Custom-fitted luxury

The media industry has faced radical changes in recent years. Busy lifestyles and digitalization have paved the way for new players in the field.  But paper still holds its own as a user interface.

Excellent printing quality, high-resolution images, and carefully planned content make for a special experience that is hard to surpass.

Reports of the death of print media are greatly exaggerated, at least if you are to believe Jyrki Rehumäki, the director of Finnish media house A-lehdet. And with more than two decades of experience of various aspects of the media under his belt, he is a man you should listen to when it comes to media.

“Despite recent advances in digitalization, paper is in a league of its own as a user interface. Excellent printing quality, high-resolution images, and carefully planned content make for a special experience that is hard to surpass. This goes for both magazines and books,” says Rehumäki.

According to him, the crisis experienced by the print-media sector has opened doors to the media market for enterprises that are not traditional media houses.

Digitalization and changes in consumer behavior have led A-lehdet to assess its operations from a new perspective. While keeping abreast of current issues is essential, one must also anticipate future developments, he explains.

At the heart of operations, the customer

“A-lehdet’s strategy places the customer at the very heart of the operation,” says Rehumäki. He describes a new approach: “In the past, our strategy was to create new products and then find customers for them. Now, the process is reversed. Thanks to digital technology, we can keep tabs on consumers’ media use and buying habits. The huge quantity of data available to us allows us to analyze what works and what doesn’t.”

The future of print media is difficult to predict, but some trends can be identified already. Rehumäki estimates that in 20 years’ time, we will see print material that we cannot even imagine today.

“In 2040, magazines will offer experiences that are totally different from what we are used to. While still recognizable as print media, they will incorporate moving images, tactile features, and even fragrances and flavors. The customized product is designed to meet each consumer’s needs and preferences. Its physical form will be a kind of packaged version of the current format,” he predicts.

Advances require knowing the past and making informed attempts to foresee the future. One thing is certain: the print media will have to adapt to volatile market conditions and changes to trends.

“In the U.S., there are several publications that started life as digital products but later made a transition to paper format. Print solutions will experience a comeback as a trendy choice, with emphasis on high-quality products and discerning customers. Targeting will be a central phenomenon, brought about by digitalization and an improved understanding of consumer behavior,” concludes Rehumäki.