ONCE AGAIN, PRINT MEDIA IS DEADOctober 30, 2012
I love hearing pundits constantly telling clients that print media is dead. Michael Learmonth, Digital Editor of AdAge.com and the DigitalNext blog, had an interesting take on this subject. He was writing about the shutdown of Newsweek, the latest in a parade of former print publications like PC Magazine, Gourmet and Smart Money that have gone 100% digital.
Michael argues that we have become a nation that is willing to give up high-end, well-reported journalism and opinion to replace it with free, high-volume “good enough” content and aggregation. He believes that the success of The Daily Beast, owner of Newsweek, actually accelerated the failure of the print Newsweek.
However, he believes that many magazines and newspapers won’t go 100% digital because they are too busy balancing “the straddle,” using the prestige of the print brand and the old-media cash flow to fund investments in digital. I agree. Learmonth points out that The Economist has about the same print reader numbers as Newsweek, 1.5 million, but 632,000 readers used its tablet app in the month of June. But they have only 88,000 paid digital-only subscribers.
So, don’t write off print media just yet if you still want to reach a mass market. But you should be focusing on print media that has a robust tablet app or website and allows you to advertise on both for a discount.