On Monday 25 March, the Stationers Company welcomed Simon Fox, CEO of Reach plc to Stationers Hall where he delivered the annual lecture. He took as his theme ‘The Power of Print’ and developed the argument that, although print based businesses faced continuing challenges in the face of the digital onslaught, there was room for both print and online services especially where the delivery of news was concerned.
He described how the Reach transition to digital and online offerings was essential to its continued success but also noted that the delivery of news stories through the printed medium was still important; major stories, images, and opinion pieces all continue to have their initial impact in printed form. He contrasted the fact that print still thrives albeit as a reduced but still profitable business with the demise of business such as Freeserve, Myspace, Friends Reunited, ‘and plenty of other websites that were supposed to be banging the nails into its coffin’.
With a broad business background which includes music, books, office products and now newspapers, Simon was able to draw on examples to illustrate his thinking from a wide range of the sectors which the Stationers’ Company covers.
Simon concluded that print may not have the power it had in the 18th century, but we shouldn’t write it off just yet.
Liveryman Peter Day, former BBC business correspondent, introduced the evening and moderated the subsequent discussion.