Coronavirus (Covid-19) might finally invalidate that argument.
From The Racing Post to City AM to Time Out (cleverly rebranded as Time In), publications are suspending or retiring their print editions in response to declining advertising revenues and events cancellations as the Covid-19 pandemic continues to disrupt working life globally. For newspapers and magazine that rely on shop sales or free distribution, there is also a safety factor in play as communities self-isolate to slow the spread of the virus.
Even Playboy, an extremely (ahem) tactile magazine, is accelerating its shift to online-only content, with the spring 2020 issue marking Playboy’s final print publication after 66 years.
Tangible magazines and newspapers provide an inherent degree of credibility because the issue development requires highly specialized skills and production is expensive, and so printed publications signal a degree of stability and endurance. Traditionally, this has been a powerful marketing tool, because organizations that can afford to create and print these objects are automatically perceived to be worthy of the investment. And this is where Covid-19 factors in – if a longstanding newspaper or magazine can push through as an online-only product during what is shaping up to be a lengthy disruption, it will be a powerful testimonial supporting the strength of and demand for the publication’s content, rather than its reliance on a corporeal method of delivery. Even better, publications nimble enough to embrace the sudden shift in attention from print to web, taking advantage of the opportunity to distribute meaningful, high-quality content in engaging and innovative ways, may be able to carve out a niche that was previously didn’t exist in an ever-shrinking market.
JAMIE HYMAN - Account Director, Greentarget
Certainly, Covid-19 poses an existential threat to many newspapers and magazines, but the survivors may find that their post-pandemic product is leaner, more agile, and allocated resources previously spent on churning out ink on paper that are now available to invest in churning out quality content that’s worth the click.
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