print media

The Word Printed and Digital

Over the past few years, forecasts for the future of the printing industry have not been optimistic. In the 21st century, information products are increasingly replacing traditional “paper” products. To get information, you no longer need to go to a kiosk and buy a magazine or newspaper. It is enough to open the desired link on the Internet. But what is to be done with the print media? Do they have a chance to defend their positions?

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It is not worth arguing that the traditional press is disappearing. The interest of the audience in printed products gives the right to speak about this. Data from the World Association of Newspapers and News shows that about a third of the world’s population reads “paper” newspapers and magazines. Advertisers do not stop cooperating with these publications. In their opinion, only good old traditional media can reach the right audience.

Evolution of print media

When we talk about printing, it is wrong to immediately recall newspapers. So, the events of recent years have incredibly transformed the magazines. Mass content has been replaced by specialized publications about science, history, design, nutrition, cinema, subcultures, and more.

Gloss, who has been telling readers the tale of Cinderella all his life, today quickly adapted to the needs of the modern reader. In the world of glossy journalism, for years, the biggest issue covered has been the extra two centimeters around the waist at the height of the beach season. Over the past year, themes of old age, death, illness, acceptance of oneself, and one’s figure have come into it. Much public and youth media may be born, but Vogue, Esquire, and other publications, as experts say, will always rise above them with their name, history, and quality of work.

The media are changing along with the modern world. Print media are also transforming. But at the same time, they do not lose their main quality – reliability and authenticity. The information that is found in the now popular social networks and blogs cannot always be trusted. It is often superficial. In “paper” editions, on the contrary, the preparation of the material is treated more responsibly.

Effects on the senses

Interestingly, research has shown that an article in a printed publication evokes bad emotions in the reader less often than an article in electronic form. Even if the same information is presented there. This is explained as follows: traditional media use all the senses, which has a better effect on the human condition.

One journalist and author of the theory of the extinction of newspapers once published a post on his blog on one of the popular sites in which he presented the results of his own survey of people on the topic of love of print. The majority answered that newspapers will not die because they smell good. This is, of course, ridiculous, because a newspaper is not a perfume or an aroma lamp, it is a source of information.

A magazine or newspaper is attractive because it contains a summary of the latest news. It is limited in volume and represents a well-formed and dosed concentrate of information. Well, of course, tactile pleasure cannot be ruled out either. Look at these beautiful and high-quality magazine mockups – you want to touch and hold them in your hands, don’t you?

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Forecasts for the future

So is there a future for print media? Experts make different forecasts.

The first option is the saddest: some of the print media will be closed, the rest will try to go to the Internet. The keyword is “try”. Judging by practice, newspapers that become electronic can disappear altogether after some time. Such a fate can happen with publications that are not leaders. Leaders of publications will still be able to compete for the right to exist. Monetizing the electronic version is not as easy as it might seem, and of course, there is a cost-benefit issue for them.

The second scenario is associated with the monetization of online publications and the introduction of paid access to materials. This option is quite successfully used in the USA and some countries of Western Europe. Moreover, in America, most publications live thanks to this scheme. In the countries of Eastern Europe, the system is not very popular – not everyone is willing to pay for reading an article (about 35% of the audience). For this reason, many publications are simply afraid to change something.

The third scenario is arguably the most common among print media. It consists of the massive free distribution of newspapers and magazines in order to increase the reach of the audience. It will also be possible to view content on the sites of such media free of charge. What will their existence be based on? All attention will be drawn to the saturation of publications with advertising materials, as well as the search for sponsors.

Technology and the reader are following them so rapidly that it seems impossible to predict anything. It looks like the print media will remain but in an exceptional format. Diaries and weeklies will go off the shelves of kiosks, and “fat” magazines and almanacs will remain. They will become a kind of sacred product, which will be designed for a narrow reader, which will affect its value, of course. It may well be that glossy magazines will face the fate of gramophone records. In the next 10-15 years, what is happening now with vinyl will happen to them – they will become things for collectors. 

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It looks like, both electronic and print media will continue to exist. But each edition will develop in its own way. The point is that they perform different functions: “paper” newspapers and magazines convey more reliable information to the reader, and the Internet often (of course, not always) distributes superficial and entertaining content.

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