketing of print products on different platforms such as online shops, print portals, data reception websites, mobile websites and apps and to make it competitive.

Participating in growth with online print

In view of the market forecast, it is hard to believe that only a few companies have actually turned to online print so far. Its huge growth potential has by no means been fully exploited. Revenue from online print totaled 2.4 billion euros last year in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, whereas its potential is estimated to be somewhere in the region of 6 billion euros. ( In addition, studies predict that the volume of online print in terms of the total print market will rise from 10 percent to 17 percent in 2016. (

Professor Gerrit Heinemann from the Lower Rhine University of Applied Sciences, an e-business pioneer, has even gone one step further. He claims that in a few years’ time, there will hardly be a demand for offline print. In particular, he sees great potential in helping local retailers to bring their businesses online. In a nutshell: order online, deliver offline.

Those who risk it now have everything to gain. Taking the following five maxims into account, all signs point to success for printing houses that enter the online print market segment:

1. Be courageous. Use online to increase customer loyalty. Show your existing and new customers that you are open to new ideas and understand and implement new trends. Keep trying out which business models suit you and your customers.

Don’t be afraid of trying out new things. You’ll see - it’s worth it.

2. Think along unconventional lines when it comes to marketing. Expand your online marketing channels and create business opportunities for discussing further orders. In the long run, online print also means producing and customising your print products in smaller numbers.

3. Opt for cross-channel. The key to success is a combination of different media. Put the concept of high-revenue print production in the context of digital marketing strategies on your agenda.

4. IT processes - right from the start. Online print based on open and closed web portals requires professional planning and implementation right from the start. A standardised workflow from start to finish – from the publisher’s to the different workflow processes to forwarding the production data to service providers – is absolutely essential. In online print, the costs of implementing, maintaining and operating new software and hardware solutions pay off within a very short time.

5. Set boundaries and get focused. Online print often means consolidation. Be bold. Business alliances between printing houses with different spheres of activity offer customers a large portfolio that targets all their requirements.

Recognising trends and winning new customers

Even if you’re not the first to turn to online print, you’re still up front if you’re quick off the mark. You can learn from the experts, such as Dierotationsdrucker and The Newspaper Club.

  • Dierotationsdrucker: Whether magazines, catalogs, daily newspapers or inserts, clearly demonstrate that there are no longer any areas where you have to remain offline. A successful coldset model for web printing.
  • Newspaper Club: The custom daily newspaper is not just a dream, it’s reality! The Newspaper Club (, founded in 2009, has successfully implemented this service. According to their information, more than 4 million copies have been printed for thousands of customers worldwide. The idea behind this is simple: Free time on the printing presses is used to enable others to print their own newspaper at favourable conditions.

You should go online, too. Those who aren’t on the World Wide Web are the losers. I’m absolutely convinced of this.

As CTO at ppi Media, Jan Kasten is responsible for expanding the software company’s digital business areas and focuses on specific topics, tools and solutions to make the daily workflow for publishers and printers easier, more innovative and multimedia-oriented. A focal point is online print.

Kasten held management positions in the prepress and IT departments at Märkisches Verlags- und Druckhaus GmbH & Co. KG before becoming Head of Product Management for Prepress Systems at Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG in 1998. He joined ppi Media in 2002. After serving as Head of Product Management for many years, he rose to managing director of the company in 2014, where he is responsible for the development, support, quality assurance, documentation and training divisions.


WAN-IFRA External Contributor


2016-02-10 13:38

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