Print v online company magazines? There’s room for both

Online threatens to consign much-loved inky pages to history. But is the writing really on the wall for print? Given the choice of apps and mobile devices available on the market, especially tablets, you might think so.

Figures from IDC show global tablet shipments surged 142% year-on-year in the first quarter of 2013. That’s 49 million tablets – more than shipped in the whole of the first half of 2012. Yet despite the rise of mobile devices, printed publications survive and thrive alongside digital versions. The online community records a fairly even split between yes and no to the question ‘Will printed magazines and newspapers dry up in the next decade as a result of the popularity surrounding online content?’.

In its annual industry survey the Professional Publishers Association notes that print is still massively important in terms of both revenue and brand presence. The enduring popularity of print is confirmed in consultant Deloitte’s annual State of Media Democracy survey on how UK consumers interact with media and entertainment, which found that 88% of people who read magazines prefer printed copies.

The significant advantages of digital include real-time information, handy links to useful sources and the ability to instantly track and analyse what is being read. A company’s Information Technology department will place equal emphasis on the security of sensitive information and how to control access.

What businesses need to decide is how best to reach target audiences. While online has immediacy and impact, hard copy magazines are still important as a company showcase, whether celebrating and supporting the achievements of its workforce or enhancing the customer experience.

You can pick them up, put them down, place them in reception areas and mail them to people’s homes. They create a warmth that digital can’t always replicate that is essential to good employee and customer relationships.

Hopefully, rather than fewer of either people will continue to demand more of both.


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