Print isn't dead
12 Apr 2016
The statement ‘Print is Dead’ has been carelessly floating around in our universe for many years now. It obviously manages to get a lot of attention because, well, it sounds sensational, sexy, and provocative. It is far from the truth though. In fact, thanks to this statement, print has had to rise from its, so called ashes many times like a phoenix., Business
It is undeniable that technology has an overbearing presence in our lives, and we spend more time than we like to admit in the digital world. But this has only made print work even harder, and emerge more useful and powerful than ever. Print has been gradually metamorphosing into something truly unique.
Print has been collaborating with digital, and we have seen some excellent results of this, both in terms of creativity and functionality. Niches are being created. Independent publishing of both books and magazines is giving a new and high-quality lease of life to print. Amazing innovations are being devised to create effective print advertising. With a technological revolution like 3-D printing, things are only looking up for print. Not only has print evolved itself, our yearning for this tactile form - to see, touch, feel, hold, and in some cases, collect - and its importance in our lives have only gone up.
As far as ‘Print is dead’ statement is concerned, that will go on. There have been enough whippersnappers saying things like ‘Radio is dead’ and ‘TV is dead’. Some are now even saying
‘Facebook is dead’ and ‘Twitter is dead’.
And so on and so forth. These statements only help the respective mediums evolve. To get you some solid views and proofs on the subject, we asked folks from the advertising and marketing
world to tell us what they would say to someone who told them ‘Print is Dead’. Here’s what they have to say:
Ambi Parameswaran, advisor, FCB Ulka Advertising
“…this report of my death is an exaggeration” - Mark Twain wrote when someone enquired if he was ‘dead’. Similarly, the report of ‘Print is Dead’ is a grave exaggeration. As new media emerge, old media gets reported as ‘dead’, but in reality every time a new media arises, the older media goes through a reinvention and regeneration. In the case of Print too I see this happening with the rise of many new forms of print - from coffee table books, to specialist magazines to the boom in the Indian language dailies and magazines. In India, Print is Very Much Alive and Kicking! The reports, as Mark Twain observed, are an exaggeration!
Russell Barrett, chief creative officer and managing partner, BBH India
We’ve heard this drama before. "TV is dead!" "Radio is dead!" "Print is dead!" These are merely statements made by sensationalists to grab headline attention. But I agree, each of these media will have to evolve, as does everything in the world.
Radio did not die, it evolved. We still listen to radio, podcasts and music. TV has not died even in the most digital markets in the world. It’s just evolved to video, in every form. Print as well, is not dead, it is evolving. The written word will always be read as long as it’s well written and people still have a desire to be well read.
Prasanna Sankhe, co-founder and creative head, HYPHENbrands
I'm a realist. Not a pessimist. Not an optimist. For me, there are always two sides of the coin.
So let's look at the bad news first. Yes, I think that print is dying. And by that I don't mean the medium of print is dying. I mean that the art of doing print advertising is dying. There is a dearth of both talent and mentors who can leverage this medium for what it has to offer. To add to this, the clients are succumbing to the current fad of digital/activation media. As a side effect, they are treating print ads as either a general announcement or a features brochure.
If we go back to the basics of print art direction, this medium can deliver excellent impact to the brands. The high impact of this medium is what brings out its true value. If you treat it like a catalogue ad it will always be considered an expensive proposition.
Now, the good news. I don't know whether you have spotted the paradox in the last year or so. Name any e-commerce business which has got a serious investor funding. Be it Flipkart, Urban Ladder, or Amazon. Now name their medium of choice. Let me end the guessing games. It's a full page front and back jacket newspaper ad!
And as the competition online is heating up, all the brands are resorting to more and more sales. Thus, forcing them to make more and more print ads to peddle their wares. Ironic, you might think, but this precise interplay is not only reviving the print medium, but also making it thrive.
And as if this paradox isn't enough, on my Twitter feed this morning, I got the news of the launch of a new newspaper in the UK after 30 years, 'The New Day'.
Now, what was it you were saying? Print is dying?!
Arun Sharma, executive planning director, Hakuhodo Percept
People with a digital bias are the only ones saying this.
We might want to say that the reading habit is on a decline. Print is Culture. It is the fundamental for the performing arts. There can be no Ramlila without Ramayana, even if lesser number of people read Ramayana than those who throng to watch Ramlila?
The medium is undergoing some Re-Purposing.
Yes, there’s a concerted push to give up on paper, not just as an Eco cause but as a tech trend with offices going paperless, adoption of e-readers, newspaper on Internet, e-curricula, etc.
So only a particular kind of print is dying, and it is clearing the path for the more exciting, more stimulating print. It is easier than ever before to start a magazine or get a novel published. How do you explain the million dollar writing contracts to new writers like Amish Tripathi? Maybe the long copy ads have lesser takers today.
In a country like India, how can print be dead if we all have grown up listening to, “Padhoge Likhoge Banoge Nawab, Kheloge Kudoge Banoge Kharab”?
Amit Tiwari, director marketing, Indian Subcontinent-brand, communication and digital, Philips India
Print media is far from being dead.
The death of print media that we keep hearing about is vastly exaggerated. There is a reason why top e-commerce brands take out front-page ads in newspapers before they go live with their mega sales. Print helps these online retailers to generate the much needed traction. Likewise, retailers use print media to attract more footfalls.
Yes, the sale of print media in the form of magazines may have drastically reduced. But, newspapers provide the kind of reach that even the most visited social media may not provide. Moreover, finding success in the highly dynamic online space is not easy for brands where the attention span is less than a few seconds. The digital space may eat off print media's share of the pie but the rate is much slower than thought earlier. Print will continue to be relevant for some more time.
Dhunji Wadia, president, Rediffusion Y&R
A few years back, someone had written the epitaph of the print medium by coining the term ‘Printosaurus’. The implication being that for today’s digital denizens, print really is a dinosaur! But one look at the ever-increasing jackets, gate-folds and false Page 1s of The Times of India clearly indicates that the dismissive-ness is a bit pre-mature! What makes it even more interesting is the kind of people who are advertising the most on print in the very first place - amazon.com, flipkart.com, myntra.com, snapdeal.com… You get the drift right?
The same so-called ‘smart’ phones that promise you instant 4G connectivity to the internet, either rely on print medium to sell themselves directly or are sold by online aggregators who again rely on print to announce their fabulous discounts and unbeatable offers. It's finally a question of reach. Right now, however, both these mediums seem to be complementing one another beautifully. Let’s not forget that India is one of those markets where even Google took to print to evangelise Chrome!
Print is dead anyone?