A Ray of Light for The Future of Print News. The Time Spent Apocalypse?

Sometimes, the common wisdom, is wrong.

For years, media prognosticators have cited the vast disparity in time spent on print, and ad dollars spent on print, as a sign of the ongoing apocalypse in print.  For example, see Mark Meeker’s analysis which shows print with 7% of the time and 25% of the ad spend. Let’s call this the the “Time Spent Apocalypse.”

disparity-time-spent-ad-vs-medium-2011 (1)

There is some directional truth in this logic, echoed by many other forecasters.  However, this argument ignores the fact the readers tend to concentrate on print, and spend much time grazing other media — surfing the web, half watching the TV set, poking at their mobile devices in meetings.  New findings released from McKinsey look across client and other proprietary research and come to a vastly different conclusion with regards to news media.

While digital media are now 52% of time spent overall with media, this shrinks to 8% for times spend on news.  For print, in particular, the time spent overall is 5%, but for news increases seven-fold to 35%, as shown in the chart below, in red.

mckinsey time spend2

So with print having 25% of the ad spend, and 35% of the time spent, maybe the print advertising correction has gone too far?  That might be wishful thinking for print fans.  Of course, a better comparison would be with the percent of ad spend in news media.  This would probably show more balance, and if you have this data available, send to me and I will add it.

The McKinsey data is the best counter I’ve seen to the Time Spent Apocalypse.  Print continues to have an essential role in conveying information in any depth, particularly the news, and especially the news behind the news, and most especially the news behind the news for people who make the news.

Thanks to Rick Edmonds at Poynter for his post on McKinsey principal Michael Lamb’s presentation at the INMA World Congress.