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Advertisement – Relevance of Print in the era of Digital

When one is cornered and pushed to the wall and the challenge is to remain relevant, the only choice is to either recharge your creative battery and do something very fresh and new, or sink into darkness.

It was talk of the market until half a decade ago whether newspapers, news magazines, and overall print media will survive the giant scare created by the digital world dominated by innovation in Information & Communication technologies, but the debate is more or less settled. Print is here to stay, and the data shows it has actually grown over the years. More regional print publications have come up and dailies have added more than 110 Mn readers in last 3 years. The story in rural areas is even more heartwarming where almost 70 Mn readers have been added, that’s almost twice the urban growth of 40 Mn.

IRS-2017 data indicates 42% of the population in the 12-15 years age group, and 50% between 16-19 years have read at least one daily per month. 42% of the 20-29 years age group population read dailies. These data clearly shatter the myth that the younger population read only on their device screens.

But Print has been able to hold on its own, and we have seen advertisers reacting with creative campaigns that were unheard of. Many mornings, we have woken up to newspapers drenched in the aroma of coffee, or a sachet glued to the print advertisement launching a new shampoo.

It is of course common knowledge that digital media provides flexibility and ease of use and is something that has to be part of the media strategy of every company given the smartphone penetration and data speed and data plan being offered by telecom services firm, but this is also established that Print has to be a major part of the marketing strategy especially for kitchenware, cookware, furnishings, skincare, cosmetics, and household product segments because of the massive reach that print provides in the hinterland of a country like India. Even e-commerce companies have 4 page advertisements in all leading dailies of India during Diwali season.

Last but not least, for some reason or the other there are few things which always are most satisfying and fulfilling when done in traditional way, and one of them is reading. Inside an aircraft on a flight, reading newspaper is the best pastime, probably second only to watching your favorite comedy series. Figures indicating sale of tablets is a case in point. It was supposed to drive reading habit, but it seems they are themselves being driven out of market.

With thousands of sites displaying millions of advertisements, trying to catch reader’s attention, it is the print advertisement that has clearly got an edge, but it should be left to a marketer’s strategic thinking how she would like to deploy and execute the media strategy.


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