Unisource, The Print Council and the Relevance of Print Media

Businesses rooted in the print industry are passionate about role print plays and don’t have any plans to back down in the face of the digital age any time soon. This is evident in the ongoing Power of Print campaign by media giants Time Inc., Conde Nast, Hearst Meredith Corp. and Wenner Media. Starting in May 2010 (April for weeklies), the $90-million campaign aims to inform readers and advertisers alike about the steadfast relevance of printed media.

This August, Unisource Worldwide Inc., one of the largest distributors of printing and imaging papers, packaging, supplies and equipment in North America, showed just how relevant they feel the print industry still is by announcing their commitment to match any $100,000 grant to the Print Council made by any additional members of the group up to September 30, 2010.

“This partnership demonstrates Unisource’s commitment to educating both our own printing industry as well as the creative design, media and marketing communities about why they should continue to include print in their overall marketing mix,” (Al Dragone, CEO, Unisource Worldwide Inc.).

Made possible through the donations by sponsors such as the U.S. Postal Service, Heidelberg USA, Hewlett-Packard, Mohawk Fine Papers and a number of others, the Print Council has worked to promote, develop and advance the market for print media through education, awareness and research for a number of years. A free newsletter provided by the Print Council, Print in the Mix, informs consumers and industry professionals about the great influence of print media through case studies and research.

Print in The Age of The iPad

Time Magazine on Apple's iPad

It’s an understatement to say that May 2010 was a big month for the publishing industry.

Even before it’s hotly anticipated arrival in stores nationwide in early April, chances are you had at least heard of the iPad. Launching internationally in May with both Wi-Fi and 3G + Wi-Fi versions available, this device is without a doubt going to change the way consumers, developers and publishers view the digital publication or “e-zine”.

The iPad offers publishers a chance to come up with enhanced e-books that contain images, links, background material, embedded audio and even video (Priya Ganapati, Wired Magazine). Not only is it changing the face of many well-known publications, it also offers unique new ways for advertisers to reach out to their customer base – and larger players are quickly jumping on the bandwagon. FedEx, for example, has a three-month, exclusive advertiser deal for Newsweek iPad apps. Publishers prepared with their own apps stand to make enormous potential profits: Time is charging $200,000 for a single spot in its first eight issues designed for the iPad (Chris Foresman, ARS Technica).

Interestingly, despite the growing popularity of e-readers like the Kindle, Nook and iPad, and the growing demand for apps on these devices, the market for printed publications remains stable. According to Mediamark Research & Intelligence, readership among consumer magazines grew nearly one full percentage point higher over the last year and more than four percent over the past five years. Averaging 300 million paid subscriptions last year, it would be foolish to say that no one reads magazines anymore.

“Clearly, magazines continue to resonate on many levels with consumers, and this is reflected in the enormous trust and value readers have for their favorite magazine titles.” (Jack Griffin, President, Meredith International Media)

The Power of Print Ad

If you’ve flipped through any well-known publication recently, you may have noticed an ad in support of printed magazines themselves. Titled The Power of Print, it’s a $90-million campaign that launched earlier this month (April for weeklies). Headed by media giants Time Inc., Conde Nast, Hearst Meredith Corp. and Wenner Media, The Power of Print campaign aims to convince readers and advertisers alike that print is still as relevant as it’s always been while also preparing readers for the apps that are sure to come on e-readers and other mobile devices.

“Going digital is very important to Time Inc., but I don’t want my clients to believe that no one is reading the printed word.” (Ann Moore, Chief Executive, Time Inc.)

With more devices like the iPad to come, is the death of print closer than we think or will the persistence of publishers at Time and Wenner Media lead to its revitalization? For the time being, it looks like keep on enjoying the best of both worlds.