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Printers must ensure they understand the 'connected world' if they are to profit from the future media landscape, according to Pira International.

Speaking at the research and consulting firm's Global Print Markets conference this week, Pira print strategy consultant Neil Falconer described data as "the new oil". "Printers have a great opportunity in managing data and content. There are major opportunities ahead in leveraging the power of communities," he stated.

However, in order to do so companies need to understand the shift from a disconnected world to one that is connected. "Conventional advertising is dropping, and internet advertising is increasing. Maybe we only needed traditional advertising because we were not connected. Now we are," Falconer added, and warned that proving print's return on investment would become increasingly vital. "If print cannot provide business metrics and reasons for printing in the first place, then it is in a very vulnerable position."

At the two-day event Pira also shared some findings from its latest report, Global Print Markets to 2015. It predicts a 6.7% decline in the value of the western European market for print in the period from 2009-2014, to $156bn .