Long-form content not quite past its sell-by date

A recent posting on the iMedia website on “What the decline of print means for digital”, suggested that the printed news format (if we are to believe research amongst 58 major US marketers) is in for an even more torrid time. The new research says that (surprise, surprise) “visual information” is on the rise and articles, columns and long-form content, to name but three, are on the decline.

This may be largely a US phenomenon because there are still examples in the Irish market where must-read columnists, long opinion pieces and in-depth analysis are the ingredients that still attract a strong core of influential print readers. The Irish Times, Irish Independent and Sunday Times, are all cases in point. But the one that really contradicts the received wisdom that ‘long-form content’ and ‘columns’ are dead is the Sunday Independent.

The late and great Aengus Fanning, who edited the paper for 28 years, always managed to defy conventions on so many fronts and ‘digital conventions’ are no different. The Sunday Independent was and continues to be a success built on a formula of personality, opinion and comment, spiced up with a large mix of glamour and gossip.

Aengus and his editorial team have established a unique print-based formula that has engendered as much loathing as it has an avid following. But whatever one’s position, it still has that unmissable draw that many media owners lose sight of at their peril.

Yes, press and print output may be literally flat and two-dimensional but the Sunday Independent and indeed a few other Irish newspapers and magazines are proof that the medium, metaphorically at least, doesn’t have to fall into the same trap.

Peter McPartlin – Strategic Director

*Image courtesy of user somadjinn at www.sxc.hu

As always, if you have any opinions- supporting or conflicting- on this post or related matters we’d love to hear from you, so please feel free to post replies below.

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