Brandon de Kock, director of WhyFive, recently spoke at a Novus Holdings event, emphasising that print still has a very relevant role to play in today’s world.
For businesses that operate in this space, agility and a real understanding of client needs will allow them to become future-focused. De Kock said that there is evidence that consumers are still spending on print. The PWC Entertainment & Media Outlook 2018-2022 shows that South Africans spent R11.5 billion on print in 2017, including R3.8 billion on books, R1.5 billion on magazines and R2.6 billion on newspapers.
‘People love reading. In fact, our research indicates that people are more interested in it as a pastime than dining out,’ said de Kock. ‘The print and media industry has much more of glass-half-full story than what is often portrayed.’
De Kock cited research from the BrandMapp 2018 survey of more than 29,000 South Africans, which shows that the percentage of South Africans who buy and read magazines has not changed drastically since 2014.
‘In fact, although people are certainly buying printed media less frequently, from 2014 to 2018 the number of people who read magazines in the middle-income bracket increased by 8%, from 80% to 88%.’ In addition, 87% of responds said that they read printed community newspapers, while 80% still read printed newspapers overall.
‘If a newspaper is lying around people will pick it up and read it,’ said de Kock. ‘Also, of the respondents, 23% said they like the sales brochures and ads that come with their newspapers. This is because the content in the ads is relevant to the reader’s wants and needs.’
De Kock added that globally, printed book sales continue to outstrip that of digital books. More than 80% of BrandMapp respondents said that they buy printed books and 45% buy four or more each year.
‘More than 190 million books were sold in the UK in 2018 for around R29.2 billion (£1.6 billion), making it the fourth successive year of growth in the industry,’ said de Kock. ‘In South Africa, the 100th best-selling book in 2017 made R1 million, while the number of trade and academic books sold in the same year was 11 million.’
However, he acknowledged that for printers, publishers, authors and anyone else operating in the media and printing landscape, consumers’ needs are changing, and only businesses that embrace this change will remain relevant.