Has print media got a future?
In recent times the print industry has experienced some major losses, as more of the country’s best-known publications switch to a digital platform. NME for example morphed its model multiple times to try and find a best fit moving forward. The paid for publication reduced page count, changed paper specification and then switched to a freemium model in an attempt to sustain its readership. In the end the only real decision they had was to switch to digital, with the publication announcing the change in March 2018.
So does this long-established publication, with a history of print spanning over 60 years set the template for the future of the industry? Figures published by The Telegraph this week would suggest the tide is certainly turning online, with the newspaper experiencing a drop-in revenue of almost 50%, £27.1m in 2016 to £13.7m in 2017.
The drop has been accredited to decreasing interest in print media. Many advertisers are finding they can receive better results with an online spend, along with the ability to track their readers' habits more closely. Print has always been a tricky marketing avenue when defining the effectiveness of promotion. Customers won’t always confirm where they came from, making it more difficult to justify a print spend.
In comparison to online advertising print certainly looks expensive, with single small ads demanding many thousands of pounds for just a single insertion. Keen to move with the times, the Telegraph’s new executive Nick Hugh has outlined their intentions to focus more on digital avenues. The company aims to reach three million "registered customers" by the end of the year and has already passed two-and-a-half million.
"Our digital revenues will continue to get stronger and stronger and as we continue to invest in and focus on quality journalism, we anticipate this momentum continuing," Mr Hugh said.
With digital clearly indicating the future for press, it does beg the question should we look to end print? Is there a real intrinsic value to a physical print, and do we need a change in habits? There isn’t an easy answer to any of these questions, particularly with The Telegraph still boasting a circulation in excess of 376,000 copies. Print does still have a place, but if it can’t win back its advertisers it will become increasingly hard to justify.