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Wednesday, 19 February 2020

Are newspapers dying? And what does it mean for printing inks?

Thursday, 25 September 2014 | Posted by: Kirsten Wrede, European Coatings Journal

I like newspapers. Printed ones. I like touching the paper, turning real pages, cutting out articles, reading the paper at the breakfast table, on the train, or at the beach. I have always had a printed newspaper, and I hope it will be available for a long time to come.

Sometimes I feel like a dying breed. Almost comparable to writing picture postcards.

Probably my love for newspapers is related to my training in the editorial office of a local newspaper. Ever since, I have regarded it as normal to subscribe to a newspaper. But asking around among friends, colleagues, and relatives, I have come to realise: a great share of them do not read newspapers anymore. Some say there’s nothing newsworthy in them, the quality has suffered, you can find all you need to know on the internet, digital news sources are faster than conventional papers, there’s no time for reading, the subscription is too expensive, and so on.

To me this development is rather sad, even though I often make use of digital sources of information, too. Of course it’s comfortable to receive latest news on your smart phone 24 hours a day. And it’s nice to comment internet entries immediately. But still – I would truly miss "my” printed newspaper if it disappeared someday. It’s the same with printed magazines I like to buy and carry around with me.

Impact on the printing inks industry

It’s hardly surprising that this shift towards electronic media has an impact on the printing inks industry.

Only a few months ago, I learned from Sun Chemical that they see the biggest growth in the packaging sector and the biggest decline in printed publications when it comes to the use of printing inks.

"On a macro scale the continuing decline in the readership of "printed” materials, such as magazines and newspapers and the move to digital and online media, is having a significant impact,” says Board Member Felipe Mellado.

Diversified information channels

"However, it isn’t totally bleak for the publications sector, as brands seek to diversify their information across different channels and printed media companies are innovating, so that the consumer experience is available both on and offline,” he added, showing some confidence.

Dr. Ulf Neidlein, Vice President Business Management Resins and Additives Europe at BASF, has a similar perspective: "the printing industry is facing a paradigm shift, where the creation, distribution and retrieval of information has been subject to more profound changes in the recent years than in decades before. Paper as physical carrier for information has lost its dominant position to electronic media with smart phones, tablets and e-books as typical output devices.”

Luckily, the industry isn’t dependent on printed papers and magazines, but puts an ever growing focus on packaging materials. Do you think printed media will disappear completely in the end, and would that bother you?

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