Print media is alive and well

I could quote Mark Twain…

Last week I attended the Niche Digital Conference in Chicago for

The conference is designed primarily for print publishers who are trying to enhance their online revenues, be that from tablets, mobile, or just getting online in the first place.

What I found was somewhat surprising. I live in a world where everything is online and printing a publication is deemed a waste of time and money.

While that may be true when it comes to city dailies and certain high tech publications, it’s definitely not a universal truth.

I met countless niche magazine publishers who are doing quite well. One publisher told me he started out online only, but his advertisers and readers requested a print publication. His print publication now accounts for the bulk of his revenue.

There’s no doubt that advertisers still pay a hefty premium for print advertising compared to online advertising. My theory is that they can’t measure print advertising as well as online, so it’s harder for them to draw conclusions on whether or not it’s working for them. If they see a click-through rate of .03% on a banner ad they think it failed, when it reality it might be outperforming print.

There are also still plenty of people who like to sit down with a glossy. That’s especially the case for non-news type publications. It’s possible the feeling of holding a magazine is slowly being replicated on tablets, but magazines “printed” on a tablet can still sell advertising similar to a print magazine.

The start up costs of going print remain high, but it certainly makes business sense much of the time.


  1. says

    It’s true, Andrew. I launched Bainbridge Island magazine ( in print and deliver a copy to every resident of Bainbridge Island (about 11,000) plus one to every business for their waiting rooms. It’s the offline complement to It’s doing well. I’ll bring a copy to the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. conference to show you.

  2. says

    It’s still alive, though I don’t know if it’s well. In recent years I’ve seen magazines fold and my local newspaper shut down and scale back, replaced by an online newspaper that also delivers a free hardcopy edition twice per week (used to be a paid version 5 times a week). I agree many people still like to hold a paper or magazine in their hands, and I don’t think print editions will disappear altogether, and some niches may do well. Perhaps most of the drop in print circulation has already happened, and we’re now near a new base level. Magazines like People and Times have to get into stores quick, or else their stories are ‘old news’ within days to people who get news online.

  3. says

    @Domains is right. Alive – yes. Well – Not so much! As a media buyer, I utilize print ads all the time and run successful campaigns. Rates are dropping in many cases with makes it even more attractive. But, revenue reports from print products of many types prove they are far from well!

  4. says

    Surprisingly, direct mail is doing well in our high tech era. There is much less junk mail coming to peoples mail boxes. When something does come and it doesn’t look like junk – data is showing that more people take the time to open it now. This is especially true with higher income homes according to post office studies.

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