Is printed press still relevant? Ask any journalist this question, and they’ll assure you that it is. Ask any corner shop owner, and they might disagree.
Since the birth of the internet, people have been preaching about the death of the newspaper – and it’s true, people don’t buy papers as part of their daily routine anymore. The argument is that the internet makes newspapers redundant. And with daily bulletins available at your fingertips, of course you’ll be less inclined to trek to your local newsagents for an actual newspaper.
Let’s remember, though, that papers haven’t previously dominated the news industry. Radio and television have been competitors for some time, and there was never a concern about one of these mediums wiping the other out.
This is because each media format carried its own purpose. The time, space and demographic that facilitated the existence of these mediums differed. For example, those who read the newspapers on the train on the way to work might be different to those who watched the 6 o’clock news, and those who listened to the radio on a Sunday morning might not pour over a broadsheet in bed with a coffee. Plus, newspapers were more than just news.
And that’s still the case – true, most people have access to the internet throughout most of their days, but newspapers don’t solely serve the purpose of delivering the daily headlines.
As with most other industries, the dynamics of print media have reinvented themselves throughout the years. Newspapers and magazines no longer make money from being purchased; they make money from advertising, just like Facebook.
Now, when we read a newspaper, it’s to keep us busy on the train to work, or because we love to buy them on the weekend and read them leisurely with a coffee, or as something to do on your lunch break or while you wait for a meeting.
It’s true that less people are paying for newspapers than ever before – but many people still read them. The NME discontinued its regular print edition earlier this year, but they still aim to publish a copy biannually. If anything, this choice will increase the value of the magazine. Consumers will feel more sentimental about these releases, and make a point of purchasing them, thoroughly reading them, and keeping them.
For advertisers, the value of printed press remains in the fact that while online advertising carries merit in that we possess the knowledge to personalise ads and put them in front of your ideal consumers, printed press carries a level of respect and integrity that online platforms can only aspire to.
When consumers see and advertisement in their favourite publication, they perceive the publication to be endorsing the product. So when a die hard music fan sees a set of headphones being advertised in the biannual copy of The NME, they’re more likely to perceive the product as a worthwhile purchase than they would be if they saw the same headphones being advertised on Facebook or Snapchat.
So, the assertion that printed press is dying a death seems a little obtuse when we get down to the nitty gritty. It’s probably fairer to say that the landscape of printed press is changing to reflect the nature of the advertising industry…utilising press, we can access an engaged and trusting audience – which is invaluable.