What are the characteristics of print media?

The print media are traditional magazines, newspapers or newspapers and even books and encyclopedias. The first two, the most common, are information and advertising media. They all go through an editing and printing process.

These printed means of communication are a legacy of antiquity, since millenary cultures disclosed their life, laws and customs in codices, papyri and even hieroglyphics.

The invention of the printing press was the step that modified the history of the printed media, history alludes to the German Friele Gensfleisch as inventor, better known as Johannes Gutenberg in the thirteenth century. However, recent studies have endeavored to determine if he is indeed the true inventor of this great advance.

These studies have found that the ancient Babylonians used stamps for printing on clay and that the Chinese, around the year 1040, used stamps on wood to print complete scrolls.

Curiously, of the newspapers with the highest circulation in the world, the first is Japanese, another 3 are in India, two in China and one in the United States. Which is most likely due to the population level of these countries.

The best-selling newspaper is the Japanese Yomiuri Shimbun, with 9.2 million copies a day. In America, the newspaper with the highest circulation is USA Today, third in the world in 2014 and 2015 with a daily average of 4.1 million copies

The printed media today face a process of reinvention in the face of their permanence, since social networks have made the flow of information almost instantaneous, increasingly leaving print media in the background.

Advantages and disadvantages of print media:

The print media have advantages and some disadvantages, more pronounced for advertisers and anyone who shows interest in disclosing information in them. Product of the significant advance that digital media, online marketing and social networks have had in recent years.

Some advantages:

  • They have great mobility
  • They keep an exhaustive order
  • They have a captive market and an assured readership
  • Its periodicity allows planning, maintaining and modifying strategies for a specific time.
  • In the case of magazines, they are specialized and there are as many as consumer tastes
  • The newspapers in their desire to remain, have reduced their publishing and broadcasting times to less than a day, even hours.

Certain disadvantages

  • They are expensive, compared to digital media
  • Print quality may be poor
  • Saturation of ads competing for editorial content
  • Place counts! and to gain visibility you have to invest more
  • Ad impact times are low, especially in newspapers
  • In the case of magazines there is strong competition

Characteristics of print media

They are specialized

Although the printed media reaches almost all social strata, there is a clear distinction regarding the agenda and type of reader of each publication.

For example, a tabloid or tabloid newspaper will surely not be taken into account by the executive interested in the movement of the stock market.

The specialization of print media is not limited to the type of reader, they also specialize according to the geographical scope. They disseminate information of interest to a municipality, a region or an entire country. Some even mark an explicit political trend, which is not healthy.

The specialization of print media is an advantage that allows you to orient or segment advertising efforts in an efficient way.

Mass circulation

Newspapers are the most common type of mass print media.

They can be delivered to homes or sold on newsstands and published daily or regularly throughout the week or month.

Newspapers have the advantage of providing both news and advertising quickly and tangibly.

Magazines provide on a weekly or periodic basis what newspapers cannot: extensive coverage and analysis of more specific topics or events, not just current news.

In most cases, the information that is shared in print media is a way to bring readers (and potential customers) closer to advertisements.


The print media should reach the hands of customers, ie people who read the material and respond to ads.

Newspaper delivery to homes – so traditional! it is what allows to fulfill this objective mainly. Mass delivery with the support of the mail is still another method.

Other methods of distribution of print media include door-to-door delivery of workplaces and businesses; the distribution in public places where many people gather: shops, sporting events, schools and even busy sidewalks.

Business brochures, real estate magazines and catalogs that are left on the cash registers of supermarkets and convenience stores can be useful as they are aimed directly at an audience of interest.

Production of print media

The production of print media involves one of two things: ink or toner. There is one of the most emblematic costs that digital media does not have.

Whether printing more than a million copies at a multi-million dollar press or 1,000 copies at a print shop copier, the goal of production should always be the same: to produce printed material that maintains a balance between quality and quality. price; as well as the message and the content.

It can be affirmed that the versatility and persistence of the printed communication media still allow clients, companies, advertisers, politicians, analysts or critics to have a wide mosaic of options in terms of production and dissemination of free information.