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Commentary & Analysis

Old Media is New Again

By Frank J.

By WhatTheyThink Staff
Published: June 28, 2005

By Frank J. Romano Survival in the printing business, therefore, depends largely on one's capacity to anticipate these trends or at least to adjust one's appeal to these changes as soon as they occur and are designated. Jun 28, 2005 -- In a May, 2005 article in the Wall Street Journal, the head screamed "How Old Media Can Survive in a New World." (The WSJ considers network TV to be an old media, in addition to newspapers, magazines, and book publishing.) On the same day, the New York Times had a major article that said "No More Same-Old" as it reported that advertisers want something different from their advertising agencies, and most of the examples involved e-mail. "New" media has been an issue longer than we think. In a May, 1936 (yes, that's 1936) issue of the Inland Printer, I came across the following: "While it is true that many millions of dollars have been diverted into radio, it must also be remembered that there has been a tremendous increase in the production of direct mail, booklets, and follow-up literature by radio advertisers. Survival in the printing business, therefore, depends largely on one's capacity to anticipate these trends or at least to adjust one's appeal to these changes as soon as they occur and are designated. For survival means a constant readjustment." What's hot seems to get a lot It may not be a case of new media versus old media, but rather the "media-du-jour" that captures the attention of marketers. Look at the statistics on how advertisers are spending their promotion dollars: Newspapers down 18.8 percent Network TV down 15.2 percent Radio down 5.6 percent Magazines down 9.9 percent. What's up? Direct mail up 2.4 percent Cable TV up 79.1 percent Internet up 203.9 percent. Progressive and prudent printers have undergone "constant readjustment" over the years but mostly in the area of new technology--a case of reinvestment more than readjustment. But now they have to readjust and adapt to the market and integrate media: Direct mail will link to the Internet. Recipients will be directed to "personalized" websites and automated responses will generate e-mail or paper mail. Books will have an on-demand component and files will also be repurposed into electronic form for research requirements. Catalogs will integrate digital and offset printing and also have links to websites as well as to electronic versions. Manuals will continue to morph into "help" files. Magazines and journals will lose some ad dollars but will develop websites that generate new sources of revenue. The combination of media is the future of marketing and the future of marketing is the future of printing. In other words, most printed products will have an electronic dimension and printers will develop new income streams as a result. We should be promoting the new medium of print--because new media is becoming old hat. The combination of media is the future of marketing and the future of marketing is the future of printing. What's hot gets a lot--but eventually the old and the new tend to balance out. We just need to make print hot again.

 

 

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