iPads are everywhere, but data from three publication groups indicate that it's still too soon for publishers to ditch print for pixel-only publications.
Kantar Media, for example, found that even though younger doctors are more inclined to seek out digital journals, they still appreciate the print edition of the current journal. According to Kantar, the digital divide shakes out as follows: 90% of doctors read print journals and 40% rely on print and digital. In terms of single channel readership, Kantar said 50% of doctors were print-only and just 8% rely solely on digital editions.
This print-digital mix syncs with the wider publishing world. Research by the UK-based Professional Publisher's Association predicts a rise in digital magazine use but notes that 96% of tablet owners read a printed publication last year, beating the national average of 80%. PPA's head of research said in a statement that the numbers “suggest that digital editions are reinvigorating the appetite for magazine media,” and that tablet and print publications “appear to be working in combination to expand consumers' reading repertoire.”
The desire for print is not limited to journals and magazines. Communications and research firm CMI/Compas found that direct-marketing materials is one of the top ways primary care physicians want to get their drug information—beating out e-detailing, faxes, podcasts, and text messages. Direct mail was bested only by email.
These findings are an endorsement for print, but none encourage publishers to slow digital development. Kantar noted that key opinion leaders are among the heaviest digital users, with twice the tablet use and two-thirds greater web readership than other medical professionals. Similarly, Kantar found that while family medicine, dermatology and pulmonology were the top print readers, infectious disease specialists, general surgeons and allergists leaned heavily on digital.