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Image 1 for Gen Z spends more time reading print than they do on digital platforms

"They’re now the largest generation of consumers"

Image 2 for Gen Z spends more time reading print than they do on digital platforms

"And seem immune to any attempt to advertise digitally to them."

Gen Z spends more time reading print than they do on digital platforms

27 November 19

From a three-part series on print by Reuters: Gen Z grew up with social media and tech and have never known a world without it. They’re also becoming the largest generation of consumers by 2020 and seem immune to any attempt to advertise digitally to them. So how does that translate to the publishing world? 

Through a three-part series, we examine the current state and future of print. From its unique relationship to Gen Z, its adoption by internet giants, to increased revenue, all the way to emerging markets, we take a deep dive into the power of print.

The U.S. newspaper industry shrunk by about $4.5 billion between 2011 and 2018, and respected publications such as The New York Times and The Washington Post have had extensive layoffs while others ceased their print version. But other publishers are refreshing their strategies for the print format and getting positive results. 

While we live in a digital-first world, there is still a strong sense that print is valuable, especially to Gen Z. In 2018, The New York Times noted a rise in food-based, small-run magazines that focus on printed products.  

In fact, the last few years have brought in new, small and sophisticated titles produced on a shoestring, that seem to ignite the passion for print in their audiences.

Consumer brands are also paying attention and racing to leverage the marketing opportunities associated with ink.

"The good news for printed magazines is that their credibility has a halo effect on the magazines’ websites, which gives them a competitive advantage over their digital-only competitors. People may be buying fewer magazines, but they still associate them with quality and reliability.’’ - D.Eadward Tree (A pseudonymous magazine-industry insider who writes about the publishing industry in the blog, Dead Tree Edition.)

In a world where just about anyone can be a ‘’publisher’’ and post fake news, audiences are starting to question the validity of their sources and Gen Z seems to trust print publications over other media to deliver credible information.

That’s what MNI Targeted Media Inc. discovered when it commissioned a study to gain insight into this generation, surveying students at major universities about their media consumption. Some 83% turn to newspapers for trusted information and content, and 34% turn to magazines.

In fact, Gen Z is far from abandoning physical products. Another study from American University in four countries found that 92% would rather do their coursework in print, as opposed to on tablets or computers.

This was substantiated in the UK by The 2019 Ofcom News Consumption Survey, which found that magazines are the UK’s most trusted source of news, across all generations.

Young consumers are very aware that magazine publishing doesn’t follow the same rules as social media and blogging, where speed trumps fact-checking, editing, and refining. All the necessary processes before something makes it into print.

Because generation Z grew up with technology, they seem to value print media as a way to disconnect from the digital noise they live with.

In fact, and according to the study from MNI, 61% of Gen-Zers believe their peers would benefit from unplugging more. Even though they’re obsessed with their phones, the average Gen-Zer will still read magazines for about an hour every week according to Folio.

Terri White, Editor-in-Chief of the film magazine Empire from the Bauer Media Group says, “The digital space is a hectic, loud, cluttered landscape with bloggers, influencers, journalists, editors, writers, marketers all shouting into the void, their voices surfacing, or not, depending on SEO or algorithms.” In contrast, she adds, “The intimacy is unrivaled” when readers hold print in their hands, “a visceral, powerful connection” is created. “In this increasingly digitized world, you cannot underestimate how much people just want to feel something real.”

This provides an even stronger case for investing in print, especially for advertisers targeting the younger generation, as both attention and interest seem to be of attendance.




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