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04 Dec 2017

A new survey confirms digital fatigue boosts commercial print

Vaughan Patterson Product Marketing Operations Manager for Production Print
Business Process Services

How do you get digital and print to cohabit?

I recently read a report from Two Sides, called: Print and Paper in a Digital World. It confirmed that print isn’t dead, not by any stretch, but that’s nothing new to me since I work in the print industry and I’m constantly involved with how it’s progressing and evolving. It also confirmed that people like and use written digital content a great deal, which again is not news to me.

However, confirmation of digital fatigue did pique my interest a little since it’s a real factor for businesses producing communications content, such as the print service providers, and indicates where they can direct their efforts.

A quick summary of what I discovered: People like to read print more than electronic mediums. They trust it more too. But that doesn’t necessarily mean they actually read more of it. That all depends on what it is they actually read.

In fact, 72% of people prefer printed books, magazines, and newspapers, 65% even think they understand more when they read print, and 51% trust news in print versus just 24% news from social media (while 76% of people are worried about fake news).

However, that’s not the whole story. When people actually read they prefer printed magazines and books but 76% regularly read news on a digital device and 50% plan to do it more so in the future. Digital news, even in the age of fakery, is a growing business.

Digital fatigue is a real factor, though, and perhaps the numbers actually show us that. Because, while people prefer print, they read a great deal of news on digital devices – and they also spend a lot of their time reading news so the absolute numbers, in terms of time spent on digital devices, is relatively high. But it tires them. By the end of the day they want to give their eyes a break. And that’s when they turn to print. It’s also when they turn to alternative forms of content. It’s the longer form content, such as that found in magazines and books.

People worry that digital reading will ruin their eyes, cause headaches, and deprive them of sleep. And while they’re comfortable with advertising in print it’s not popular electronically. Fact is, most people think they should be able to choose how companies communicate with them, either digitally or in print. And one of the biggest drivers of the choices people make is that they’re worried about how companies hold their personal information and expose that to hacking or misuse.

I encourage you to download the full report. The global one includes the findings of more than 500 South Africans alongside the international respondents. And it contains much more depth and detail.

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