What does the Digital Age Mean for Print Media?

By February 24, 2016 Stories

As you may have already heard The Independent newspaper will soon cease to exist in print form. The popular broadsheet will publish its last paper on 26th March 2016.

This decision to end print has sparked fresh speculation surrounding the future of traditional media channels – will others soon follow in The Independent’s footsteps?

The rise of digital media and more specifically, social networking, has meant that relevant news stories are now available at the click of a button; we are no longer required to make a daily trip to the local news agents in order to satisfy our appetite for trending news topics.

This rapid development has also presented a new form of two-way communication; Joe Bloggs is now able to read interesting stories and also comment on the topics he feels most strongly about. How on earth can a static newspaper be expected to compete with this?

Additionally, the growth in mobile search has contributed to a shift in readership habits and as a result we’re witnessing the emergence of digital apps such as Twitter moments which cater to the publics need to view news updates as they happen.

But it’s not goodbye from The Indy just yet; owner, Evgeny Lebedev has confirmed that the well-respected newspaper will continue to publish content online via its existing website; perhaps in an attempt to adjust to the new digital era that we are now facing.

He described The Independent as the “first national newspaper title to move to a digital-only future,”. However critics have commented that the publication may have no longer been economically viable.

The Independent is not the only newspaper struggling. The Guardian Media Group recently declared that it would seek to cut costs by 20%, due to financial difficulties.

Many have attributed this apparent demise to a decline in print advertising, as businesses start to utilise their budget online. It’s clear that the convenience of online content and the low-budget required to participate is surpassing that of print.

The speed, reach, and performance of digital media is practically infinite and the world wide web is a vast space, offering anybody, individuals and businesses alike, the opportunity to contribute.

However, this poses a further question about the validity of the content being published – is it devalued due to the fact that anybody can now voice their opinion and effectively step into the shoes of a reporter?

Perhaps this is precisely the reason why print has so far remained important. The public trust and respect the daily news that they are fed through a physical and well-established newspaper.

Just this week we saw the introduction of the first newspaper to launch in the last thirty years. Trinity Mirror announced that the inaugural ‘The New Day’ newspaper would soon hit shelves; targeting ‘time-poor’ readers with only 30 minutes a day to spare on news consumption.

So it’s not all bad news for print!

Further evidence that print is here to stay is apparent with some of the internet’s biggest players, e.g ASOS and Google are now choosing to publish in print format. These successful businesses have recognised the ongoing value of using traditional media to reach particular audience members that may still enjoy reading a physical publication with their morning coffee.

Nevertheless, the changing face of the media promises an unpredictable future for businesses. Using digital and traditional media outlets in harmony to reach target audiences, equates to a successful marketing and PR strategy.

By not acknowledging the need for a combined strategy, a business risks being left behind in the digital age and as a result its future may well look a lot like The Independent’s and that is well… bleak.

If you’re struggling to get your head round a marketing and PR strategy, get in touch.