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August 30th, 2012

Laughing all the way to the digital newsstand

Laughing all the way to the digital newsstand

After a 75-year run in print publication, The Dandy comic has finally been pressed to the limit. Publisher DC Thomson has announced that the comic will be evolving from a print edition to an online, tablet-ready format.  The last printed edition will appear on 4 December 2012, coinciding with the comic’s 75th anniversary.

I grew up reading Desperate Dan and Bananaman in The Dandy. I was also an avid reader of The Beano). And now that I work as a PR and digital communications professional (and not as the veterinarian or paleontologist that the eight year-old me had planned) I have cause to pause and reflect on the state of modern media consumption.

In the 1950s The Dandy had a circulation of over two million, but that has now plummeted to a distinctly unfunny 8,000. So how can publishers and media producers adapt to such change?  Well, by exploring and innovating, by trying new formats, and by testing digital campaigns to see how brands, advertisers and consumers want to interact over the web, mobile media and tablets.

As consumers we have all changed.  For example, from my viewpoint in media relations and PR, I have witnessed huge changes in what clients think of print coverage compared to digital coverage. Far from being the poorer cousin of print, digital coverage is now regarded as easier to share, to use across different  channels, and to drive more immediate calls to action.

To me, DC Thomson’s announcement is not so much about The Dandy’s demise but more about a new beginning.  The Dandy already introduced its iPad app earlier this year, no doubt due to internal anticipation of the printing press closing shop, as well as in response to the exponential growth of mobile device media consumption among youth and young adults. Just like its legions of readers, the comic is looking forward, not back.

So here’s to The Dandy – being alive and well on the digital newsstand for another 75 years to come.

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Posted in Communications consultancy opinion, Hazel Butters: Opinion, Innovation, Media, PR Practices, Technology | Comments Off on Laughing all the way to the digital newsstand