Digitalise and revitalise - the road to revival for print media

Print publications can ditch the conventional practice of just glancing the news by flipping through the pages and rather introduce new collaborative and audience-engaging ways like the audio-visual form.

The coronavirus pandemic has put many sectors on the path of digitalisation. According to an estimate, India will be home to a billion virtual users by the year 2030. The pandemic has aggravated the speed of reaching that goal.

Digital technology gives the vast ambit of media a comprehensible array of choices like generating video, assimilating social networks and blogging, making use of map mashups and mobile devices, the list goes on. But survival of news organisations depends on proper adoption of these novel technologies.

With the arrival and growth of the internet in the digital media, magazines and newspapers face a challenging task. However, in India, there is a section of people who prefer reading newspapers and magazines for daily updates and information but due to the current lockdown have switched to e-publications.

The internet has transformed the way we think about advertising and dissemination of information. Anything we want to know is now just a click away. The platform of virtual media has been gaining more prominence and is growing faster than the conventional print media. Although the digital media does have its benefits, the print media too has the upper hand in a few ways. 

However, as compared to the unavailability factor which is generally an issue with print media, digital media’s reach is far and wide. It is an agreeable point that virtual form of print publications has solved the problem of inaccessibility.

With this in mind, we take a look at the state of play of digital and print mediums and also whether digital and print when assimilated work better together.

Digitalising magazines and newspapers

Digital magazines are fast catching the attention of the media industry owing to their capability to entice readers through interactive content, without involving high costs in production and distribution as compared to conventionally printed magazines. Digital magazines have a multitude of prospects to alter both in editorial and business models.

Digital magazines have the ability to attract the reader’s attention through resourceful ways of storytelling, leave aside the abundant possibilities of interaction. Presently, digital journalists are able to choose the most apposite tools to tell their story, eliminating the need to stick to the text, image or a certain number of characters.

The reading experience too can be enriched with tools like the page flip technology which can simulate even the outdated act of passing through pages. Currently, any digital magazine, newspaper or tabloid, even the less interactive ones, can lend the reader the prospect to click on links that refer to sites mentioned in the text or commercials, go directly to one of the pages via the index, enabling them to send an email automatically to any address stated in the magazine or merely zoom.

A virtual magazine reader can explore various interactive options like augmented reality, digital games, special apps, access to the magazine’s social media handle, online contributions to the magazine’s content, or special access to some information and data organised in layers.

Digital media has an incredible broadcasting potential. While the geographical expansion of the print media totally depends on the process of physical distribution, the digital media sources can possibly reach anyone with internet access. The very discovery of a digital magazine or an e-paper is facilitated through search engines, directories, and social media.

The conventional print tools like leaflets, brochures, mass mail-outs, posters, and newspaper adverts have now been overcome by Google ads, web ads in the magazines, and online news mediums, thus enabling to analyse the traffic and get a study of the kind of audience viewing the same.

Alongside, it is also commendable to note that by implementing a two-fold approach that seamlessly unifies print with digital, the domain of media can plan a more powerful growth strategy. 

The below-mentioned ideas can help in functionally digitalising and revitalising the print medium

The use of AR technology

Augmented Reality (AR) has gradually but confidently been edging into the digitalisation of media for quite some time now. This new addition has been warmly accepted because of the many benefits it offers. The beauty of AR is that it can seamlessly combine digital information within our own environment by making use of the existing surroundings.

While talking about the print to digital significance, AR is a noteworthy out-of-the-box thinking technology that breaks the monotony of the conventional mundane method of reading and imagining a particular news or story. They enable certain parts / imagery of a story to be scanned through the app and the story can be experienced live.

For instance, imagine you are reading a story about Cyprus and then with a scan of the image in the story on the app you are visually walking through the streets of Cyprus and key points of interest. You scan an advertisement of a luxury car and then you are virtually sitting inside the car with a 360 degree video. With its ability to create scenarios that are otherwise impossible to create, the utilisation of AR technology is a very important aspect of revitalising the print version. 

Social media and networking platforms

Social media and networking platforms have refined the field by making news delivery fast-paced and delicate. These platforms offer much higher engagement, thus helping to fulfill a more nuanced role by serving to engage more and more influencers and readers.

Video format of news

In the wake of embracing digitalisation, when a news is being covered, the papers can ditch the conventional practice of just glancing the news by flipping through the pages and rather introduce new collaborative and audience-engaging ways like the audio-visual form, introducing a podcast or an audio way of reading and hearing the essentials of a news.

Digitalisation has a global reach

Taking the magazine beyond boundaries and towards the global frontiers facilitates reaching out to a larger target audience by not limiting to a certain crowd and lends it a global appeal. Positioning the magazine on an appealing global online platform can garner its tremendous traffic via the readership from a global audience.

Therefore, a mishmash of print and digital mediums proves indispensable in strengthening a fruitful business module, due to the competence in which they cohabit. Hitching the strengths of both will lend the print medium the best chance at developing their readership base, thus gradually hitting the road to recovery.

The impact of integrating the digital revolution with print journalism is noticeably stronger and a tipping point is likely to arrive sooner in India.

Edited by Javed Gaihlot

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)


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