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The State Of Print Monitoring With Meltwater

Wesley Mathew

Jan 18, 2024

The future of print has been mulled, pondered and agonized over for centuries. Ever since the first printing press was built in Gutenberg in around 1440, daily newsletters appeared all over Europe and as the printing press spread, new publications appeared. The first traditional weekly newspaper in the UK, The Daily Courant, appeared in 1702 and journalism, as we know it, was born.

You see, the news has always relied on technological advancement. As printing improved, we printed more, more often, and spread it further. Entering the digital age, online news disrupted the print medium, in the same way the printing press dislodged the monks and scholars responsible for creating text material by hand.

And now, as the internet advances at breakneck speed, social media continues to develop and advances like artificial intelligence push the potential of news further. For those of us who work in media, we can see the changes developing on a daily basis. We've learned to adapt, pivot and change tact, just like those 15th century monks. 

But, contrary to popular belief, print media is very much alive which in turns means so is print monitoring. Millions of newspaper and magazine titles are still in circulation globally, with approximately half a billion copies distributed annually

While it’s undeniable that in the digital age, online and social media usage is higher than ever before. However, print media continues to be an influential force in its own right and it still forms an important part of a holistic media strategy for most organisations. We are living in a hybrid media age.

In 2020, the global print monitoring market was worth an estimated $115 million and is set to continue growing. It can be a real challenge to keep on top of print content. While technology has advanced for print tracking on large publications, specialist and local titles are often only accessible in print form, requiring old clipping methods.

With news cycles moving at a fast pace, your brand doesn’t need to be playing catch up. For many industries, a large portion of their relevant media is exclusively in print too, in the form of trade publications, local news and magazines. It's important to be able to capture all mentions, in one place. This is where print monitoring comes in.

Tip: Take a look at the most popular US magazines, the largest US newspapers, and the state of print media in South Africa.

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Reading Tip: Take a look at the largest US newspapers

What Is Print Monitoring (Software)?

Before the age of online news and social media, media monitoring was all about tracking print media for mentions of your brand, products and services. Electronic media monitoring tracks mentions for your brand as well as keywords including your products and services but also increasingly your industry, competitors and trends. The idea of media monitoring is that you're notified as soon as any relevant news breaks. Our software incorporates artificial intelligence (AI) to help sift and filter through these mentions, bringing you the news as it happens, in all its forms, along side social media.

At Meltwater, we have a comprehensive suite of media intelligence and analysis to bring you the latest insights in your inbox, be it the coverage itself in print or online, or our analysis on your content.

Much like a paywall erected on some of your favourite news sites, print media has now evolved to become a publisher of exclusive content that you can’t easily find online. With digital sources, a reader can become overwhelmed by the various media types (text, audio and video) that are constantly being shared with them. Digital has become standard in a sense, while print has evolved into an experience with a niche readership, curating clear-cut audiences on a large scale.

Print has often acted as a safer space, away from the blur of "fake news" over the past few years. Many consumers view traditional print media as more reliable, produced at considerable cost, and under constant audit by regulators. While this might not stop your friends and family from sharing the latest conspiracy theory on Facebook or Whatsapp-ing you chain messages that hold no credibility, it does speak to the sense of trust that consumers have in newspapers, magazines and journals.

Photo of a pile of newspapers

So, What Is Changing in the Print Monitoring Field?

If we go back a few decades, print monitoring looked like this: PR and comms teams often sat in workrooms collecting print cut-outs, pasting them into workbooks to be scanned, analysed and reported on. Now, print is scanned by computers, looking for keywords and phrases, easily scanned in and delivered to your media monitoring suite in PDF form, alongside all other media. It's safe to say the print environment has changed drastically.

How Print Monitoring Is Done Now

Digitalisation has made it easier to aggregate, analyse and tabulate for valuable insights that pros can present to their executive team and other stakeholders. And, it's far more cost-effective. Copies of news clippings are compiled almost instantaneously and organised accordingly. 

Full-text clips are captured and stored in a digital format that is searchable on any device. Circulation data is also recorded to gain a better understanding of the level of audience reach, all managed from one centralised tool.

Clips can be customised according to country, region, language, publication date, and format, among other metrics, giving greater insight into publishing activity and reader interest. To collect this data, Meltwater partners with regional print providers and pulls their data into their platform using an API. The main sources tracked include newspapers, magazines, trade journals and newsletters.

Open magazines stacked on top of each other

Why Choose Meltwater for Print Monitoring?

Staying on top of all the latest industry trends has never been easier with Meltwater’s print monitoring tools and software. Very few organisations have the time or luxury to sit down a team, search for printed newspapers, cut clippings, highlight keywords, and organise them for analysis or future reference but as a Meltwater user, the process is entirely streamlined and digitised for you. Plus, it's easier to share your findings across your team.

In addition, our easy-to-use platform helps your brand connect with the best journalists and influencers, in your network and beyond, to help you initiate the right kind of conversations and partnerships. We have over 30,000 satisfied customers to back up our claims.

We’re not just about print monitoring but are an all-inclusive media intelligence provider. PR, marketing and communications professionals can streamline media monitoring (online and print), detailed influencer metrics, and integrate social understanding, in real-time, using our platform. There‘s no need to use multiple tools to track all your mentions.

One success story that makes use of our print monitoring tools is Guinness World Records. Using Meltwater’s all-in-one media intelligence tools, which included online and print monitoring, they were able to connect with social media influencers and traditional news outlets much easier.

How To Get Started With Print Monitoring

Meltwater’s print partners are well-vetted and can be either locally, regionally or globally located. This means that all our data and insights are top-notch, trusted, and reliable. 

Witness the sheer power of AI-backed insights by requesting a demo of our media monitoring software. Get to see the value of your earned media and return on investment. This information is also available via our mobile app, giving you easy access to brand conversations on the go.