Digital Directions: Are You Putting the Wrong Product in the Wrong Medium?
Every medium possesses a unique set of characteristics. While this statement sounds self-evident at face value, the failure to understand and exploit the attributes of each medium often results in strategic missteps for publishers. The result: product failure from putting the wrong product in the wrong medium, or missed opportunities for product value creation.
Three media that we are all grappling with—print, Web and mobile—have important distinctions.
Print is a display technology—and a darned good one! Ink on paper will endure well into the digital age because of some attractive characteristics:
1. Physical. Printed matter is a physical object. Physical presence can be a great mechanism for discovery, for both active as well as passive seekers.
2. Portable. Most printed matter can be physically moved from place to place. It’s mobile!
3. Transferable. Since it is a physical, portable object, it easily can be transferred from person to person. No log-in required.
4. Reflected medium. Light bounces off the page to your eyes, not like the transmitted image of the screen. For most, this results in the most comfortable reading experience.
5. Self-contained. Printed content requires no device for playback, nor does it require a power supply.
6. High resolution. Print is hi-res? Let’s see: A two-page spread in a 15-inch by 12-inch photography book (30 inches by 12 inches total) at 300 dpi is 32 megapixels. The San Francisco Chronicle is now a 22-inch by 21-inch broadsheet at 240 dpi, or 27 megapixels. The resolution of high-definition video is just 2 megapixels.
7. Variable form factor. Within relatively wide technical and financial limitations, you can print at variable sizes. Very large print formats can be great for scanning wide arrays of content.
At what point will we start referring to digital content delivery over the Web as traditional? Perhaps soon. At any rate, some of its key attributes include: