Sign of the times – SGIA Acquires NAPCO Media

Sign of the times – SGIA Acquires NAPCO Media



Ron Gilboa

On August 6, 2019 the Specialty Graphic Imaging Association (SGIA) announced that it has acquired NAPCO Media. “Under the terms of the agreement, which has been unanimously approved by SGIA’s Board of Directors, NAPCO Media – owners of Printing Impressions, Packaging Impressions, Promo Marketing, In-Plant Impressions, Total Retail, Target Marketing, and Wide-Format Impressions – will become an LLC and will continue to operate as an independent entity. All NAPCO Media staff and business units will remain in place. SGIA offices and NAPCO Media offices will continue to reside in Fairfax, Va., and Philadelphia, Pa., respectively. “

Since the 2017 announcement of the strategic partnership between SGIA and NAPCO to create the Printing United show, both vendors and print service providers have been abuzz about what this new relationship will bring to the industry at large. As industry segments such as sign & display, commercial printing, and packaging are becoming attractive to different types of PSPs, they are all looking to add value to clients and invest in the supporting technologies. In past decades technology capital expenditures and labor costs were barriers PSPs had to overcome a transition from one segment to another. Today with advancements in internet-based communications, cloud computing, digital workflow, and the growth in digital printing equipment, many PSPs can now reach out to adjacent segments using these technologies for the benefit of their clients, meeting the demand for mass customization and timely production.

According to Ford Bowers, CEO and President of SGIA “In an industry where traditional boundaries and segments continue to come together, an organization that spans the breadth of the industry is needed more than ever. Research, education, training, relationships, government affairs, technology and more are not nearly as siloed as they once were. It is imperative that organizations develop a broad ability to address market needs, either through more close-knit collaboration or, as in this instance, combination.”

Sign of the times…

PSP opportunities for education and kicking the tires of new equipment has evolved from mainly trade shows into new routes to insights. The advent of the internet and suppliers’ outreach have diminished the role of some trade events just to kick the tires on new products. Additionally, cost constraints in the era since the great recession have reduced travel budgets. These considerations have a direct impact today on PSPs’ decisions about which Industry events to attend, as well as which industry organizations to support for their ongoing need for technology, education, advocacy, and business development.

We also see ongoing shifts in trade show attendance and industry association membership. Regarding trade shows, the list of print-related offerings in the US included Graph Expo, inPrint, ISA, ISS, LabelExpo, SGIA, Seybold, On Demand, Pack Expo, Xplor, Print to name a few. Some flourish today, such as ISS, Label Expo, SGIA, ISA, and Pack Expo, but On Demand and Seybold are now gone while others appear diminished.  As to industry associations, the list includes APTECH (PRIMIR), Idea Alliance (PIA , NAPL), PMMI, XPLOR, IPMA, NPOA, PPI, TAPPI and TLMI; there too we find shits in their focus to better address the needs of evolving audiences.

In this changing marketplace the coming together of SGIA and NAPCO reflects the change typical in the current era of industry consolidation. On a practical basis, the deal brings together important resources for education, content and industry events. The combined SGIA and NAPCO will leverage their assets to gain share of wallet from suppliers and PSPs who are looking to maximize return on their investment and will allow them to differentiate and meet their customers’ needs.

SGIA in its core is a members’ organization that has focused on the sign & graphics segments. With Printing United and now with the acquisition of NAPCO Media, SGIA expands its tent to include the US printing industry at large, and become a significant platform for education, media, content and trade event provider. This acquisition continues the consolidation trends that our industry has witnessed for a while that will undoubtedly impact other associations and trade shows. With it, SGIA and its leadership will continue to support PSPs and enable their continued evolution.
Next stop, for further insight: The Printing United show, to be held October 23-25 in Dallas, Texas.