The industry is blind
The WAN-IFRA reports also discusses the narrative that ‘Print is dead.’ This narrative continues to exist as the industry clearly favours the digital world.
Advertisers and their agencies prefer the shiny, new, optimistic, innovative media, and often justify this decision by referring to the declining reach of newspapers.
However, they might be working on a self-fulfilling prophecy. With less advertising or less valuable advertising, going into digital newspapers, it will indeed be very difficult for newspapers to survive.
From $3.2 billion in 2007, the online advertising spent increased only to $3.5 billion seven years later. Whereas during the same period the advertising in the print edition plummeted from $42.2 billion to $16.4 billion. It might look like the advertisers left the print editions before the readers did.
The good news in the US is that newspapers still reach 33.3% of their population and most (86%) of the readers are paying for a print edition at $300-500 a year. Clearly, they prefer print over online versions of the same newsbrand.
The values of print
The various researchers point at a number of strengths of the print edition: better resolution (absence of flicker, better contrast ratio); tangibility; layout based upon a decades-long, continuous process of optimisation; deeper brain impressions of information; information more easily recalled and finally encouraged prolonged attention (because of lack of offline nature).
The UK-based organisation Newsworks refers to a study done by Peter Field that shows campaigns including print were 39% more effective than campaigns without print (during the period 1998-2004). During the period 2010-2016, this difference in effectiveness rose to 67%.
Demonstrating with actual facts that campaigns, including print media, have become more effective and increase the effectiveness of other channels in an ever more competitive media world.
Newsworks adds to this that newsbrands are also more likely to drive sustainable share growth, attract new customers and increase loyalty among existing customers. They reduce price sensitivity and therefore reduce the need to rely on short-term cost cutting promotions. Resulting in bigger profits.