“There is a lot to love about print; just ask any digital media pro.”
So quips D. B. Hebbard in a recent article in TalkingNewMedia. Hebbard is writing about the phenomenon of digital companies becoming print publishers at a time when print has supposedly fallen out of favor.
Except that it hasn’t. Companies that were born in digital are making the decision to publish printed magazines and catalogs, and finding good business reasons for doing so.
“It is not hard to understand at all why a digital property would launch a print magazine – it is the same reasons a print magazine would launch a website or a tablet edition: brand extension, diversification of products and revenue streams, etc.,” writes Hebbard. “But a better answer might simply be that coming from a digital media perspective, one more easily sees when print is the answer.”
And, he goes on to explain, there are times when print isn’t the best answer.
“[Print] publishers that use augmented reality, QR codes, and other efforts to make their products more interactive seem to me to be missing the point. If one wants an interactive magazine one might consider the platform that does this best, like tablets, rather than trying to cut corners,” he says.
All of this raises an interesting point for publishers. According to Hebbard, many print publishers have been reluctant to embrace digital technology due to a misguided understanding about what they are actually selling.
“I have said for many years that the reason many publishers get locked into their print editions is that they see their product as the print magazine rather than their content or brands. If the print magazine or newspaper is your product – period – then everything else is competing with you,” explains Hebbard.
“Maybe the problem with many print publications today is that they are run by executives who fail to see the value in print, continues Hebbard. “Maybe they should talk to some digital media folks, they’ll tell them why print is still a great platform.
Because at the end of the day, there are things that only print can do and the best digital media professionals understand this very well.