Meeting more often, exchanging information and analyses, coordinating new lobbying actions. Editors and suppliers deliberate on the prospects of printed paper in the digital age and make preparations for the paper/graphics/convertig general assembly. Meanwhile, Converflex and Grafitalia part ways…

Economic highs and lows, prospects for (modest) growth and new ideas for more effective lobbying at the assembly of the paper and graphics industry federation, which is a member of Confindustria. Made up of Assocarta, Assografici and Acimga, with Comieco as an associate member, the organization held a meeting with its members last June 17th in Milan, where it also hosted an important address by Centrexpo and opened the floor to other printed paper institutions, with speakers from the ranks of presidents of publishers’ associations (Marco Polillo for AIE) and specialized magazine publishers’ associations (Antonio Greco for ANES). These along with Paolo Culicchi (current president of Federgrafica and Assocarta), Giovanni Battista Colombo (Assografici) and Marco Calcagni (Acimga), moderated by the journalist for Sole 24 Ore Andrea Biondi, reflected collectively on the prospects of the sector and welcomed Culicchi’s proposal to hold, similarly to other economic sectors, a general assembly of the industry to unite forces, exchange information and stimulate growth together.

Challenges, not threats.
The sector – this was the heart and centerpiece of every speech – is going through a difficult and seemingly endless phase, in which it is being tested not only by periodic ups and downs but also by a structural change in media in the digital era and, consequently, in the consumers’ habits reading and accessing information.
Such changing habits have been documented in the research study “The joy of turning the page: the paper book in the digital age”, presented and commented on at the event by the director of Ipsos, Nando Pagnoncelli, and such habits challenge the culture industry. «A challenge, but no threat», the researcher emphasized, focusing his audience’s attention on certain aspects, firstly the publishing crisis (and thus also that of the graphic arts): the drop in readers of books and periodicals does not depend on solely on the growth of digital media but also on a complex of social factors (aging population, low school attendance, multi-tasking access to different available information channels…); the use of digital devices is not alternative but complementary to paper media; the information one accesses on the Internet is fast but fragmentary and superficial, leaving unsatisfied the need for holistic knowledge and depth; the development of the Internet has not impeded the growth of other media, like TV which continues to acquire market shares and radio, which has done an excellent job repositioning itself in the new media context. On the basis of these reflections, the expert suggests that publishers and printers accept the challenge, because paper will not disappear, and paper media could find a new role and new life by responding to the “vacuum” of “real” knowledge we all experience.

Converflex e Grafitalia:2 different roads. Guido Corbella, managing director of Centrexpo, spoke at the Federgrafica assembly with a few important updates on sector fairs, which, as is known, represent one of the industry’s main promotional vehicles, in Italy and abroad. After an intense phase of re-focusing, keeping in mind the dynamics of the markets represented, it was decided to divide Converflex and Grafitalia, with the objective of better valorizing each of the two events.

From now on, Converflex will continue to be held in strict synergy with Ipack-Ima, starting with the major appointment of next May 19th-23rd at Fieramilano, in parallel to Expo 2015. The choice results from a strategy to progressively re-orient converting technologies toward packaging, as well as a growing interest among packaging end users (the visitors of Ipack-Ima) in printing and converting technology.
As for Grafitalia, the choice of taking a different path has to do with a growing divergence between the economic and technological dynamics of the two fairs.

With the approval of Assografici and Argi, the historic graphic arts association will thus postpone its next fair until 2017 (the year after drupa). In the meantime, “Grafitalia days” will debut, with a series of events/debates on specific pressing issues, designed to respond to the on-going technological development of the industry.  The steering committee is already working on the first “Day”, which will be held within the end of the current year.                                                             

Aldo Peretti becomes president of Centrexpo
Centrexpo SpA (which heads the group that organizes printing, packaging and processing fairs, and controls Ipack-Ima SpA) has new leadership. Aldo Peretti has been nominated president, while Guido Corbella has been confirmed as managing director; the new board of directors includes Claudio Covini, Federico Cherubini, Silvana Canette, Marco Calcagni and the former president Felice Rossini.
Peretti, trained as an engineer, is CEO and shareholder of the Uteco Group (printing and converting machinery), as well as vice-president of Acimga (Italian Manufacturers Association of Machinery for the Graphic, Converting and Paper Industry).