The 10+2 ad restriction has been a long drawn process in the broadcasting industry. The ad restriction will come into force in October 2013, with broadcasters agreeing to adhere to TRAI’s 10+2 ad cap. The ultimate aim of the ad cap is to enhance the quality of service for viewers.
Following this development, voices are being raised about a similar regulation of ads in print media. exchange4media speaks to a cross section of print players to find out whether such an ad restriction in print is viable and whether they would support such a move.
Talking to exchange4media, Girish Agarwal, Non-Executive Director, Dainik Bhaskar said, “Ad restrictions are there in television and radio and not in print because they have fixed timings. They cannot increase those 60 minutes to 65 minutes. They cannot make it from 24 hours to 25 hours. But in print, I can always increase from 24 pages to 42 pages. That’s the reason why such kind of limitation doesn’t arise in print. But we have self-imposed limitations, wherein we do not cross 29 per cent of the total space. So if you see our average, we have almost 29-30 per cent of the ratio of advertising to editorial.”
As is known, newspapers are mandated to carry an edit-ad ratio of 70:30, though it is not being strictly implemented.
Pankaj Belwaliar, Senior General Manager, Malayala Manorama remarked, “In newspapers, we have an ad-edit ratio that we strictly follow, but somehow there are newspapers that are not following the 70:30 ratio and are printing ads exceeding this ratio. There are newspapers that shift the ads to different pages or supplement editions in order to maintain the ratio.”
When asked whether Malayala Manorama would follow restrictions on ads, if such a move is introduced, Belwaliar replied, “Yes, I will follow such an ad cap because it brings about a clean image of the newspaper and will be user friendly for both advertisers and readers. But we will have to increase the ad rates to generate revenues.”
On the other hand, KK Goyenka, Managing Director, Prabhat Khabar feels the time is not right to increase ad rates as the newspaper industry is not performing that well. He said, “The current situation in print media doesn’t allow any ad regulations. I agree newspapers in metros get a good number of advertisements, but regional markets don’t get too many ads.”
Comparing the ad cap in television and print, he said, “Television viewers get irritated with the frequent ads, but newspaper readers have the option to flip the page or avoid the ads.”
Aritra Sarkar, Vice President, Strategy, ABP stressed, said, “There should be no such regulation for print as far as advertising is concerned. The cost structure of a newspaper is different. In case ad restrictions are introduced in print, then newspapers could go for alternate sources of revenues such as paid write-ups and sponsored advertising.”
He further said, “We don’t earn from our subscriptions as the cover price of the paper is very low; thus, 80 per cent of the revenue comes from advertisements.” He added that the cover price of newspapers is quite high abroad as compared to that in India, hence there is more content and less number of ads in the newspapers overseas.