Daring to Find a Place for Print

In an age of disposable, erasable and forgettable content, selling and maintaining print products may have a truly viable place in your revenue stream.

“News is disposable and has a lifespan, but niche content focused on other interests and hobbies is more likely to be retained and print is the perfect format for that,” notes Robert Grainger writing in Publishing Executive.

Lest you think he’s just another pro-print dreamer, Grainger has spent the last several years working with publishers to help them design and create digital content platforms and takes a firm platform-agnostic approach to publishing.

“In reality, I’m more objective and take the view of what’s best for each business,” Grainger continues. “We’re not all the same, our readers are not all the same, and we tailor our various forms of distribution accordingly in order to reach as many people in our target market as is possible.”

He gives a couple of solid examples in which print has an edge over digital content platforms:

1. Local interest — “It’s easier to target an audience in print if the target market is defined only by a specific geographic boundary. Direct mail, local retail, or doorstep delivery, in these cases, can be more effective than geo-targeting a digital product,” he writes. (We’ve noted before that most consumers read their local newspapers in print only.)

2. Specialist media – Grainger refers to the strong revenue reports coming out Germany in the specialized automotive and sports niches as examples. “In these special interest sectors we find that the content does not date so quickly and readers often prefer to keep a physical back catalog of content for re-use.”

“To condemn print is, at best, short-sighted,” he continues. “It will continue to exist and I suspect remain a completely viable revenue stream for many publishers. Assume that certain content is disposable, while some content suits being retained and cherished, understand the difference and it becomes easier to see a healthy future.”

Regional and Niche magazines are indeed where the revenue potential lies, as the move away from mass market continues. Beyond the examples Grainger gives, the preference for print across categories remains strong. Forsaking that channel, simply because digital is such a large part of our daily lives, is, as Grainger puts it, “like throwing out the baby with the bath water.”

“Those who have a print relevant product, can hold their nerve and find their market are likely to succeed. Who dares, wins (as they say).”