Is reading a printed magazine good for you?
Posted on 28th November 2020
These days it’s easy to download e-books and digital magazines and there’s no doubt that people’s reading habits are changing.
However, research shows that two thirds of us still read printed books and half of us read printed magazines.
It’s true that online searches for magazines of all sorts have declined over the last 15 years. However, seven out of 10 millennials read print magazines for leisure and entertainment, although they also consume a lot of content digitally (that’s people born between 1981 and 1996, by the way).
Research has concluded that it could be Generation Z (born between 1997 and 2015) which finally decides the fate of printed magazines. The question is ‘why?’ and ‘will magazines remain relevant?’.
Content people trust
There are now so many free sources of ‘news’, celebrity, and fashion content that the idea you will need to subscribe or buy it seems outdated. However, confidence in the accuracy and reliability of unverified digital content is less certain.
So, trust is an important factor that will support the ongoing value of printed magazines. The Ofcom News Consumption Survey found that magazines are still the UK’s most trusted source of news.
Reading printed material also helps you to cut down your screen time and it’s an immersive experience. A study by Bournemouth University and PHD Media found that 60% of consumers say they don’t do anything else while they are reading a magazine, compared to 35% for social media.
The reason is probably the quality of the content magazines provide. That’s just one reason why publishers, Hearst, have recently announced that they will be increasing the number of issues of their flagship lifestyle magazine, Prima, from 12 to 13 in 2021.
There’s also an increasing recognition that the experience of reading digital and print media is distinctively different. For example, researcher Nicola Yuill has looked at the way parents and children interact when reading digital and printed material. She has identified differences in emotional engagement when reading print.
Interestingly, there’s also discussion about the impact of links, buttons, and animations in a lot of digital content, which distracts you from simply reading the words. In contrast, the traditional skills of magazine production such as layout, design and photography, all help to guide readers through the content in an attractive and engaging way.
Engaging your senses
Last, but by no means least, physically holding printed magazines and books, turning the pages, their touch and smell gives us a much more powerful connection with the content.
The quality of the paper and the sound of turning the pages all contribute to the overall experience of reading in print.
In fact, researchers in the US carried out a study to scan people’s brains when they were reading digital and printed content. Printed content activated the part of the brain associated with desire and valuation and the review time was greater with print, compared to digital, which makes printed magazines a good choice for on-page advertising.
We think that generation Z and generation Alpha (born between 2010 and 2025), who are the first complete generation of ‘screenagers’, will still have room in their lives for absorbing, engaging, high quality printed magazines.
Please get in touch if you would like to find out more about how Pulse magazine can engage with your audience.
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