Starting the day, while reading the newspaper over a hot cup of tea, has been a set routine for millions. Apart from giving its readers an extensive coverage of the latest news and state of affairs in varied fields like polity, economy, stock market, sports, entertainment and weather, print media remains an important determinant of public opinion.
Economical, vastly circulated and wide availability in regional languages like Hindi, Telugu apart from English are the hallmarks of the continued success of print media. The huge readership of print media is also one reason why it remains a darling for marketers and branding managers worldwide.
Decline in readership – the causes
However, the past decade has witnessed a slow decline in readership and most analysts put the blame on the various 24-hour news cable stations and the coming of the age of Internet among others. While print media owners have tried to adjust with the changing times by creating websites of their own, the decline in print readership continues.
Advanced technology vehicles like tablets, smart phones and social media channels like Twitter, Facebook, Digg and news delivery channels such as RSS feeds now make it possible to get updated of the latest news in near real-time; making the information on newspapers archaic by the time it reaches our doorsteps.
Also the emergence of ‘Green initiative’ among masses has fairly contributed to the already dwindling fortune of print media. All these factors have thus raised a serious question on the future of print media.
Future prospect in the next decade
Although, the rapid advancements in digital technology threatens the very existence of print media, the chances of print media getting lost in oblivion is still a distant possibility.
Publication owners around the world have been showing rapid signs of evolution, trying to shift their focus from print to electronic medium. They have been trying to adapt their revenue models according to the new world order and evaluating how to leverage the new delivery vehicles of the information they own.
Even the environmental evangelists, who have been actively campaigning against print
media, have been rethinking their approach. The superficial notion of digital media being more sustainable then print is slowing fading away. There has been a strong realization that manufacturing of electronic products like smart phones and computers leaves a heavy carbon footprint, apart from the growing concern of the rapid piling of electronic wastes.
People still love the physical feeling of holding a newspaper or a magazine and reserve a natural affinity for them. They still collect those flyers and brochures and read them at their leisure. Printed ads are perceived by readers as being credible, especially in familiar publications; the reason why advertising managers still keep print media in the crux of their marketing and sales campaigns.
The importance of print media lies in the fact that, it gives us ample time to ‘digest’ information and not rapid and overtly intrusive like the digital media which at times confuse the reader with its sheer amount of information.
Hence, we can conclude by quoting Peter Preston, a columnist for the Guardian and the Observer, “Print is not the future, but it’s not the past either”.