Print isn’t dying as many believe, but it is changing. And for a 21st century media company to use print well, that company must understand what print is good for.
The important thing to understand is that ink and paper aren’t the problem. Gasoline is the problem. What’s disrupting print media companies isn’t a problem with the medium. It’s a problem with distribution.
Daily newspaper distribution is expensive and resource intensive. Daily newspapers must own their own printing presses, huge machines that take up half a city block, and hire people to run them. They must own fleets of trucks and work with a multitude of contractors to move their papers throughout a region. And finally, they must hire an army of drivers who wake up in the darkest hours of the night to throw those newspapers one by one into driveways and onto porches, if not into the bushes or in the neighbor’s yard.
If this seems like a ridiculous capital expenditure, that’s because it is. But it exists because at one time this process was the most efficient mechanism for delivering a package of news and advertising to an individual consumer. Now it’s quickly becoming the least efficient.
Likewise, magazines are seeing their circulation drop as a result of do-not-call lists, while their subscription costs are going up because of an increasingly expensive and unreliable U.S. Postal Service.
So why isn’t print dying?
Because Weld uses a distribution model that still works and still makes sense for the reader and the advertiser.
Chances are, you see free publications many times throughout your day. While daily newspapers and subscription-based magazines have dwindled, free publications haven’t gone anywhere. In fact, there now seems to be more of them than ever before.
As a distribution model, free distribution has strong competitive advantages.
First, it’s cheap, at least when compared to mailed subscriptions and daily home delivery. Weld sends out a few drivers to deliver its papers to a few hundred locations, not the thousands daily newspapers must manage. Next our racks and street boxes require no maintenance and last up to 10 times longer without need for repair.
All these efficiencies give us huge savings, which we then pass on to the individual reader.
Take a moment to think what that does for circulation. How many times have you seen a newspaper in a street box but not had a dollar or more in quarters to get one out? Most newspaper boxes can’t make change.
With free distribution, readers don’t have to fish through their pockets and purses for exact change. It’s free!
Our papers are free to readers because of the efficiencies of our distribution and because your advertising makes that service possible for our readers. It’s a mutually beneficial relationship on all sides. Our readers get the news and advertising information they want and need, and you, the advertiser, get to reach largest possible audience for the best price.
And paper is itself a technology, with capabilities no other medium has.
It’s cheap. If it breaks you don’t have to worry about whether you can afford a new one. You can take it in the bathtub with you if you want.
It’s disposable. Better yet, it’s recyclable. On top of that, Weld will print on recycled paper, so there’s no waste on our end.
It’s portable. Computers are getting smaller every day, but most still weigh more than a newspaper.
But most importantly, people trust paper. Paper still appeals to an emotional quotient as well.
Many readers still like paper, whether for the feel of holding it in their hands as they read, or the credibility it imparts to the content. They trust paper.
At Weld, it’s our business to repurpose paper for a new mission — one that maximizes our voice in Birmingham, and that delivers you the greatest possible audience for your advertising needs.