Print communications sustainability study

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  • Current trends in print communications are shifting due to technological advancements and environmental pressures, combined with emerging alternate forms of mass communications. The goal of the study is to identify public perception of the convergence of this communication medium, and the long-term sustainability of the various sectors of the print communications industry. Additionally, the study will perform a cross comparison through various age demographics to try to determine if different generations have varying perceptions. The survey will focus on sustainability of print media, environmental issues and practices, emerging technologies and cross-synergies with traditional mediums, and public perceptions. A quantitative research design was chosen for the project as it lends itself towards the survey research strategies of a cross-sectional, fixed choice survey. An online and print survey was created to provide wide accessibility for participants. Attempts were made to sample approximately 300 individuals to find a good cross section that reflects the general perception on print communications within society. To achieve a balance to cross-examine, attempts were made to contact the same number of individuals from each of the three age demographics as identified within the survey. Data was captured using a commercial online survey tool and data was exported into data statistical mining software that has the tools capable of checking the data quality and complexity, elements necessary for good construct design and validity. Overall, the data results show minimal change between the age demographics. The analyzed results did produce significant differences for three questions. The main conclusions for print sustainability are: • Time sensitive print media such as newspapers may see a major shift or decline within the next 15 years. • The sign and promotions industry appears to be very stable and sustainable, with the possibility of future growth. • Magazines appeal to a wide audience, which includes the under 25 age category. This could provide future readers and consumers with print copies for years to come. • Books are still the preferred reading medium over E-technologies, but as future generations will be indentured using the E-technology, this could shift. • The print industry needs to raise awareness of the strides that it has made towards environmental protection. • Over 70% of the respondents have no, or limited, knowledge of the Forestry Stewardship Council certification process. The industry and the FSC must become better corporate citizens and do a better job of educating the public. • Almost 70% of participants feel strongly that there is much Green Rhetoric when it comes to the print industry. • Almost all the participants are familiar with the new digital technologies that compete with or complement traditional printing. • E-readers will not readily replace traditional printed books, but perhaps a generation from now this may need to be reevaluated. • Digital printing will remain as a complement to offset lithography as only 5% of the participants feel it will replace ink on paper. • Over 77% of respondents like reading print as opposed to electronic versions. The research did show that change within the print industry is inevitable, but the timeframe is uncertain. Even with upcoming digital technologies, people still have a close affinity with print, but reading preferences are diverse and no single media seems to capture all individuals within society.

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    Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 International