Notes from the beach: It is a print, print, print world over here…July 16, 2009
No lap tops and no Kindles in sight… miles and miles of sandy beaches filled with folks on vacation armed with sun tan lotion, hats, and books (ink on paper books), magazines (ink on paper magazines) and newspapers (ink on paper newspapers). I was once again like a kid in a candy store seeing all these people reading and flipping pages of their printed papers. ( I almost took a picture, but was afraid of invading their privacy). They were not worried about putting them on the sand, the kids splashing water on them did not bother the parents, and when and if the pages get wet, the hot sun took care of that problem in few minutes.
I have said it time after time. The problem is not with print, the problem is what some folks who own printed products are doing to print, in the state of panic they are passing through. Case in point, USA Today newspaper. I picked up the paper yesterday and went to the beach to read it. On the front page they told me about my hero Superman, however they wanted me to go to their website to see the comic strip serial. To rub it in, on the front page of the Life section they showed me Superman again announcing his new adventure, but yet again it was only a teaser asking me to go to the website. That is the problem with most of the print products now-a-days. The folks behind some of our papers and magazines are in the process of committing suicide. Print is not dying, it is being killed.
Those folks do not believe that their printed product is enough or can deliver a separate experience on its own. When reading a newspaper or a magazine is no longer a complete experience (no matter what type of experience it is going to be) and you have to go other places to finish the experience, there lies the heart of the problem. I do not mind the papers and the magazines advertising their websites and telling me what they have to offer me on the website, but do not take it away from the printed experience. The web is a complete different experience, and each medium on its own should fulfill that experience.
People are moving away from print because print is moving away from them. In our search for the new publishing model we have lost our focus on the total reader experience with the total product at hand. The 360 experience should start and end at the medium at hand. Each and every medium should provide readers/viewers with the total experience. It you want more than one experience feel free to read the paper, go to the web, listen to the radio, watch television and check you mobile feed. However, keep in mind that each and everyone of the aforementioned experiences should be sufficient on its own.
For print to survive print folks have to focus on fulfilling my experience in print before sending me other places. It is the printed product that I have with me on the beach. I do not have to go any other place to read about my Superman. I hope on my next vacation when I pick up my copy of USA Today the entire Superman comic strip will be in the paper and not just announced on the front pages. Thank you in advance, and feel free to use some inside space to advertise your web site and its content. Treat it like an ad rather than an editorial content I can’t find in the paper itself.
Enough of that, the family and the beach are calling. Back to the vacation time… cheers.