Print Magazines Still Alive

The press release for Deloitte’s “State of the Media Democracy” survey contains three pretty amazing paragraphs about the state of print magazines. First this:

According to the survey, since 2007 a consistent 70 percent of Americans state that they enjoy reading printed magazines even though they know that they could find most of the same information online, and 55 percent have continued to subscribe to printed magazines.

Seems pretty simple – formats matter. It’s lazy thinking to believe that simply because the same information may be available in a new format, the old format is dead. Nor is there reason to believe that a print publication’s web site must be a direct replacement. There is no law of physics that requires all content in a print product to be available in it’s digital version. They’re two different products and meet different needs for their audiences.

Another interesting result:

Additionally, a majority of U.S. respondents state that an important feature of printed magazines is the advertising that helps them learn about new things for themselves and their family.

For all the promise of targeted advertising in digital formats, it seems that print ads do a pretty good job of reaching their target audience. I wonder if a majority of people would say the same about online ads. Seems unlikely, doesn’t it? There are no “network” ads running in the pages of a print magazine hawking solutions to belly fat, only ads that are intended for that publication. And they’re not all measured as direct response ads no matter the creative. In fact, tablet advertising seems to have so much potential precisely because tablets are a platform that allows ads to build off of and extend what’s right with magazine ads.

And finally:

“Enthusiasm for printed magazines is consistent across all age groups, a unique result in consumer attitudes across all the media categories, we surveyed,” said┬áJames McDonnell, principal, Deloitte Consulting LLP.

Enthusiasm for a legacy product is a good thing, even as you plot it’s destruction.

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