The rumors of print’s death may have been greatly exaggerated. As media consumption grows increasingly digital with each passing year, print publishing continues to thrive, according to an April whitepaper by London-based media trade group FIPP and print production company UPM Communication Papers.
The report highlights ways in which print manages to survive despite an increasing number of digital channels, and interviewed executives at Hearst Magazines, Bauer Media and Associated Media Publishing, among others, to discuss print’s continued value and how a mix of print and digital offerings is key for publishers’ future growth and success.
Citing MPA Magazine Media Factbook numbers, the whitepaper claims that the top 25 print magazines in the U.S. still reach more adults and teens than the top 25 prime-time TV shows. In the UK, 24.6 million adults still read news brands daily and 36 million read magazines on a monthly basis, according to the Publishers Audience Measurement Company.
Between 60 and 80 percent of publishers’ revenues are still derived from print, according to the whitepaper, and 58 percent of news subscribers still describe themselves as primarily print-oriented.
The report posits: “What has become apparent in recent years is that, for many publishers, the question is not ‘print or digital?’ It is ‘What role does print play in the print, digital and experiential — a mix that allows us to maximize audience engagement, cross-selling and revenue generation?'”
Addressing that mixed media model, the report examined the concept of “reverse publishing”—or the practice of taking a web property creating a print publication based on it—as one opportunity for publishers to continue engaging audiences and generating more revenue through a multitude of channels.
This practice, the whitepaper’s authors noted, “Whether created with bespoke magazine content or repurposed content already published on the brand’s digital channels,” demonstrates “the continued power of print.” Moreover, they help "create new revenue channels and better loyalty. They are a beacon of print’s bright future.”