News & Opinion

James Wildman: "Don't be a printist pariah"

Writing for Media Week, Trinity Mirror Solutions' chief revenue officer discusses why printism "flies in the face of all reason and evidence as, without doubt, the unique role of print is as valid now as it was a generation ago". 

Printism: "The preconceived opinion not based on reason or actual experience of the print medium; bias, partiality, unreasoned dislike, hostility of antagonism towards, or discrimination against, print".

That's how Wildman defines the new 'ism', a description which comes on the back of recent research by Trinity Mirror Solutions, which found "agencies don't feel print is 'sexy' enough" and that "you're unlikely to win an award or earn a promotion off the back of print activity". 

Yet with 36 million people reading a physical newspaper every month in the UK (NRS PADD), Wildman believes it's time for a rethink.

Recalling his pre-Trinity role at Yahoo, Wildman says: "I would have given my right arm for a physical offline extension of the digital campaigns we delivered". Now that "newsbrands have proven themselves with huge digital scale that can't be argued with", Wildman says"it is time to remind agencies and clients that print is still hugely influential to consumers, influencers and society as whole".

"Let's not forget that there are few – if any – media that can command the solus attention of their audience in a trusted brand environment, provide a space and context where commercial messages are actively enjoyed and genuinely influence the way people think and behave", he writes. "Our readers know its special, and it's time we remind ourselves of that too".

This view chimes with comments Geordie Grieg, editor of The Mail on Sunday, made at Shift North earlier in the month. "Print has a magic. People love print. People have a habit-forming addiction to print" he said, going on to describe the fact that 1.6 million people buy The Mail on Sunday each week, even though the content is available for free online, as "that extraordinary sense, every weekend, that we defy gravity". 

Wildman's fight-back against 'printism' comes in the same week that the i celebrates its fifth birthday, resulting in London mayor Boris Johnson proclaiming "here's to the power of print!"

Marking the milestone in his Evening Standard column, Roy Greenslade hailed the "affordable and readable" i, alongside the Evening Standard, as "21st-century press experiments", which "illustrate the enduring strength of newsprint".

Sources: Media Week and Evening Standard

by Jessie Sampson 30/10/15

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