Calling a Truce Between Print and Digital

Disruption, death, war – these words have been tossed about surrounding the new media landscape. But aren’t we being just a tad hyperbolic? 

“The relationship between print and digital is complicated, to say the least,” writes Aisling McCarthy in Media Update. “While they are often seen to be at odds with one another, is it impossible to think that they could coexist? And even more than that, could they not work together?”

Indeed, they do work together, and have been for years. And because brands are embracing the idea that print and digital can work well together, the “print proud, digital smart” mantra is catching on. Why? Because that’s the way our audiences want it. 

“While certain brands and consumers prefer the feel, smell and idea of old school print, tech-savvy people tend to go for the digital version,” McCarthy continues. “And that is perfectly fine. There is more than enough room for everyone, regardless of their media preferences.”

“Perhaps it is better to think of print and digital as two sides of the same media coin, rather than opposing teams fighting for readership.”

McCarthy reminds us that the fight isn’t really over print versus digital, but over general profitability. To survive, media brands cut way back on their expensive journalism models, and searched for ways to fill the coffers with digital content. What happened, we now see, was a decline in trust in media, as publishers searched for eyeballs instead of focusing on delivering important stories. 

“Publishers need to start by thinking about what their consumers want, and then create a point of difference between their print and digital platforms,” McCarthy continues. “Both platforms offer creative opportunities, and the key is to use them to offer your consumers a more holistic experience with your content.”

She’s right. And as a fan of Samir “Mr. Magazine” Husni, McCarthy understands that the audience-first approach is the foundation for a successful publishing model in this new media landscape. 

“There is absolutely no reason that [print and digital] can’t live side by side … At the end of the day, it is audience first, not digital or print first,” she quotes Husni as saying in a previous article. 

When you understand how your audience interacts with your content, then you can begin to carve out a print and digital relationship that meets their needs – and yours. Print and digital aren’t at war – they are both valid tools and can work beautifully side by side.