Print is possibly the most undervalued medium of the moment. While it’s still a huge money-spinner for publishers with the reach or niche to do it well, the prevailing wisdom is that as ad-spend increasingly moves online, that print titles are effectively running out the clock until it makes more financial sense to shutter them.
It’s a view that isn’t unfounded: the British newspaper the Independent only returned to profit after it cut the print version and went online-only, while the financial results of most major publishers still invoke ‘strong headwinds around print’ to explain any less-than-stellar results.
Does print have an image problem?
But the counterpoint to that pessimism is equally frequently invoked. Print isn’t dying; it’s rediscovering its true strengths. At a panel on ‘The Power of Print’ put on by The Drum and Print Power at the FCB boat during Cannes Lions 2019, experts shared their thoughts on what print can offer to publishers and marketers alike, provided it is used correctly. The panel began by examining whether print has an ‘image problem’, and, if so, where that comes from.
Benjamin Lickfett, head of futures and digital Innovation at Diageo, said that at Diageo they see that image problem internally with marketeers, who are now invested in the flexibility and immediacy of digital: “Then there’s the bridge to print something that sort of frozen in time where you put it out. I think that’s a quite big gap to overcome.”