The Difference Between Print Media & Broadcast Media

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Primary print media outlets include newspapers and magazines. Television and radio are the primary broadcast media. Collectively, these media categories form what are commonly referred to as traditional advertising media.

Print Media Basics

A major advantage of the print media is that their static nature allows for indefinite exposures. In theory, someone could study a beautiful magazine advertisement or read through interesting content for several minutes. That same reader could also come back to the ad several additional times, creating repeat exposures from one placement.

Other advantages of print media include:

  1. Audience selectivity - Magazines are often geared towards specific demographic and lifestyle based segments , whereas newspapers offer local companies a great way to reach communities.
  2. Flexible placements - With newspapers, you can have an ad placed within a day or two in some cases. Both print media also offer opportunities to use full color and to select ad spaces ranging from one-eighth of a page to a full page.
  3. Involved messages - Unlike broadcast media, which have to be quick-hitting, newspaper and magazine ads often include longer, more involved copy, according to Media Miser. Intrigued readers may stick with a full-page advertorial to get more familiar with the uses and benefits of products that interest them.

Broadcast Media Basics

A major difference with broadcast media, and a key disadvantage, is that the message is fleeting. After a TV or radio spot runs for 30 or 60 seconds, the message goes out of sight and out of sound. The success of the ad is based on each audience member's subconscious retention of the images and sounds. Because of this message structure, companies typically run many ads over a period of time to create a memorable and sustained impact.

Though TV and radio each have their own advantages and disadvantages, as broadcast media, they share some advantages relative to print, including:

  • Multi-sensory appeal - Though radio doesn't have a visual element, both radio and TV can offer ongoing dialogue and action and background sounds. These qualities enable potential high-impact story presentations that create emotional appeals.
  • Wide reach - Television offers a wide national audience reach, according to Media Miser, while radio allows small companies to affordably reach a wide local market. The ability to reach a large portion of a target audience benefits companies with a goal of increased awareness.


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