Jim Chisholm likes the old-fashioned feel of thumbing through a printed newspaper.

And despite the trend to digital everything, the European-based consultant and analyst urged participants in the 82nd INMA World Congress not to give up on the printed medium. Rather, he said, they need to do a better job capitalising on print’s position in the media value chain.

“I think we’ve forgotten what brands are,” he told the Los Angeles audience.

Print is going to fund the industry into the future, but there also needs to be a linkage between print and digital media, he said. Both can be successful if media outlets figure out how to best use both platforms to market each other.

Newspapers have forgotten how to “get out there and brand our medium with confidence,” Chisholm said. He added that newspapers are failing to exploit the Internet boom.

“We can show what happens if we add digital and newspaper media,” he said.

In any given month, print delivers more than 50 times the audience impact of newspapers’ Web sites, Chisholm said. For every 2.64 print readers daily, there are 1.28 digital readers. While a newspaper gets the equivalent of 16 visits per consumer per month, a newspaper Web site gets just 6.12. Print readers view 36 pages per visit compared to 3.46 Web pages online.

But perhaps the most telling number is how many newspaper pages per month consumers see on average. For print, that number is 1,521. For digital — 27.

So even though the trend in print is down and the trend in digital up, for now consumers worldwide still prefer the print product, he concluded. That does not argue a strategy of abandoning or shifting wholesale from print to online media. It does argues a strategy for using the print product to push consumers to the digital product — essentially creating internal cross-promotion.

In the end, outlets need to stop shedding staff in core content and revenue-generating areas, Chisholm said.

“We need to stop firing creative people,” he said, following it up with a joke: “What’s wrong with that is they go into consultancy and compete with me.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xZNGeWRcC8A