How Print Can Help Lead The Way Into The Digital Future

Posted: July 17, 2012 in Content, Curation, Digital Media, Innovation, News, Newspapers, Programming
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Today we launched the “TV On The Web” section of the USA Today Life Section.  And we did so in the printed newspaper first.

Sounds a bit backwards, you say?  Actually, it’s a great example of how various forms of media can compliment each other.  In this case, print has the advantage of being an effective curator of digital content.  There is so much digital content out there that our readers and digital users appreciate our efforts to curate that content and find the best of it for them.  And print is a very effective way to display that curated list. 

By limiting our presentation to what we can fit in one section of the paper, we easily demonstrate to our readers that we have used the scarcity of space in the paper to display the best of the content we find.  On digital platforms our list could be much longer, but on paper we are forced to live within the space we have.  It’s always harder to do anything in less space, and to make the choices we have to make to choose “only the best.”  But that makes it even more valuable to the reader, who knows he or she will get a lot for the small amount of time they have to devote to see the printed list in its entirety.

Print imposed the kind of limitations that force us to work harder for the reader.  And in the end, the consumer appreciates that we put in more work to do that for them. 

It is also much easier to do something new for a print reader, because they are already looking at the page and will notice something new and different.  On a digital platform, it is harder to draw someone to anything new because they tend to go to and get the pages they know to ask for. Image

So for us at USA Today, the printed newspaper is both an editorial product and a marketing platform for the innovations we are planning across all of our platforms.   We sell that platform to other advertisers, so it should come as no surprise that we can use it effectively ourselves to prove its continuing value.

Congrats to the team for getting our new TV on the Web listings launched today, along with the fantastic coverage of Web-based video we are launching in the Life Section news columns (See today’s story on Tom Hanks and Jerry Seinfeld’s efforts to create online-only TV shows). 

TV on the Web is getting big and deserves the kind of coverage we normally give to traditional television.  How cool is it that we launch that coverage in a newspaper!


  1. Diane Newman says:

    I love the synergy of all media! Very cool.

  2. vhagerty says:

    I have to wonder how many people actually go from reading something in a physical paper to visiting it online. If I’m any example, I can tell you the answer pretty quickly: Almost never. No doubt TV on the Web is a big deal. And, no doubt some company with big $s who wants to promote its show will take out an ad. But will it be effective, either for readers or advertisers? I guess we’ll see …

  3. Dave Newton says:

    Do you mean “complement?” Copy-editor, stat!

  4. Ange;a Epstein says:

    This is what I call thinking forward instead of sitting doing nothing and validating what some call the demise of the newspaper industry. I am happy to see newspapers moving with the pace of times!!

  5. Jim Olsen says:

    What an exciting perspective. e.g. the limited footprint of print makes it more valuable! Besides that, Interactive print (QR codes, Documobi, Digimarc, Aurasma, etc.) are making it easy to jump from print to the web with alacrity and not just for newspapers – all print. It appears that Mr. Gutenberg will be staying in the media mix for a long time to come.

  6. Kelly Day says:

    Love it Larry! I’ve told a bunch of people about it already! So happy to see mainstream media covering original web series.

  7. […] direct a reader online, with a call to action. Recently, it was brought to my attention that the USA Today launched a “TV on the Web” section in late July. The section below, directed readers online with links as well as QR codes to […]

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