What if Print and Digital Had a War … and No One Came?

It appears some people have missed the memo on the supposed “war” between print and digital.

“The ‘battle’ is long over and the truce has been drawn up,” explained Samir “Mr. Magazine” Husni in an interview with media update’s Aisling McCarthy. “No longer is there any reason to ask the question who won the content war.

“Both print and digital have their individual places and their ‘joined forces’ position,” Husni continued. “It’s the 21st century and readers shouldn’t have to choose between the two types.”

(Husni, director of the Magazine Innovation Centre at the University of Mississippi’s School of Journalism, is a highly respected voice in the industry. He’s also well-known for his insightful interviews with publishers and other thought leaders in the magazine world. So it’s great to see the tables turned and hear his answers on the topic of print’s new role in our multi-channel world.) 

“Ink on paper has its permanency and digital has its infinite world of information that is ever-changing. There is room and a place for both,” Husni stated. “No one is on top, they are both lying next to each other.”

Calling a truce does more than create some catchy talking points. Battles take energy, energy that could be better spent developing an audience-first business model that addresses the realities of today’s readers.

“Our biggest mistake in the last decade has been falling in love with the platforms instead of falling in love with the audience and the customers,” Husni explained. “I think most of us have learned from our mistakes, and now the majority of the smart magazine media companies and falling in love with their customers once again.”

The truth, as Husni sees it, may sound harsh but it’s accurate. 

“If you can’t survive in print as a print publication, digital is not your salvation or heaven. A magazine that loses its print audience is not going to gain any digital audience to speak off. 

“You must utilize both print and digital in their own unique capacity,” Husni continues. Don’t let them be carbon copies of each other – that is the worst thing you could possibly do.”

“So, the advice I have for media organizations is just that, know your customer and your customer’s customer, humanize your products and be an experience-maker when you’re creating that fantastic content,” he continues.

As we embrace the truce, publishers should have some extra energy – and a new perspective – to do just that.