HP announces partnerships with MySpace, MTV

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HP executives focused on how the company will capitalize on what they called the transformation of print from analog to digital, and announced key partnerships with brands such as MTV, MySpace and others to help achieve HP's goals, at the company's annual Imaging & Printing Conference in San Diego.

To help grow its retail business, the company also announced the November launch of a new Web-based program, which will offer small and midsize business owners affordable marketing services, such as stationery and Web sites.

“Personalization and customization will change the way printing is done,” said Vyomesh Joshi, EVP of HP's imaging and printing group.

This has already happened with music, and it's going to happen with other forms of media as well, Joshi said.

Approximately 53 trillion pages will be printed in 2010, 10% of which will be digital, according to HP. The company outlined a series of initiatives and new products to help it build market share and accelerate growth with consumers, small and midsize businesses, print service providers and enterprise partners. All were an extension of HP's Print 2.0 strategy, which was introduced at last year's imaging and printing conference.

To make it easier for consumers to print from the Web, HP is partnering with both MTV and MySpace to enable users to print pages directly from these sites.

“This is a landmark deal,” said Chris DeWolfe, CEO of MySpace.

Currently, MySpace users have uploaded more than 4 billion images, which are “locked up digitally,” DeWolfe said. The partnership with HP “allows us to unlock that digital content and bring it to the offline world.”

This is the first phase, DeWolfe said, adding that he sees the opportunity to apply this capability to small and midsize businesses as well.

Retail publishing was another focus of the morning. “Retail partners are going to be very important” as HP capitalizes on this transformation from analog to digital print, Joshi said.

While more than 100 retailers across three continents have implemented HP's retail printing services, the company has only a 1% market share of the 1.3 trillion pages printed at retail by small and midsize businesses.

In November, HP will launch the Web-based MarketSplash, which will give users a choice of printing their projects from their own printers, through a print service provider or, eventually, to print to a local retailer. HP will license the MarketSplash platform to print service providers and retailers so they can offer these services directly to their customers.

While HP's past retail solutions focused on photos, the company is now looking to offer a broader set of document solutions to drive revenue opportunities for retail partners, said Stephen Nigro, HP's SVP of inkjet and Web solutions.

The graphics industry provides another big growth opportunity for HP, according to Michael Hoffman, the SVP of HP's graphics solutions business. The market is dominated by analog, but there are opportunities for digital print in commercial print, signage, publishing and packaging. This week, HP announced a new business development program to help print service providers make the transformation from analog to digital.  

Other news from the conference included the launch of HP Creative Studio, a Web site on which consumers and businesses can find printing services, new wireless printers and a managed print services contract with Viacom to reduce its global device count.

There was much talk of the tough economic times as well.

“Clearly this is a tough market,” Joshi said. However, “customers will focus on who will create value” in this market, he added.

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