Even though language newspapers are better placed than English papers in terms of readership and circulation, a large chuck of the advertising revenue pie goes to the latter. Advertising growth strategies for language newspapers and television came under the scanner at the INMA South Asia Conference, held in Mumbai on November 13-14.
impact, the weekly magazine on advertising, media and marketing, and Pitch, both from the exchange4media Group, were media partners for this event. exchange4media.com was the online partner.
The session on 'Building the Advertising Revenue Pie' saw speakers like Raj Nayak, CEO, NDTV Media Ltd; Amitabha Datta, President - Dailies, ABP Pvt Ltd; KRP Reddy, Director - Advertising & Marketing, Saakshi Telugu Daily. Moderator for the session was Benoy Roy Chowdhury, Executive Director, HT Media Ltd.
Starting the session, Roy Chowdhury pointed out, "18.6 per cent of Indians speak English, and according to the IRS, only 10 per cent of the total readership is English newspaper readership. However, 50 per cent of the ad revenue pie goes to English newspapers. Looking at customers' value – the reader value of English business newspapers to a newspaper company is about $5; reader value of English general interest newspapers is about $4."
According to Amitabha Datta, "It's the mindset or perception against language newspapers. Till today we see a difference when you look at the advertising revenue pie – English newspapers grab a large portion of advertising revenue pie, while a very small portion of that advertising pie goes to languages newspapers. Languages papers continue to suffer due to negative perception. Many language newspapers have realised this and have launched awareness drives for the media people."
He further said, "However, a lot still remains to be done to change the perception towards language newspapers. We need to believe that there is a market out there for language newspapers. The challenge is to create the right structure, infrastructure and so on. Language newspapers have a much better local connect, and the content is more customer-centric. This fact needs to be highlighted."
KRP Reddy pointed out, "The newspapers industry in India is very different as compared to other businesses, because revenue from the sale of product is negligible and the major source of revenue comes from advertisers. Hence, it is crucial for the newspaper management to evolve, innovate and diversify its strategies to increase the share of total advertising revenue pie."
Speaking on Saakshi Telugu Daily, Reddy said, "We had launched Saakshi Telugu Daily on March 23. There are 23 editions. Launching the daily was easy, but it has been difficult to convince the media people about its circulation."
He added, "In the absence of currency, we have to focus our attention on local to local business and have tried various ways to gain an adequate advertising revenue pie, such as allowing personal ads, political ads, and religious ads in the newspaper in a big way. This has received a huge response."
Raj Nayak observed, "Whatever I have learnt, I have learnt from print. It has been said that language newspapers deliver more eyeballs, therefore, they should get a bigger share of the advertising revenue pie, but it is not happening. However, as far as the television medium is concerned, the situation is the reverse. Language plays an important role when it comes to the television medium in terms of viewership or the advertising revenue pie."
Explaining further, he said, "In the television medium, we have limitations of time, however, in print we can increase the number of pages if we wish to have more ads. In terms of content and monetisation, television is more aggressive and dynamic and, therefore, they are able to get more money."