Print media works because it understands the needs of the customer. By picking up the print medium, they’re investing time and attention, actively seeking entertainment and information rather than allowing it to wash over them.
Reading print demands the full attention of the reader and provides the means to escape today’s ‘always-on’ culture. The lack of distractions when reading print allows the reader to focus fully on the editorial and advertising content, the ultimate print moment coming when the reader is fully engrossed in a substantial article in a newspaper or magazine.
Recent neurological research has identified differences in ways people process information presented in print and on screen. These studies have found that readers of print maintain their capacity to read longer articles since the reading situation doesn’t offer so many distractions. This capacity – called deep reading – also cultivates deep thinking. On the digital side, it’s also argued that people who read a lot of online material become used to bite-sized pieces of information and are distracted easily, losing the capacity to focus for a long period on a single subject.
Print media has a close relationship with its readers. Indeed, print is often called the ‘me-medium’, as it can become an integral part of its reader’s world. But this relationship extends beyond the initial read-through. Because print is easily put down and picked up, it sticks around in the household or workplace, read again and again by others that come across it.
People also have certain reading rituals, so they will return to a publication a number of times to take in all the information it has, information that’s both authoritative and reliable. Whether lean-back or lean-forward, print has the capability to build a relationship with the reader because of its content. This content is planned and created by experienced editors, who provide information and features that are both relevant and interesting for readers.