Business

How print is yet existential - Thought to ponder and an act to perform

The print media hold its legacy since independence, thus, becoming a backbone of all mass movements or popular upsurge in India. The print has shaped and mobilized people’s sentiments during the major changes all over the world. The print was at its peak since years, but unfortunately, time changed, technology intervened and the global functionality changed.

And today we live in the era of digital optimism. This aeon of social media, video, audio, smartphones, smart devices, Alexa, Google Home, etc. have already been adopted by most people on the planet Earth. In fact your next door neighbour might be a tech geek, lazy enough to practically do anything. And in this period of apathy, news is something which is not consumed anymore the way it was actually taken in few decades back.

The online existence of news, by the virtue of technology, can reach millions in minutes now. The power of online news can either raise a topic of concern, headline or a person to fame or fire them at criticism. Somewhere during this entire juncture of elevation, print sales have lost it’s prominence.

The fall of print
The fall of print

The darkened phase for the print media lasted for more than a decade but, notably there is something unusual happening now!

The print, in the form of magazine, is becoming more popular, as we see.

Yes, you heard me right, MAGAZINES!

The latest figures by ABC, show that sale of certain titles are going up. News and current affair magazines are becoming popular while the celebrity, gossip and fashion publications are still struggling. Readers are choosing Theresa May and Trump over Rihanna and Kim Kadarshian! And the titles which seem to be benefitted majorly are The Economist and The Spectator.

Let us look at the various magazine sale which has made a major turn, thus, changing the complete scenario of print,

Going Down

  • Look - weekly sales down 35% year on year to 59,390
  • Now - down 20.8% to 86,838
  • Closer - down 19.8% to 196,126
  • Heat - down 16.6% to 120,175
  • Grazia - down 13.4% to 110,031

Also losing sales: Star (down 14.3%) Vanity Fair (10%), Marie Claire (6%), OK!(3.5%) and Vogue (3%).

Going Up

  • Prospect - up 37.2% to 44,545
  • The Spectator - up 11.3% to 85,429
  • Private Eye - up 8.6% year on year to 249,927 per issue
  • The Economist - up 5% to 248,196
The rise of The Economist
The rise of The Economist
Source : https://press.economist.com/stories/11458-the-economists-circulation-revenue-increased-by-21-year-on-year-as-latest-abc-figures-show-profitable-volume-growth

How the world works and what exactly print needs now to sustain

Gossip and celebrity tittle-tattle is rarely something which requires a detailed analysis, so it is best suited for bite-sized content which zips around the social media. Once it is out there, it quickly spreads and is read by the readers. In cases like these, no one has the time to read about a celebrity after a week on a printed paper or a magazine.

Fraser Nelson, the editor of The Spectator wrote, “A big change is taking place in the market. There's now too much writing online, and in an era of fake news, where you get your analysis first, has never been more important. As newspapers and magazines are finding out, if you can publish writing that is consistently and significantly better than what can be found online, people will pay.

In short, print only needs a diversity! A change which can provide genuine inmost news related to the trending topics of the universe bypassing the world of glamour, fashion and beauty.

Analysis by Amol Rajan, BBC Media Editor

With serious frantic news agenda over the past years like Trump, snap election, terror attacks, etc., the sale of the print is up. With general interest news being made online, the availability of the internet news has made things easy. And for the print to be existential, non-glamorous and rich content can help.

Amol Rajan states, “The internet is full of celebrity drivel, so print magazines who focus on the rich and famous will need to find something unique if they are to retain paying audiences.”

Conclusion

Referring to the piece “Does print media in India have an expiry date” written by Chirdeep Shetty, CEO of Quintype Inc, we understand it is largely believed that the print would be out of action in few years, but this article still gives all of us, the publishers, a ray of hope.

With the choice of either posting all the articles online for free so that the brand remains relevant or charging readers money to protect the financial future, many editors are still struggling to keep a balance between the physical and digital content.

But to protect the legacy of print media, all we vigorously need to understand and quickly adapt to is the initiation of diversified, better and interesting content, which has it’s zero existence on social media.