Since the last decade, if not longer, we’ve been hearing how traditional print media is obsolete and will soon be done. Now in a post-COVID world, this question becomes even more pertinent. Will print media manage to survive what has been possibly the worst year and a half for almost all businesses? We think that the answer is a little bit trickier than a simple yes or no.
Within the media industry, print continues to play an essential role across countries. While consumption patterns across the millennial and Gen Z audiences change every few years, we’d argue that traditional print media has figured out how to keep pace with these changing patterns. They have done this by leveraging years of expertise and goodwill to capture their consumers online and offline.
To not just survive but thrive in this competitive ecosystem, print media players have to be agile and adopt a changed mindset. Here’s what we’ve learned from the best in the news and magazine business on how one can stay relevant in the changing landscape –
Use a Hybrid Model of Distribution for Content
While the focus for core content and editorials can be the print edition, explore digital channels to develop mobile apps, email subscriptions, and intriguing niches. Build specialized verticals that add a revenue stream with a robust subscription model. Instead of selling only through newsstands or agencies, sell where the customers are, online and offline both.
Invest In Building and Using Marketing Intelligence
For any business to work, it needs to be sold the right way and to the right people. While building out the digital presence, also focus on data gathering. This data will help generate revenue in more than one way. Reach out to one-time buyers to turn them into subscribers. Reach out to online readers and give them bundle offers to generate recurring revenue. With the right targeting, the possibilities are endless.
Use the Audience as a Revenue Stream
Since time immemorial, print media has run on ad spends, and that is not likely to change anytime soon, even with the hybrid model. But what can change is how the ads are sold to different advertisers. The great thing about having part of your space online is that the same digital real estate can be offered to other advertisers targeting different audience sets. Using onsite behavior and coupling it with the information from your billing management software, each visitor can have a robust profile associated with them. Basis this intelligent data gathering, print media houses can actually earn more than they have in the past.
The Power of Advertorials
With the content possibilities online, advertorials no longer hold the murky space they once used to, as they can be clearly distinguished from the reportage. Many media outlets are successfully creating content formats that are engaging the consumers and giving a platform to the advertisers to interact seamlessly. For example, branded video series or informative podcasts, these content formats can act as natural extensions to the brand and content effort while being both engaging and transparent.
Measurement and Course Correction
By moving away from just the traditional numbers of distribution, print media houses can implement many new metrics to measure success.
With the right recurring billing management software, from tracking revenue to understanding what bundles are working, developing the focus verticals is all possible.
Having such a level of insight also makes it far easier to course-correct and put the time and investment behind the high ROI segments.
In this new decade, no business should be looking at digital as an additional presence or a secondary solution. Aside from behavior patterns around information consumption changing, more and more people are also caring about their environmental footprint, and stacks and stacks of paper don’t bode well for that. To secure its future, print media needs to invest in bundling robust data gathering, customer management, and billing solutions because while the face of print media may be changing, your newsrooms are very much here to stay.