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Have we got an app for you

We like to conduct reader surveys now and then to make sure the content we carry both online and in print addresses your needs and interests as squarely as possible. 
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We like to conduct reader surveys now and then to make sure the content we carry both online and in print addresses your needs and interests as squarely as possible. But a reader survey we conducted in May took a slightly different tack. Rather than seeking information about what content you want to access, this survey was more about how you access content. Specifically, it asked how many readers are using a tablet computing device, the current darling of the information access scene.

Well, you surprised us. It turns out that nearly half of you already own a tablet and that by this time next year, 80% of you will own one.

And you’re not just using them to read books or stay abreast of what’s happening in sports, fashion, world news, or the latest reality TV show. You’re using them to access industry- or work-related media in the form of e-mail newsletters, industry Web sites, and digital magazines.

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Armed with this information, we came to the obvious conclusion that it was high time we got a whole lot better at providing you our content in this exciting new format. So we’re releasing two apps that you can download for free. Do this by either visiting Packworld.com/apps or by searching the Apple app store for Packaging World.

Full details on these apps—and some mighty interesting statistics based on our May survey—can be found in a page 118 story written by our new media director Dave Newcorn. Along with web developer Albert Jankowski and eMedia art director Jen Babiarz, he’s been driving this development, and I couldn’t agree more when he says it’s the beginning of a whole new era in publishing and media. Our thanks to 3M and Pro Mach, by the way, the sponsors who helped make all of this possible.

Let me draw your attention to a second survey you’ll find in this pleasingly plump September issue of ours. Conducted jointly by Packaging World and InfoTrends, a highly regarded research firm that specializes in digital printing, it measures brand owner opinions of digital printing’s place in packaging. As InfoTrends’ Bob Leahey points out in his page 90 story, brand owner awareness of digitally printed labels and packaging is growing. And while prime labels are currently leading the way where commercial applications are concerned, folding cartons and flexible packaging could come on strong in the near future. Among the drivers at work here is that brand owner commitment of sustainable packaging is at an all-time high. Because digital printing is essentially a just-in-time approach to making labels or packaging, it cuts the brand owner’s risk of having to send obsolete packaging inventory to the waste stream.

Two other factors make digital printing attractive. One is the continued proliferation of SKUs, which Leahey calls “versioning.” As brand owners target markets according to gender, age, geography, or ethnic group, they need more and more versions of the package or label they use for their product. The versatility of digital printing makes it a natural solution for meeting the versioning challenge.

Digital printing could also benefit from the growth of interactive mobile marketing. Printing of QR codes, for example, can currently be done on either a digital press or a more conventional flexo, offset, or gravure press. But once a brand makes a connection with a consumer by way of a QR code, the brand owner can then think about ways to personalize a label or a package in a one-to-one marketing strategy. And the best way to do that is with digital printing.

I hope you find both of these surveys useful. And if you want to learn more about our new tablet apps, by all means stop by and see us at the Packaging World booth at Pack Expo Las Vegas.

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