Print media use physical objects such as a newspapers, magazines and brochures to communicate information to their readers. The development of the Internet as a dynamic and fast-paced communications vehicle has had an impact on publishers of print media. Most newspapers and magazines are now published online as well as in print form, and many organisations view their websites as online brochures. However, there is still a substantial demand from consumers for physical publications, and many publishers and companies have found innovative ways to use them and integrate them with the online publishing world.
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Newspapers, particularly since even the traditional broadsheets adapted their format to tabloid size, remain convenient for reading on public transport during the journey to work. They can be bought in single units (no need for a subscription) and cheerfully abandoned after they have been read. Newspapers also have a traditional role in lining pets' cages and litter trays, as well as in protecting surfaces while painting.
While we rely on television, radio and the Internet to provide up-to-the-minute news coverage, magazines, like books, are for more reflective pieces. Current affairs magazines such as "The Economist" and "The Spectator" can be read, thought about and re-read at leisure, rather than when you are sitting at your desk using your laptop or computer. Tablets make it easier to recreate the print magazine experience electronically, but paper-based magazines remain the only type safe to read in the bath.
Direct mail delivers a targeted marketing message right into people's homes. Because it is a physical object, you engage more with a piece of direct mail than you do an email message -- even if you just pick it up in order to throw it away. Many businesses have learnt from the Internet, and are using direct mail to create physical content marketing campaigns. For example, they create calendars, cards and instructions that people stick on the fridge, as a semi-permanent reminder of the business's brand.
Catalogues as a means of shopping have been replaced entirely by ecommerce. However, the publication of a catalogue can be an event, as companies such as Next know very well. The delivery of the Next catalogue twice a year creates excitement, and drives customers online to make a purchase. Browsing a catalogue is a leisure activity -- something that you do while lounging in an armchair, rather than sitting at the computer. Potentially the catalogue will become defunct when there is 100% tablet usage, but until then it will remain an effective medium.
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