Print Makes Cents

Feeling like an origami sheep in a digital herd? Designers innately understand the value of communication on paper. They know that a strong message, thoughtfully crafted, well-designed and printed on quality paper is an effective communication tool and allows the recipient to tactilely experience a brand. If you’re a lover of print, you probably spend a good deal of time trying to convince clients that print is a critical part of any marketing plan. This is especially true when working with limited or diminished budgets and teams that believe that print may be dead.

But are ‘print is dead’ perceptions based on reality? Well, as they say on the Marketplace® program widely distributed on public radio, let’s go to the numbers…According to a recent article in the market intelligence blog, WhatTheyThink?, measured media in the US constitutes a $300 billion market. This works out to a media spend of about $1,000 per person per year—here’s how it breaks down:

  • Television commands the biggest single share at $70 to $75 billion, including network, cable, and streaming channels.
  • Direct marketing—the only medium with results that can be measured in ROI dollars—comes in at $60 billion.
  • The newspaper market makes up $45 billion.
  • The Internet—specifically, its SEO (search engine optimization) portion—is a $25 billion medium.
  • Magazines and periodicals own a $20 billion share.
  • Directories account for $10 billion.
  • The Out of Home market (OOH) including billboards, signage, and other components, adds up to $9 billion.
  • The “other” category, which includes printed promotional items such as free standing inserts, comes in at $15 billion.
  • And, non-measured media, like trade shows, sweepstakes and lotteries, public relations, and collateral, comprise $200 billion in promotional activities.

When we add up the numbers associated with print communication, it continues to own the largest share with $159 billion—bigger than all the others put together. It’s obvious that print is an important part of our consumer-driven economy. Still not so sure? Did you know that Amazon is opening brick and mortar bookstores and CEO Jeff Bezos paid $250 million in cash for the old guard publication, The Washington Post. Also, according to the Association of Magazine Media, overall print circulation is slightly up or stable. It’s refreshing to have drawn a personal line in the sand and see leading edge thinkers start coming back to my point of view. Does that make sense?

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