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The digital world has taken over, that’s no surprise, and with it has come a wave of destruction barreling squarely towards print media.

Crushed under the financial strain of fierce online competition, many magazines and newspapers have folded in recent years, including local publication, The New York Sun. According to PRDailyand The Guardiannewspaper, some 300 newspapers have closed since 2008. Free online news has combined with a wobbly economy to cause this implosion, as advertising revenue became increasingly difficult to come by. Tablets, smart phones, and laptops are said to be the future of news.

But not so fast. Despite it all, nearly 200 new magazines have launched since 2010.

“Engaging and Creative”

Marketing and research companies are now beginning to say that, contrary to popular wisdom, print media is here to stay, bringing with it the advertising bang everyone once thought was becoming extinct.

It was only in March of this year that Adage.com’s Michael Sabastian reported that Martin Sorrell, CEO at WPP, a marketing firm, told an audience at the Broadcasting Press Guild that “traditional media is often more engaging than digital content, and it is more effective than people give them credit for.”

In the online publication Small Business, Chris Joseph remarked that print media allows for unlimited exposure, an asset lost in radio, billboards and the internet. “Prospects have potential exposure to print ads at virtually any time; can be viewed repeatedly and at the reader’s discretion.”

In other words, a person holding print in their hands can study anad at their leisure, rather than viewing it in a blip, as on a website, television or a billboard. There’s longer exposure with news print, and it is less intrusive than other media, such as radio, television and the web, that interrupt programming in themiddle for advertising.

Magazines, he added, can be highly specialized, thus ads can be developed to appeal to a specific readership niche.

“Print media sources tend to have longstanding and loyal readership,” he explained. “Frequent readership can reinforce an advertiser’s message, or develop an ongoing campaign to cover multiple issues. Publications can lend credibility to the advertiser. Advertisers have a choice as to where they place their ad in publication, and can choose higher visibility and flexibility of size.”

Across the pond, Europe’s Printpoweronline expressed it in a single word: “tangibility,” explaining, “[It’s] the feel of the paper, the content, and triggers the senses.”

Moreover, the reporter noted that print publications can be accessed easily, and “are engaging and creative.”

Newspapers become part of reader’s ritual and routine, he added. There’s a certain trust that comes with a favorite magazine that connects with the reader.

“Key is engagement; drawing in the customer with
attention-grabbing content, before offering them a service.”

Deep Reading

According to Printpower(and common sense), readers of print already have a tendency to tread through longer articles, offering the publication their full, uninterrupted attention and time.

“Deep reading, fully engrossed, helps to remember content better.”

The International News Media Association’s Erik Grimm, on February 4 2014, emphasized that when investigating advertising, there’s much more than just factors of cost, discount or reach.

“Research found that print media are delivering the best returns when looking at purchase and media behavior,” he noted. “Print advertising found to have highest return on the investment. Internal pacing of print ads enables confrontation at a suitable moment – if the message is relevant, the reader can decide to read the offer.”

Magazines, according to the Association’s survey, provided the highest profitability, with 130 percent of the investment returned. This was in contrast to online ads at 110 percent, television at
60 percent, and radio at 80 percent.

In a study done by BrandSciencefor the Outdoor Advertising Association, reported on by the Telegraphin Oct. 2009, found, surprisingly, that retailers saw six dollars for each dollar invested in print media ads. This was especially true for traditional
brick-and-mortar retailers, suchas supermarkets and clothing stores.

This all, however, comes with a small caveat: the pricing complexity of creating a print ad exceeds that of a radio ad script or an internet ad. Costs incurred by the client include artwork creation, graphic design, compliance with the publication’s print specifications, and other minutia. That time, and cost, lowers the return on the investment by approximately five percent.

Reinventing

In the interim, there are ways that advertisers can have their print and onlinecake, and eat it, too.

Writing on the respected online business site Entrepreneur.comin Dec. 2014, Katherine Halek touched on the notion of utilizing online media. One suggestion she offered was for print advertisers to boost business, and social engagement, by directing potential customers to their websites.

And Flashesandflames.com’s Colin Morrison, in May of this year, cited the growth of glossy magazines as Economistand ESPN The Magazine, both of whom depend on ad sales for revenue. He added, however, that an increasing number of free magazines and newspapers are available in places like supermarket chains, subway newspaper boxes and street corners – a new mode of journalism that has cropped up in the past 20 years. The changing milieu means stiffercompetition for readers’ attention and eyes.

“Magazines need to reinvent themselves and figure out what readers want, need and what they will pay for,” said the report from Flashesandflames.com.

Ultimately, however, the writer’s conclusion was that advertisers began to shy away from print, for quite a few reasons, but people never really stopped picking up newspapers and magazines.

“Readers didn’t leave print media, but advertisers did.”