ERA’s Annual Conference this year took place in Turin, Italy on 24-25 September. More than 100 representatives from publication gravure printers, the supply industry and print buyers from all over the world followed ERA’s invitation to discuss the status of publication gravure in the current challenging environment.
The delegates witnessed insights from key players, from the industry and customer side, as well as presentations from experts about the industry’s future. The conference was enhanced by a visit to OMG Cerutti in Casale Monferrato and Vercelli where the latest gravure press technology such as the newly developed Aurora press was explained. On the occasion of the conference the ERA members also elected a new president: José María Camacho, CEO of CirclePrinters who will lead the organisation of the European gravure industry for the coming three years.
The conference started with a keynote address by Stefano De Alessandri of Mondadori, Italy’s leading media house. Under the headline “Print vs. online in publishing – will the printed magazine disappear? De Alessandri’s magazine-publishing view was followed by Stefan Svensson of IKEA who talked about the new role of the IKEA catalogue. From an initial print run of half a million, the catalogue is now delivered to over 200 million households and is read by more than 500 million potential customers. Whereas the catalogue is still IKEA’s main tool to drive traffic into their stores, the number of visits to their web site has grown to over 900 million per year. This has led to a redesign of the catalogue which has developed from a mere illustrated list of products towards a lifestyle magazine with a changed format and higher paper quality to give it a more glossy appearance. The high print run of their catalogue will further grow when markets such as Brazil, Mexico and India open IKEA stores, which will continue to favour gravure.
Other speakers included Alberto De Matthaeis of Burgo who talked about trends in the paper market and the industry’s response, Christophe Barth of Burda, Bill Martin of the GAA, ERA’s sister organisation in the USA and Dr Bernd Vogt, former member of Otto Group’s executive board who explained the many benefits of the printed catalogue for the mail order industry. Former ERA President Giorgio Ferraris offered an overview on the central role of the catalogue in communication and Dr Kai Hudetz showed examples of side-effects of the online revolution.