Print Publishers Uncertain About Their Digital Future

The majority of print periodical publishers surveyed by GartnerG2 either foresee no change in the relationship between print and online or don’t know what the future holds. They aren’t optimistic about the future of online advertising as a means to increase revenue. Only 27% of them foresee any increase in online advertising revenue in the next five years. Publishers at independent periodical were the most optimistic, publishers at chain newspapers were the most pessimistic.

GartnerG2 Research Director Allen Weiner, who we know is a veteran analyst of the publishing industry, says that the periodical publishing industry still lacks a clear understanding of future print and digital synergies and a framework to face its digital future. He notes that the vast majority of publishers of newspapers or magazines:

  • Lack online registration systems, which are required to support targeted advertising and personalized content;
  • Fewer than half of publishing conglomerates (owners across publishing and broadcast) and syndicates bundle print and online together, thereby losing cross-selling and marketing opportunities;
  • Fewer than half of all publishing companies employ a unified strategy for print and online ad sales, which, again, leads to missed opportunities and a duplication of effort. This sends a confusing message to advertisers.

Weiner points out that, in many cases, publishing companies face a “directional disconnect” where top-level management, newsroom/editorial personnel, IT professionals and new media staff each have their own vision for the future. Too many print companies lack a process for blending these visions into a cohesive product plan and development roadmap.