#SocialSeen: The Future of Print Vs Online

Is new technology set to render online media old hat, or will newspapers make a ‘comeback’?

I recently heard the news about The Independent newspaper going out of print, becoming the first national newspaper to move to a digital-only format. This made me wonder what the news meant for the future of print; is it really in decline or will we come full circle?

A report on media consumption in the UK by Deloitte found that half of Britons still buy print newspapers, and a further 10% read papers bought by others compared to only 31% who read stories online. Furthermore, Moshi Monsters’ Munro Smith, stated: “Computers and video games haven’t killed physical toys and games, so there’s no reason why the digital world should kill print. Lack of innovation or providing a poor product is far more likely to do that.” Additionally, Monday saw the launch of New Day, the new national print title from Trinity Mirror, aiming to tempt readers who have fallen out of love with print at a time when the medium is widely considered to be in long-term decline.

Now although most online media is free to access (funded through advertising), enjoyment still springs into the equation. There are readers who love the physical feel of print, the scent, and others who love the speed and accessibility of online. However one thing that is certain is the readability of print and the joy of picking up a copy, it’s a daily ritual for many.

Of course, it is difficult to make a prediction about the future of print but what if print isn’t the future? What if digital isn’t the future? In fact, what if virtual reality is in fact, the future? As Mark Zuckerberg said: “Right now, VR is mostly used for games and entertainment, but that’s quickly evolving, and one day you’re going to be able to put on a headset, and that’s going to change the way that you live, work and communicate.”

The news may stay the same, but the way we consume is constantly changing, and that’s something brands need to keep front of mind.