Digital Media Vs Print Media: Which works better for you?

It’s true that we all love the smell of print that digital media is unable to capture! We simply enjoy visiting the bookstores and leafing through the pages of new magazines, while the virtual world is still working on fragrance. Well there are challenges and comfort zones. However, it remains a fact that digital world is the new buzz giving print media a run for its money.

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In fact, the one ritual which was sacrosanct with the x and y generation is slowly being taken over. Yes you guessed it right, our daily ritual of browsing through the morning newspaper while having our favorite cuppaas been steadily replaced by messages on whatsapp, facebook and twitter. We are now more used to browsing our mobile phones or social media sites to get all the latest updates rather than turning to page 3 or 8. Well, each medium has its unique advantages and patrons.

We spent some time trying to understand the Pros and Cons of Print Media vis-à-vis the digital media and we came out with the below observations, this is not an exhaustive list though.

One of the greatest advantages of print media is that it’s tangible. We can actually touch and smell it which gives a sense of comfort to us. Moreover, studies show that our brain can retain more through physical contact than any other forms of imagery.

So leafing through the pages, highlighting and writing down notes adds to the retention power of our grey matter vis-à-vis using the mouse pointer. Another advantage of print media is once we buy a magazine or journal we own it for the rest of the life. We can leaf through it whenever we feel like. The human desire of control and ownership kicks in, though in small doses.

print media - medialabs

Print media has its share of disadvantages too. It fails to give the pleasure that we get from instant features, infographics and interactive videos. Another serious limitation is its inability to get instant feedback from the viewers. Moreover, the cost associated with material cost, printing, publishing and circulating is huge not to mention the environmental concerns because of paper and the ink being used.

Digital Media on the other hand as its uniqueness in being interactive; we, the viewers, can give our feedback immediately. It also gives us opportunity of social sharing with our friends, family and the like-minded individuals. Naturally, the reader engagement is at a much higher level.

It’s fast, easy and interactive with scope to optimize the products and content. Tracking and Analytics tools like Google Analytics gives valuable feedback such as which articles have got maximum viewership, their geographical location, time they spent on the page etc.

One must be wondering that with numerous advantages what would be the limiting factor for digital? Well, one of the biggest disadvantages is obviously online plagiarism. It’s a serious offence but there is very less being done to stop it.

digital media - medialabs

Digital publishers have to protect all their publications be it content, articles, photos, videos anything and everything that can be copied or reproduced. Another limitation is it fails to hold the attention of the viewers for a long span of time. Viewers are easily distracted and so digital publishers have to work extra hard to grab their attention and retain their viewer on their sites.

Which is better?

Clearly, one fails where the other wins. So, it’s wiser to mix both in the right proportion to get the best out of your readership. One needs to choose the right media depending on one’s needs and requirements:

Type of business: You can decide your strategy depending on the type of business. For instance, if you have small and medium scale business catering to a local area, then you may save large cost overtures with a combination of low cost digital media and localized print distribution.

Customer Type: You need to know your customer base. You have to find out where they spend more time?

Opportunity Cost: You need to find out the opportunity cost. It’s the cost of the alternative that needs to be foregone to pursue certain action.

In fact, in the longer run it might not be print-only or digital-only marketplace, your presence might be required as a hybrid consumer or provider. The larger consumer will decide what will be the next iteration with the only constant being change, as usual.

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