Page 26 - Print 21 Magazine March-April 2019
P. 26

Wayne Robinson
Turning audiences into customers
PMP is no more, the industry’s biggest print business is now Ovato. Wayne Robinson asks the company’s CEO Kevin Slaven what is behind the move, and what he hopes to achieve.
The country’s biggest printer PMP is consolidating its portfolio of more than 20 businesses into Ovato, a
new brand for the $756m operation. CEO Kevin Slaven flagged the change at the company’s AGM late last year, and has just seen the company ditch familiar names and logos across all its businesses, and bring them into the Ovato branding.
The rebrand will see a reorganisation of its core competencies around four pillars of print, distribution, agency and production, in order, it says,
to support the vision of turning audiences into customers, and driving growth.
The Ovato brand will unify
all companies across the group, including PMP Print, book printer Griffin Press, and distribution operator Gordon and Gotch. None
of the venerable names - some more than 100 years old - survive. Its multiple other businesses at both the front end and back end of the print production process that it
has acquired or started over recent years are all also not Ovato. These include SBM, a full-house creative and production business; Traction Digital, which provides digital marketing and engagement services; Spectrum Group, a PR, digital and content marketing agency, and a dozen others.
Sitting in the uber-trendy PMP offices in a converted warehouse
just off Darling Harbour, CEO Kevin Slaven looks relaxed and confident in the environment, and when I talk to him, in the new situation. He says, “My job as CEO is to set the strategic direction, and see it executed. When IPMG and PMP joined it meant
there were more than 20 different businesses operating in the group, with getting close to 2000 staff.
“We needed a shared identity. We needed a clear vision. We now have that vision, turning audiences into
26  Print21 MARCH/APRIL 2019
customers, and we now have the shared identity, in Ovato. It is not
only important for our staff, but for our customers, many of whom were dealing with different businesses under different names that were in fact all part of the same group. Now they know they are dealing with a single entity, Ovato, whether they
are at the front end with say creative services, in print and distribution, or in the back end say with measurement.
Opportunity to focus
“Our rebrand gives us the oppor- tunity to focus on our clients and their needs directly, around our promise of turning audiences into customers,” he says. “While each of our businesses will come under the single brand, our work and commitment with all our clients will remain constant.”
The print industry is evolving,
and quickly. Anyone who had been on a desert island for the past two years would barely recognise it, especially at the top end of town, with what was a five strong heatset web industry now the duo of Ovato and IVE. Similarly in related fields Fairfax is no more, neither is Adshel nor APN Outdoor, as big business recalibrates to meet the changing market demands. And in print
there is none bigger than what was PMP and IPMG, businesses that
are having to show an agility that doesn’t always work with their
size and historical footprint. The global print world is littered with
the corpses of similar types of businesses in other markets, Polestar in the UK being a prime example.
Slaven says Ovato survived thanks to its ability to make quicker decisions and take action. And despite the trials and tribulations in of the industry it is still pumping out 230,000 tonnes of print a year.
Indeed the new Ovato business will have print and distribution at
its core, and will have a growing number of front end businesses such as creative agencies, marketing, photo suppliers, and and back end businesses including monitoring, data analytics, data interrogation, ROI measurement, all to drive growth. Slaven says, “We know what we are and we know our value to the market. We will continue to invest in all aspects of our business, to ensure we are providing the best outcome for our customers.”
The catalogue business today is around 70 per cent of the Ovato print activity, with publishing around 30 per cent. However catalogues are in decline, around 2-3 per cent per year, and consumer magazines by around 10 per cent
a year. So where is growth going to come from? Slaven says, “There
“We needed a shared identity. We needed a clear vision. We now have that vision, turning audiences into customers, and we now have the shared identity, in Ovato.”
– Kevin Slaven, CEO, Ovato
are still a hell of a lot of catalogues being published, and as we work more closely with retailers and offer then more services in monitoring, measuring, customer engagement, the catalogue business will continue to be a strong part of our business for many years to come. And while some high volume magazines are seeing circulations fall other custom content titles are surging, for instance the Coles magazine, which is the highest run title in Australia, by a country mile.
“Our front end and our back
end services resonate with our customers, and new services we are

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