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Print is alive and here to stay

For decades we have been bombarded by messages that the print industry is dying. As digital media was introduced and gained popularity, the common belief was that print would soon become obsolete.

Digital may grab a piece of the pie in terms of newspaper and magazines but we forget that print is actually everywhere, in every school, shop, and shelf, and Novus Holdings, previously known as the Paarl Media Group, helps to put it there.

Print manufacturing is not limited to newspapers and magazines but includes printing of retail inserts, catalogues, books, commercial work, labels, print-on-packaging, educational materials, security printing (such as ballot papers and examination papers), as well as digital printing and manufacturing of tissue products.

The power of the printed word 

The rise of online newspapers and magazines may have contributed to a decline in sales of printed versions, with digital applications such as Kindle offering faster delivery of books and news media breaking online faster.

“However, despite the popularity of digital in the fast-paced online world, printed word has kept a reputation for producing titles of true quality and with higher credibility,” says Keith Vroon, Chief Executive Officer of Novus Holdings.

Print material is also more effective in marketing campaigns than its digital counterparts. Marketers still find that supplements and brochures, either delivered with a printed newspaper or available in-store, are preferred by customers (who could just as easily check specials using a smartphone).

This preference is backed by science. Studies show that paper-based ads are better able to connect with our brains and that there is actually an emotional response to having a hard copy printed ad, something the brain defines as real, which does not happen with digital marketing materials.

Vroon adds; “Despite the rise in digital books, free apps, and go-anywhere tablets, print persists. As we discovered in our own survey in 2014, parents still prefer to read traditionally printed books to their children, rather than by the artificial light of an electronic device. As at least one respondent mentioned, the nightly story time ritual is a childhood memory for most of us. Digital devices will not change that.”

Diversification in the print industry 

Print manufacturing is more than books, magazines, and newspapers; by diversifying its competencies, Novus Holdings have continued to stay relevant. In 2014, through the acquisition of Correll Tissue, they have harnessed the waste paper produced during print operations and expanded into tissue product manufacturing.

The Group also produces labels and wraparounds for the upper and top end food, wine, beverage (beer and carbonated soft drinks), cosmetics, and petrochemical markets.

Advancing literacy 

Print trends in other parts of the world are quite different to those within Africa, especially compared to Europe and the USA where digital and television dominates print communication. Issues in developing markets, such as literacy, education, and democracy, have resulted in an increased demand for printed products.

“Paper manufacturing has a significant impact on literacy throughout Africa and we are proud to play such a critical role in its development by producing and distributing educational materials throughout the continent. Through written materials including text books, newspapers, reading books, posters, brochures and leaflets, the rest of Africa have access to information, encouraging  literacy,” says Vroon.

Print persists because of its relevance to the continent, its positive reputation, effectiveness, and emotional appeal.

Vroon concludes, “As an industry we have thrived because of our personal printing service, core competencies and diversification. If our continued success at Novus Holdings is anything to go by, the print industry will continue to flourish for many more decades.”