Thursday, August 25, 2011

Survival of the Print media and Differentiation

Markus Frey, the design director from "Kauppalehti" (Finland´s premier business newspaper) admits, that design is not the ultimate savior or wonderdrug for the print industry. More is needed.

According to various "estimated per week spent with media" -research results, the usage among "the old" media is diminishing. (These studies are abundant and widely available for all) Not surprisingly for anyone, the great public around the Western world is spending more and more time among the digital media: web, games, digital tv. What is the common newspaper or magazine to do? Adopt game-like features, transform and shift its presence partly to the internet?

In Frey´s mind, the carefree-attitude in making print media has to be abandoned. Now, a clear message and a unique personality has to be present from the get-go. Yes, a paper has to have a personality. A unique soul, that we want to adapt into our lives. The created identity needs to be different from other existing print media brands, and to catch our attention. This is nothing new in the world of marketing, however.

Frey criticizes the what he considers "overly bad taste" of Finns regarding consumption of media. Much more could be offered and consumed. But is the decreasing popularity of old media to be blamed on the general  bad taste of the greater public? "The product is good, the customers just don´t get it" -approach is weak.

When discussing the success of the "Monocle", Frey mentions emotions, personal relations to the paper and perceived quality. A consumer object becomes more than it is, a friend -and a prestigious one.

Frey also mentions, how the style and idiom of communication changes with times. Guttenberg´s bible would be incomprehensible for most of us today, as its text style is so old. Should print media borrow the style of digital media more? Or, should they evolve and fuse with the new technology entirely? With the arrival of iPads and growing fusion between television and internet, this is not such a small question to ask.

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