Reports which endorse the strength of print have been released within days of each other. Two Sides’ latest survey finds support for printing across the generations, almost four out of five preferring to read on paper rather than on a screen when given the choice.
The second survey from international magazine publishing organisation FIPP argues that far from replacing print magazines, digital delivery enhances the impact of the print version of a publication. Digital is stronger when used to deliver up to date news, different kinds of content and when promoting two way communication.
The Rules of Attraction report, produced by Crowd DNA, describes those that engage with their favoured publication online as ‘super users’. When they then engage with the print publication, the result is a deeper commitment, finding print more inspirational, pleasurable and relaxing and likely to spark ideas. “The multi platform existence is anchoring magazines even more deeply into the audience’s lives and psychology,” says the report. “Consumers are increasingly finding that print plus digital is the best combination of all.”
The Two Sides survey was conducted among 500 UK consumers and 1,000 from the US. It confirms that print is favoured for reading about more complex subjects. Print was also more relaxing to read than screen content. It uncovered concern that that reading digital content might cause eye strain, headaches and insomnia among other health concerns.
“People’s preferences are still for a physical reading experience which they believe it to be a ‘safe’ medium which is more informative, less distracting and less harmful to their health,” says Two Sides director Martyn Eustace.
There is also a clear preference (among parents) for school children to use printed books as a better tool for learning than digital devices. Print is also considered more immersive and relaxing medium, important for receptivity to advertising. On the other hand digital is the preferred channel to read short documents. More than 80% will opt to read complex documents on paper rather than online.
“We know there is a switch towards online consumption of information,” says Eustace, “we wanted to find out if people were happy that this is happening and if given the choice would they be happier to receive information in print on paper.
“The findings that people reading print are in a more relaxed state is an interesting result for publishers.”
As in previous surveys undertaken for Two Sides, there is an across the board preference to receive invoices and statements in printed form for reference and for easier retrieval. “Even the so-called millennial generation, who have grown up in the digital age, do not have a vastly different attitude towards print on paper,” he says.
The US findings very much reflect those from the UK. The expectations are that should similar work be carried out elsewhere, findings would again be similar.