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Advice Unlimited

Advice Unlimited

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Print Is Dead? Not So Fast!

We’ve been hearing it for years – print is a dying media. Each week, it seems, there’s a new study released quoting social media statistics and predicting the inevitable demise of print. It stands to reason then, that your grandchildren may never lay eyes on archaic things such as hard copies of magazines and newspapers, right? Not exactly. An Ad Age article by Stephen Kraus and Bob Shullman earlier this month explains how the demise of traditional media outlets has been grossly exaggerated.

Kraus and Shullman describe how they used their “Mendelsohn Affluent Barometer” throughout 2011 to track new and traditional media use among affluent Americans (defined as respondents who make at least $100,000 in annual household income). Their monthly survey, conducted between March and May 2011, consisted of over 1,000 online interviews with affluent Americans. In other words, they explain, these are the 20% of Americans who account for about 60% of U.S. income and approximately 70% of U.S. net worth. Their findings may surprise those who are quick to discount traditional media outlets.

Kraus and Shullman’s survey results break down the statistics: “When asked how they read magazines, 93% said they read hard-copy print versions; in contrast, less than a third read them on computers, and no other format garnered more than 10%. The same pattern is evident for newspapers, which 86% read in print, compared to the 39% who read them on computers, and 14% who read them via smart phone. TV shows are watched on TVs by 94%, followed by 23% who watch them on computers. Websites are viewed on computers by 94%, followed by 32% viewing them on smart phones. The pattern is clear across all media. The vast majority consume content through its most traditional outlet: magazines and newspapers in print, websites on computers, video content through TVs and so on.”

Some may say that these results only encompass the older generations, but Kraus and Shullman make sure to point out that even among the younger generation, traditional media has an advantage. They found that among those aged 18-34, “88% read magazines in print, followed by 35% who read them online; Newspapers show the greatest amount of experimentation -- 70% read newspapers in print, followed relatively closely by 54% who read them online; 94% view video content on TV, followed by 35% who do so on computers and 93% read websites on computers, followed by 38% who do so on smart phones.”

Of course, no one is denying the rise of social media and broader use of different digital communication channels, and the growing influence these changes have on our everyday lives. This survey only reinforces my view that all communication channels bring value. You can’t completely discount traditional media outlets just because there is a new study each week quoting social media statistics. The key always has been, and always will be, to work strategically to define who your target audience is, and then use the communication channels that resonate best with your target audience. Need help deciding which of the many communication channels to use? Contact me today at or 301-924-0330 to figure out how to get your message to the right people, through the communication channel they use and trust!