Changes in information consumption habits have been especially rapid and deep in the last five years. As examples, Facebook, with more than 90 millions users at the time of this writing, was launched on 2004, and YouTube, a new model that has revolutionized the way the users are getting content, as well as the content itself, started in 2005. These rapid changes are threatening the printing industry. What will be the motivation and environment for consumers to print? What content will consumers prefer to print? What values will consumers appreciate in the print product versus the digital? What will be the role of the printing industry in this new environment? This research is focused exclusively on personal printed products that are created by the current US college-aged population, and offers a prediction for the research questions based mainly on the analysis of 21 interviews conducted with experts in the printing industry and on a wide literature review. The main conclusions obtained in this study are: The current college-aged US population has a very limited interest for printed personal products at their current stage of life, but this interest will grow substantially in the next years. They will print many more personal products than the previous generation did, very often through a social networking environment. The content of these new products will be more visual and more personal, covering all kinds of daily events. Users will use mostly their own content, but they will be able to blend it with professionally created content in a broad gamut of products. Personal printed products will extend to other products and substrates, such as textiles. Printed products are perceived less as a useful or convenient and more as a sensorial and fixed products, something that has value itself. The value of the printed products is precisely that they cannot be used for a purpose other than the purpose of the author. They cannot be reprinted. The industry has to make the process extremely easy for the user, to remove knowledge needed, to be accessible from everywhere at any time, and to make the whole process easy, fast, and fun. The new professionals will need to understand the whole workflow as a manufacturing process, to improve communication skills, to pay more attention to customer service, and to understand how databases interact with content to customize any printed product.
Library of Congress Subject Headings
Digital printing--United States--Research; Digital printing--United States--Forecasting; Electronic publishing--United States--Research; Online social networks
Department, Program, or Center
School of Print Media (CIAS)
Martinez, Javier Rodriguez-Borlado, "A study of emerging opportunities for digital print production of user-generated content" (2008). Thesis. Rochester Institute of Technology. Accessed from
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