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You’ve heard it many times before. Magazines are losing their ad base. Newspapers aren’t attracting new young readers like they did decades ago—and consumers in general are using online media sources for their news and information in unprecedented numbers. This blog along with the other bloggers before it are well read, instantly accessible, interactive and searchable on the Internet. Venerable publications around the globe, including the top ones such as the Wall Street Journal, Business Week and most urban newspapers have been transitioning to this format for years. The balance of how much print versus online delivery should be proportioned is the constant question asked within media companies of all sizes.
Perhaps the real questions are, can a print publication continue to pursue its brand’s growth in its current state without making major online changes, and are we witnessing the beginning of the end of print?
Let me get my personal bias on the table. I am a hard-core business media consultant that has worked on many national and international brands for three decades including some of the world’s largest publishing companies. I love publishing. There I said it.
With that said, I think there will always be a place for paid and unpaid media. The difference is not what is going to be published, but how it will be delivered. There was once a time when people received the “news of the day” reading their town newspapers. Then families began to sit in front of their radios to hear the news of the day. Then came the television that added a visual dimension to the news. From there the Internet came to life and we all began to use things called browsers, email and RSS feeds. Now we’re learning about LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and the many other social media platforms people are using today.
But have you noticed something? Brands have transitioned online successfully and will continue to do so for a long time to come. Brands always lead what publishers do next. That’s because they represent the buyers and consumers who ultimately decide how they prefer to receive product information.
The key to whether a particular print product makes it will be determined by how well it transitions with the times and how well it meet buyers and consumers needs, interests and wants: The three hot buttons of branding. And that’s something that hasn’t changed for the past 100 years.