Harry Norman, Managing Director, FlipFlop Media, gives his thoughts on how traditional publishing houses in the UAE will need to evolve in order to keep print media a relevant commodity…
“Print is not dead, but it has changed massively in the last five years. The days of high page rates and paid subscriptions are coming to an end. It is not that print doesn’t offer value, it’s that the publishing houses in the UAE do not understand what this value is.”
At the start of every year, a number of media-heads begin to hammer the final nails into the newspaper-shaped coffin that is print. The continued shift towards social engagement, content marketing and online advertising routinely rings alarm bells for the publishing industry and, if certain sources are to be believed, job cuts, the closing of publications and empty order books are spelling the end of print media in the GCC.
What a load of rubbish!
As a media house that utilises print platforms, we at FlipFlop Media have never seen a better commercial pre-book than now, taking in to consideration all of our prior publishing experience. At no point have any of our clients or readers declined collaboration because content is not dynamic or topical enough and, ironically, it is our digital platforms which presently require the most attention.
The reason for this success is simple. Print is not dead, but it has changed massively in the last five years. The days of high page rates and paid subscriptions are coming to an end. It is not that print doesn’t offer value, it’s that the publishing houses in the UAE do not understand what this value is. I repeat, print is not dead, but perhaps, ‘traditional’ publishing houses are.
When establishing a company that deals with print media, it’s important to understand the need to a) stand out and b) offer real value.We believe that diversification is key to this, and we currently find ourselves committed to being the only Business to Government media group that offers a new niche focus as well as value for our partners. Using a print platform as a vehicle for engagement within public-private partnerships, allows for the undertaking of activities that not only bring about real RoI for the client, but also drive forward the sectors that each of our publications is focusing on.
A prime example of this would be how SMEs are struggling for growth and so, working with the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre, we created the Knowledge Series so that CEOs could better understand how they could grow their businesses. The key here was diversification and shifting away from what was traditional and dwindling, to where the need is and where we – and our partners – want to be.
Using the influence of print media and connecting the dots for clients can put publishing houses in the unique position of assisting in both powerful marketing activities and effective business development. Providing genuine value is also key as spending from clients can, and will, double (at least) from each contract if they’re carried out effectively.
We have print platforms – and we love them. So much so, that we invest massively into the design and quality of every page. This offers readers a visually rich, immersive experience of thought-provoking content and premium branding that a mobile or computer screen simply cannot provide.
As long as media houses can offer this kind of real value to clients, then print platforms will thrive. Perhaps consumer publishing and newspapers are on the final goodbye tour, but they should be leading in the digital arena. If not, then maybe they should regret having focused so much on commerce and so little on content.
Just like when a king passes and new monarch is declared, the print industry is not dead but is seeing a change of order. When we launched Future Cities we started with ‘as your industry changes, so must your dedicated media platforms.’ We have welcomed the change, and suggest that you do too.