The relevance of print media

By Leah Ching

 The Argus

Can print media ever really be dead? This question continues to pop up since the surge of the Internet and online media. With e-books, e-newspapers and access to information widely proliferated online, many business have altogether migrated to the web for a variety of potential advantages. Along with cost effectiveness and the potential for more exposure, there’s consumer convenience and the ease of reaching international consumer bases.

For some reason, however, research suggests that print media still maintains advantages over its digital counterparts. Typing in “why print media” into Google returns top searches “Why print media is still important” and “Why print media will not die.” Of the 227,000,000 search results that pop up, the first pages are filled with journal articles and researchers’ findings on the issue.

Arguably, that which is most important for many businesses is advertising. One study by a European based research institute suggests that consumers continue to have the most trust in advertising from magazines and newspapers. Consumers in this study gave magazines and newspapers a score of 63% as compared to 41% for television and 25% for the Internet.

The sense of legitimacy stemming from print is bolstered by the saturation of information available on the web, which is often perceived as overwhelming. In advertising, pop-ups and banner ads, along with fears of spam or viruses make many people hesitant to click any ad online, even from trusted websites. Adblock plus, a browser-add on to block online ads, conducted a survey of North American internet users and found that 95% of consumers don’t trust online advertising.

This topic is widely researched and studies continue to pop up researching print media’s relevance. Another study shows that consumers are more engaged when reading printed material, and that digital screen text is read by most about 20-30% slower than words on printed-paper. The tangibility of print media and the ability to hold and save a good reading, rather than having it float around in cyberspace, is a large appeal to readers.

The onset of the digital age is undeniable. So is the idea that both print and online media aren’t going anywhere. Successful media outlets and businesses will strive to bridge the gap between both forms of communications through QR codes and utilizing as many channels as possible to reach a multitude of demographics.

Third year English major Emily said, “print media holds an important cultural significance in the public eye.” She followed up by saying, “Why do you think book lovers swoon so much at the idea of getting a first edition book as a gift? Having access to information online is convenient, but I don’t think the satisfaction running your fingers over the edge of a page will ever be completely eradicated.”


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