Print is Dead. Says Who?

Print is Dead. Says Who?
by: Jerry Liao

Reports that print is dead or will soon die can be found all over. Publishers who uses the digital mediums are riding on these studies for obvious reasons – to justify their existence and to some extent, to convince advertisers that their medium is the present and future medium of choice.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has made the bold claim that print will be extinct within the next 10 years. Ballmer said magazines, newspapers and all media will no longer exist in physical form as we know it, and will only be delivered via IP networks. Ballmer claims that both producers and consumers crave the interaction that only networked communications can supply.

In a recent Epson Philippines event, three outstanding members of the Printing Industries Association of the Philippines (PIAP) contradicted the studies and said the printing industry is going strong and is here to stay.

The three members namely Basic Graphics, Inc., Printwell, Inc. and Velprint Corporations were honored by Epson for garnering the top honors during the recently concluded PIAP Print Excellence Awards.

Velprint Corporation won in four categories namely: Book Categories (Colored), Books Category (Black and White), Brochure Category and Magazine Category. Printwell, Inc. was awarded in the Calendar Category and Folding Cartons, while Basic Graphics Inc. was honored as the leading printer for the Poster Category.

When asked to give their comments whether they are threaten by online publishing and if they agree that print will soon die in lieu of digital media, all three including John Choa President of PIAP said no.

Choa said print is here to stay. “People wants to have something in their hands when they read their news and books. We use digital technology to enhanced our product. We are getting local and international projects, proof that Filipino talents are recognized worldwide. Something that we Filipinos should be proud of” said Choa.

For his part, Basic Graphics Inc President Edmund Liu said “When cars were invented, they said the railroads will be gone. When the planes arrived, they said shipping will die. When TV came, they said radio is finished. When the phones became available, they said mails will be forgotten. With the internet, they are now saying print will die. It will not happen.”

Printwell President Robert Yam said “The printing industry continues to enjoy growth despite the popularity of the web. There will be people who prefers to read online, and there will be those who will prefer to read it on print. To say that the internet will kill print is a far cry from reality. I believed they will co-exist.”

Why is online information popular? Because it is more affordable than print. Online is not totally free, we pay for our connection and we rent or buy our own computer. If newspapers and magazines were to be given free, and online starts to charge for their content. I’ll tell you online publishing will drop dead.

Real time information you say? We have TV and radio. Of course online news, blogs and social networks are great source and contributors. But to say that the online medium will take over TV, radio and print is an arrogant sweeping statement. Unless you can provide a free netbook to those who read their news in the morning and during their morning rituals (nature regimens) of people, PRINT is here to stay.

This is my prediction – unless online that purely operates via the web can provide proof that they have quality readers, they will die. Pageviews and unique visitors will no longer be enough to advertisers, quality readership and purchasing power is key in this economic crunch. If pure online operators can’t show the right statistics, websites will be closing down faster than we can imagine.

And despite the world-wide reach of online media, that very world-wide reach dilutes the value of online. Targeted marketing is the name of the game.

One last advice to all the real writers and to those who thinks they’re writers – Never put your little success on top of your heads. We are all as good as our last story. No one is indispensable here. So be humble always and don’t act as if you’re better than the rest because definitely you are not. Thank God because what you have now all came from Him.

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