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Crain’s Chicago Business reports on a new report by Mediamark Research noting that while the median age of adults in the US has increased 1.3 years to 45.2 since spring 2004, “adult readers at the nearly 200 publications and publishing groups … saw their median age rise 1.6 years to 44. About 56% of the titles tracked … posted age increases higher than the general adult population's.”

This suggests is that print media has less influence with the general population – younger people are using digital media instead of print, middle aged people are peeling off and using online sources with greater frequency, and print publications increasingly are being read by a rapidly aging population.

KC's View:
Interesting that this story pops up a day after MNB offered Brookshire’s some constructive criticism about its print advertising efforts. (Brookshire’s responded to our comments, and you can read the email in Your Views.)

What this study really highlights is the need for targeted marketing, and why mass marketing campaigns are rapidly becoming a thing of the past. The people who are still reading print publications, while it is an aging and dwindling group, still have money to spend … and if you are marketing to those folks, using print is an entirely legitimate option. If you are targeting younger people firmly committed to online media, or the people who are part of the shift from print to digital, then you cannot be relying on old-world methods to appeal to new world consumers.

Anyone who would argue that print media – both in terms of editorial content and as an advertising medium – is as relevant today as it used to be simply isn’t paying attention.

I do have a bias in this. I’m in the online media business. I also believe what a friend of mine says, that “you shouldn't do what you can't measure.” It makes sense to me.

BTW … Crain’s notes that this is a constantly moving target, so you have to know who you are talking to and what vehicles are most appropriate. The publication points out that when American Idol started out, it had an average age of 32; today it is 44.

The “Big Sort” that Michael Sansolo wrote about above also is a continual re-sort.