The death of print

I remember that day we stopped using the fax machine at the office. Even though at the time we had an advanced model with a printer and scanner that could copy and fax full A4 pages, it’s death came without much fanfare. It was just switched off one day and removed from the stationery and that was it, we moved on. Email had replaced it as the preferred method of direct communication and by then nobody missed the fax machine at all. Like nobody missed VHS when it died. Now even CDs and DVDs are practically obsolete. Nobody is going to miss them either when we no longer use them.ย 

These are all casualties of the digital age. An age that has brought about massive behavioral changes in our lives. We all know this and and knowing it enables us to predict the future of some other things that we use every day.

Take print media. Print is not dead yet, but it is dying. A dignified drawn out death that may never kill it off completely. Some forms of print will always remain valid while others will cease to exist completely just like VHS did, and nobody will miss them either.
Many argue that newspapers are a seriously endangered species in a digital age marketing plan. Some of the dailies look moribond already and may be the first to eventually die off. The Sunday papers could last for much longer especially if their content continues to rely more on back stories and opinion and less on breaking news. As newspaper readers keep getting older, advertisers will probably continue thinning out and the medium will eventually become unsustainable. We will still continue consuming news content and most likely from the same sources, but it will no longer be printed on paper.

Other advertising print media like printed directories will also suffer the same fate. It just doesn’t make sense to look up a phone number in a book anymore when you can Google it much faster on the mobile phone that you’re already holding in you hand. For advertisers it will eventually become too expensive to reach too few people and they will shift their budgets elsewhere, killing off the printing of that kind of book forever.
Everyone agrees this is the future. The big question is when will it happen? Will it be next year, two, three years or much longer than that? It’s difficult to hazard a guess mostly because this won’t happen at once. It’s a process that’s already started. Print media owners have been converting their product into their own digital replacements for years. Many are succeeding admirably and this makes the death of print as much of a non event as when we switched off the fax machine for the last time. We won’t miss not buying the newspaper anymore because we have better, easier, faster access to the news on non-paper media.

Written by Pierre Mizzi – Logix Creative Group

@pierremizzi