Time Magazine: Possibly the most famous print magazine. Photo: Tony Fischer / CC BY 2.0
Monday 16 March

A return to print

It’s not wholly uncommon for digital publications to launch a print version of their magazine. The likes of London based Tech City News are amongst the most popular to have done so, opening themselves up to much larger audiences in the process. However, it is far less common for a publication to return to print more than two years after abandoning the medium altogether to go completely digital. This was the case with Newsweek, which re-released its print edition in March of last year.

A Misprediction Of The Future

Newsweek wasn’t alone in abandoning print after coming to the conclusion that digital alone was going to be the future. A vast number of magazines, newspaper and periodicals did the same, and many are slowly starting to return to print. Their initial decisions were formed by indicators that exclusively digital strategies were alone in their growth in popularity with advertisers. To all the world print seemed dead in the water, with it quickly collecting an industry reputation as being antiquated and less malleable than its digital counterpart. But print media has existed for almost 400 years, and with good reason.

Time Magazine: Possibly the most famous print magazine. Photo: Tony Fischer / CC BY 2.0

Time Magazine: Possibly the most famous print magazine.
Photo: Tony Fischer / CC BY 2.0

The Unique Benefits of Print Media

Unlike with digital, the essential benefit of printed media lies in the active way in which readers choose and use them. They serve as an active medium, with the reader always in control. Different magazines fulfill different needs, and work in different ways, ensuring that they remain well suited to their reader’s requirements. Furthermore, the bond formed between reader and material is far stronger with printed media; the identification with engaging, high quality print goes far beyond the simple provision of ideas and information. When printed media makes a genuine connection, it helps reinforce the reader’s self image, helping build a long-lasting and powerful relationship centered on trust and reliability.

The Commitment of A Print Reader

In levels that are wholly incomparable to readers of a digital alternative, the scale of commitment given by a print reader is enormous. Actual time spent reading is substantially longer, and copies tend to be read far more thoroughly. Magazines, newspaper and periodicals tend to be picked up and read more than once throughout the day, and often over consecutive days. Typically, more than 90% of all pages are opened by the typical print reader, with the average page in a paid-for magazine being seen 2.5 times. This suggests that it isn’t just the usual written content that is more effective in print media, but the advertising too.

Better Value For Advertisers

The close relationship between a magazine or newspaper and its readers benefits advertisers greatly. The process of reading ensures that the reader is in the correct frame of mind to be receptive to advertising. It also ensures that advertisers can more accurately target the audience that is most likely to enjoy their products or service, which benefits reader, advertiser and print media alike.

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