What does the death of mX mean for print communications?

No longer will you snort inappropriately on your train home at some laughable tid-bit in Melbourne’s commuter paper, mX. On Friday 12 June 2015, mX printed its last edition. In the contest for eyeballs on Melbourne’s public transport, commentators have decreed our smart phones won out against the free afternoon newspaper, handed out across CBD stations since 2001.

So is this the beginning of the end for print communications? I’m guessing probably not.

Like most new media before it – the book, the radio or the television – technological leaps in communications have simply meant we use old media differently, at different times and in different ways to what we did before.

TV didn’t kill the radio star. (John Faine or Kyle Sandilands, case in point). And the Internet and mobile are not exactly going to kill print.

Ellis Jones is continuing to work with our clients to produce compelling design for print – advertising, direct mail, posters and the like.

The requests for this work keep coming and we don’t hesitate to recommend print when it’s the best way to reach a target audience.

In a world of ubiquitous digital information, something tangible, in print, is sometimes the best way to stand out.

People will generally consider a printed event invitation with more gravitas than an e-invite. It can inspire FOMO (fear of missing out) just by virtue of being in hard-copy, telling you to treat the opportunity as important. It stands out above the crowd, speaks above the noise.

A direct mail piece, distributed through a trusted network (potentially by hand if the group is highly localised — through their workplace, their home, at a conference or at a playground) can have more impact with the intended audience than a social media post. Not always is it more expensive to achieve results in this way, depending on the effort involved to achieve the same effect through a more distant medium, busy with so many other things vying for people’s attention.

What matters here is picking the medium that is fit for purpose, audience and message – when a person is in the right frame of mind. And then using that medium creatively.

Out in the media landscape, we are already starting to see examples of this happening with the reinvention of The Saturday Paper. Cleverly capitalising on the feeling of downtime that comes with a Saturday morning coffee while pouring over opinions and facts in a physical paper. Away from the tablet or phone so often associated with work’s daily grind.

So no more getting your gossip fix from mX’s colourful pages. But my bet is we will still be needing the printed page for a long while yet.

Talk to us about creative ways to communicate: in print, digital and beyond.

Image credit: Steve Webster