Ever wonder what Johannes Gutenberg (the founding father of the Print Media Industry and inventor of the first disruptive media technology) would think about Digital Technologies? The fact is you probably didn’t wonder and possibly never heard of Mr. Johannes Gutenberg from Mainz in southern Germany.
Anyway, Johannes invented the Gutenberg Press way back sometime between 1436-1440. His moveable type and printing press enabled print to be produced in large volume. The revolution began. He was a bearded Print Super Star.
The printing press sent a Tsunami of rapid development in the sciences, the arts and religion. It also changed education forever and brought the printed word to the masses. Johannes was a hero, a legend, the first media disruptor known to man!
Flash forward 577 years and here I am blogging about someone not many people know about. The thing is, Johannes’ footprints are everywhere! The mark he left is so deep rooted and has been so influential that many would say the Gutenberg Press had a bigger impact on society than the Internet. Its a matter of opinion really.
We all know the impact the internet has had on the print media industry but reverse that question for a moment, what impact has the print media industry had on the digital landscape?
Stop the Press
I have had the privilege of screaming this out at the top of my voice several times and it felt so good, every time! The thing is, digital technologies have stopped many a press over the past few years. The same presses ground to a halt and simply just dried up.
Unfortunately these Printing Presses relied on the Boom Town property brochures, the financial Institutes weekly publications, the Business Annual Reports and so much more. They failed to see that these same publications were slipping into the digital landscape.
Why Newspapers Are Failing
The inked up newspapers were folding, if you would excuse the pun, and finding their place digitally and sending the newspaper industry in crisis.They reinvented the way we as a society seek news as a real-time requirement. They were creating brand new niches encompassing both the print publications and digital media. Newspapers were on the fast track from the beginning to going digital and that greatly contributed to the death of the newspaper.
Recent declines in newspaper circulation are due in part to Print now feeding the ravenous online monster’s insatiable “content heavy” appetite. Was this the Print world influencing digital media playing on our appetite to read?(just a little?).
The Empire Strikes Back!
With the bit between the teeth (you see what I did there – bit, megabyte, gigabyte – brilliant), the Print Industry fought back. It embraced the digital landscape and shook it violently.
This new Digital Kid wasn’t gonna be the only show in town. Leaders in the Print World began to understand that to survive this new era in media it must go through rebirth and come back as Digital Native. Many companies are now born again Printers.
They preach of Digital Gods, miracles with Augmented Reality in the form of printed interactive newspapers, 3D Printing, Interactive QR Codes and of course Web2Print (ordering business cards etc from your iPad whilst watching reruns of Glenroe).
The Print Industry has woken up and is digging itself out of the sand. It’s audience is no longer confined to a Local base but the power of the Digital Gods have enabled print companies to reach and feed Global demand in this new ‘Glocal’ environment.
So what about Johannes?
Johannes can now rest with ease knowing that the printed word has now adapted to the digital landscape. His footsteps can be heard in every print room late at night, his finger prints can be seen on every page that’s turned. His passion resonates in our voices as we read to our little ones before they dream.
His vision helps us turn every printed page with curiosity, whilst his determination makes it hard for us to stop reading even when our eyes tire. His legacy has enabled us to jump from the printed page and swim in the Digital Ocean. Nice one Johannes!
So when someone says to you – “Digital Technology is Killing the Print Industry”, you’ll know what to say, you just will!