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GreetingsPlus combines cards, CDs to form multimedia greeting cards

Expanding on its CD label printing business in Hartland, Wis., Spectrum Digital Services has announced a line of greeting cards that include blank recordable CDs through subsidiary GreetingsPlus.

The CDs are screen-printed to match the designs on the accompanying cards and will allow customers to include photos, video, or anything else they can burn onto a CD with their greeting.

"No longer do you have to choose which baby picture to include with a birth announcement, you can simply send them all," said Russell S. Gnant, Spectrum Digital's CEO. "As digital photography becomes mainstream, consumers are ready for a keepsake solution to the problem of sending photos to friends and family."

GreetingsPlus is already selling the cards, called SpinCards, on its Web site. The company expects to sell them through retail outlets nationwide later this year.

While the company's silk-screening process does not allow for individually customized labels on each CD, Gnant said the company will be adding designs regularly and would be open to suggestions from customers for new cards. Existing cards include birth announcements, thank-yous and Christmas greetings.
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The specialty CD-R market is relatively undeveloped, but GreetingsPlus is bracing itself for competition from the big leagues, including Hallmark, once the idea catches on. Gnant said his company is the largest of its kind in the CD printing industry, and is planning to move quickly to offer recordable DVDs later this year.

Spectrum has provided small-run CD labeling services to businesses, primarily software publishers and marketing agencies, since 1998 -- a time when small-run CD labeling more commonly consisted of stickers and pens.

Gnant said the move to selling pre-printed products was a natural outgrowth of its existing business.

"It solves a problem," he said. "It makes the card-giving experience better than it was."

The discs included are full-size 700MB CD-Rs. The company is shying away from the mini CDs sometimes used in promotions, Gnant said, because they are actually more expensive and can only store around 50MB.

GreetingsPlus' primary market, he said, is tech-savvy customers who know how to burn their own CDs and probably own devices such as digital cameras. With that in mind, the company will not be offering CD-burning software, at least not right away.

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Jason Stitt is a staff writer for the Wisconsin Technology Network and can be reached at jason@wistechnology.com.

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