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The papers continue to be on the lead

Anything can be read about the digital media potential – the more so I was attracted by the paper written by MillwardBrown, diagnosing behaviours of the readers of hard copy and digital papers.

As the lover of printed matter and man of practice focussing increasingly on digital media I read the study with interest. The report was prepared at request of the Chamber of Paper Publishers, signed by Dr habilitatus Jan Poleszczuk, and Dr Izabella Anuszewska. I wish to mention that I laid hands on the study with delay, but it seems that comprehensive analysis dating few months back has not lost validity.

Happily, papers are a significant culture-generating media – besides TV, it continues to play the first fiddle in the shaping of people’s cultural condition. The papers are on the lead in the shaping and developing interests. Interestingly, in the media ranking of the culture-generating impact on recipients, the papers never placed lower than second. It is also true that it is not the only source of information for its readers, but for more than half of them (52,7%) is considered to be the most valuable resource of substantive content.  Papers and TV are perceived by the large part of respondents (69% to 73%) as media allowing largely for the extensive familiarisation with in-depth opinions from various milieus.

We value papers for being the substance carriers. Compared to free of charge information sources (i.e. internet services or portals), the paid press has a clear cut, cohesive and positive image based on such features as: authority, professionalism, fairness, reliability, intelligence.

Digital and hard copy papers accumulate mostly good associations and are described as i.a. important, respectable, relaxing and fair. E-papers are perceived by almost half of the readers (46,8%) as a new attractive form, not associated only with the printed version.

The weeklies are the periodicals, which seem to have the biggest potential in the days of transformation to digital carriers. This is reflected by the high level of projected growth of interest in the digital reading and projected increase of the total readership of this type of titles (from 30% to 46%). Specialised  periodicals – according to readers’  projections – are expected to boost their total range thanks to digital versions from 56% to 64%, dailies  – from 48% to 60%. The type of periodicals which seems to be relatively most resistant to changes from the hard copy to digital, are the periodicals for women (projected growth of the reach from 57% to 61%).

The figures expressed in per cent do not demonstrate that mobile access to information in the interactive form has been used in full– they are still on the upswing and have a  good deal of potential. The recipients more often use digital papers at home, PCs or laptops. Also readers with tablets access paper texts through computers. The most frequently used e-version of the papers is the pdf format, that is the replica of the paper publication. This is the most popular form at present. The users are keen to have access to their titles also in the app form. Though, to date only 10%  of the surveyed persons ever purchased digital papers, but a s much as  17,5% declare it is probable they would purchase e-papers in the forthcoming 12 months.

The survey showed that papers are still the most potent medium forming and developing interests. It is hard to imagine comprehensive actions without consideration of traditional media – despite great optimism and undoubtedly domination of digital carriers, time has not yet come to close down traditional publications. Competitiveness and quick availability of digital information will be gradually pushing the printed matter to the niche, but most certainly this will not happen overnight.

Michał Szapiro