On April 3, 2010 Apple changed the way we consume media with the introduction of the iPad. Before that, maybe 30 years ago, I was a salesman calling on Progressive Insurance, providing them with most of their business forms. Thirty years ago, Progressive kindly told me they had bought five Xerox 9700 page printers, and would now be printing their own forms. I saw my future 30 years ago, and knew it was bound to change. And I knew I would have to change.
Today, print media is kicking and screaming its way into the future. For example, since 2008 more than 200 newspapers stopped publishing print editions (note: this change started before the introduction of iPad). Newsweek, a published magazine since 1933, stopped its weekly print edition on December 31, 2011. Seriously, print media, this is your future! With an Apple iPad, a smartphone, laptop, or desktop, we can access news from a multitude of online sources; blogs, electronic versions of daily newspapers and magazines, search engines… you name it, it’s online.
But is the Big Apple iPad the reason for print media’s demise? Or is it the fault of print media, unable or unwilling to change with the rising tide of technology?
The consumer (and your customer) is always changing, seeking new ways to do things cheaper, quicker, and with better results. So, in the case of print media, readers now have the ability to quickly access particular writers, blogs or sources of information through targeted and free search engines, making newspapers increasingly irrelevant.
In order to remain relevant, we must change. Shamrock is a different company today than it was just a few years ago. We rely more on technology and continually monitor what works for our customers and discard what is irrelevant to their needs. Interestingly, we’ve discovered that, despite the theory that print is dead, most of our clients still find that direct mail is an effective way to reach their customers. Direct mail has always been successful and, I believe it will remain a relevant part of the marketing mix. (Despite what we believe, there are lots of people who still don’t have computers, and enjoy reading a catalog.)
Which, I guess, brings us back to the end of print media. Of course, I read newspapers and blogs online. But there are times I still like to read a newspaper. When I travel, I enjoy the idea of relaxing and reading a newspaper that I can hold in my hands. But the reality is that the majority of print newspapers will likely be gone in the next decade. A few international print versions, like The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times may remain, but local newspapers will go away. They’re too costly and too expensive to maintain. (And an iPad is much more functional than a newspaper.)
ONE FINAL THOUGHT…
What troubles me, and others whose opinion I value, is that the reliability and accountability of newspapers is being replaced by a vast number of anonymous bloggers, many with uncertain credentials and points of view. Where once the reader of a daily newspaper might read a story by a well-known and respected reporter for a major newspaper, today that same reader might be directed by a search engine to an anonymous blogger with limited (or no) training or ability in journalism. Carving out our choices for credible news will take time.