The Pairing of Old with New
Posted on September 05, 2016 | By Aoun Shaar

Aoun Shaar, Media Director, Initiative MENA talks to ArabAd about the health of the print industry and offers ways to boost that sector using digital tools.

Long live print. I prefer reading a paper as I believe it is more insightful and can retain information better than reading from a screen. Moreover, I tend to get more distracted when reading an electronic paper. It is easier to read and navigate printed content; it allows me to underline, fold and mark a paper, giving it an unusual feel.

Over the past decade, we have seen a blast in the amount of digital content, despite the drop in ad spending during the first half of the year by nine percent compared to last year. Print still accounts for 29 percent share of expenditure and top publication titles still have their loyal readers, which means print readership did not drop dramatically.

Marketers are using the power of digital on print with few techniques to track results and measure engagement from print to digital and vice versa. Previously, print ads were not linked to any sort of digital aspects, but today we can see QR codes, social media links, hashtags and augmented reality embedded into print artworks. This means our print materials are tracking engagement with consumers while also driving digital interaction. These are effective techniques to enrich print campaigns and make them more interactive to consumers. Most importantly, understanding the way consumers behave and even measure ROI, print and other traditional media are also becoming a way to extend and boost digital campaigns.

In my opinion, print isn’t dead. If you try to move your business exclusively to a digital platform, not only will your audience miss your advertising, you will also lose out on significant opportunities for growth, as each media (TV, print, radio) adds incremental reach. This, in turn, brings the right balance between various media platforms through integrated marketing campaigns, which will ensure a steady revenue flow, an increase in sales and potential for new customers.

In conclusion, this year the UAE government announced the declaration of 2016 as the UAE Reading Year, aiming to encourage people to read as it’s a basic skill everyone must have in order to build a culture of reading in an attempt to inherent it as part of people’s everyday lives. This project aims to encourage reading and protect the Arabic language, which would strengthen the print industry in general.