Print media is dead. Or at least, that's what we're constantly being told. However, signs in the last couple of years suggest print might be experiencing something of a renaissance.
Print magazines reached 12,477,000 Australians last year, up 0.8 per cent compared with 2015, according to research from Roy Morgan. With big digital names such as CNET, WebMD, All-recipes and NET-A-PORTER all launching print magazines in recent years, it's about time we thought about the status of print media in today's digitally-focused communication environment.
Print media isn't dead – it's just different
Digital certainly isn't going anywhere. A University of Canberra study conducted in 2016 asked respondents to detail how they'd accessed the news in the past week. Just over 44 per cent of respondents had used an online platform. Web-based news continues to rise among young people, with 64.9 per cent of 18-24 year olds saying they got the majority of their news online. However, just because a lot of our news is digital these days doesn't mean there's no market for print media.
Sometimes, we want to slow down the pace. This is where print media comes in.
One of the advantages of the internet is that it is so quick. But, sometimes, we want to slow down the pace. This is where print media comes in. While many readers may go online for the facts and summary, they look to print media for something more detailed. Print media needs to start working alongside its digital counterparts to provide something different – it shouldn't just present the bare bones of a story, but instead should go more in-depth, with detailed analysis and interviews, as well as the more necessary facts.
Print is long-lasting
Some things are meant to be read just once. Magazines, on the other hand, are there to be looked at and admired on a regular basis. Mark Oppenheimer, the editor of Jewish magazine Tablet, which launched its print platform late in 2015, maintains that "some of our best content deserves to be on the newsstand or on someone's coffee table for a while." Even if you might not reach as many people with print, "a perspective-altering piece is worth more for 10,000 in print than as a brief distraction for 100,000 online," he says.
Magazines are a luxury product
Pictures often look a lot better on a glossy magazine than they do online. This is why Vogue is still going strong in its printed form. Indeed Vogue is as much a brand as it is a magazine – hearing its name conjures up images of luxury and fancy photo shoots. If magazines start positioning themselves as a premium product, and therefore distinct from their online form, they may get a reduced readership, but it'll also be a loyal one.
Print media isn't dead. It's just distinct from its online form. As communication professionals, we need to realise this and ensure that different types of stories are used for different mediums. For more news and trends, please visit our Insights page.