Making a Comparison between print and digital media is often the first mistake publishers make. Digital publishers often think that print media has become irrelevant and print publishers don’t consider integration methods as well as the differences between the two.
While print media has had to evolve in the wake of digital media, there will always be a place for this medium. Print satisfies both commercial and consumer needs that digital media has not yet been able to replicate.
Print media in audience context
While we see Digital Billboards and screens on buses and other outdoor areas, Print continues to dominate this space by far. The initial outlay, maintenance costs and the cost of creating new adverts and information products overtakes the cost efficiency of large print media.
We see print media on the sides of buses and many billboards. Its blatantly clear in shop windows, and still dominantly used in ticketing and event programmes. People do not take their iPad to the theatre simply to read the programme.
In a world where digital seems to be everywhere, print media will continue to dominate in certain spheres because it needs the needs of an audience that digital media simply cannot.
Picking up a flyer to keep contact or ordering details is much easier than having to use a search engine and bookmark a page online.
Print posters are visible everywhere. Why? Because they work on a very basic level.
The Audience experience
It has been well documented that the evolution of the digital media has resulted in a reduced concentration span globally. In the digital context this is further aggravated by competing adverts, popups and multiple resources being delivered at once. In contrast print media hold the exclusive attention of the user without having to stand out from similar competition.
The enjoyment of print media is evident in the preference of many when considering the tangible experience. Difference weight and thickness of paper. Glossy or Matt surface and even the size of the fonts are all different in the tangible context.
Additionally, those well versed in the use of digital, do not own an e-reader by default. Many prefer to read long form media on paper.
The abandonment of print media in favour of the digital sphere has created both a huge vacuum and an opportunity. There are still swathes of the population that do not access digital media either due to their economic position or to other accessibility issues such as age and rural situation.
Retired communities have a powerful spending capacity, yet many do not even use smartphones. Lower economic groups still must spend money and the easiest way to reach them is by using print media, flyers, brochures and magazines. While they may have access to mobile phones access, online access remains limited due to the cost of data. These population groups rely heavily on print media, not only as a fallback, but as their core resource.
Even amongst the population that finds digital access easy, there are more appropriate applications for print media.
Print media should be considered an opportunity, when utilised in the correct context and targeting a predetermined audience. Done correctly it need not compete with digital media.