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At 4.87% CAGR, too early to write off print: ABC

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At 4.87% CAGR, too early to write off print: ABC

With the print media growing at 4.87 per cent CAGR over a 10-year period, there is no competition between print and digital media, Audit Bureau of Circulation (ABC) members said while speaking at an ABC event on Monday. Both complement each other, they insisted and said that there is space for all mediums in the market.

“We were asked the same question when TV started in India. I think all these mediums will co-exist in the market. Also, let us understand that the digital growth is happening on the back of free access. Once it becomes paid, what will be the number going forward?” asked Girish Agarwal, Director, Dainik Bhaskar.

However, the delegates said that newspapers have recognised the relevance of the digital platform in bringing news through the day, and hence, are investing in the format.

Sandip Tarkas, ex- Future Group; Devendra Darda, Managing Director, Lokmat; I Venkat, Director, Eenadu and Chairman ABC; Girish Agarwal, Director, Dainik Bhaskar; Shailesh Gupta, Director, Dainik Jagran; and Shashidhar Sinha, CEO, IPG Mediabrands were present at the event.

The panellists projected a similar growth percentage for the print industry for the next 10 years. As per ABC, 2.37 crore copies were added in the last 10 years, accompanied by an increase of 251 publishing centres. India has great potential and the print industry is going nowhere for the next 10 years at least, said the panelists. Tarkas reiterated this point: “Print is here to stay for a while, for another 10 years at least.” According to KPMG FICCI Report 2017 as well, the print market registered a 7 per cent growth in 2016, amounting to Rs 303.3 billion.

Meanwhile, it needs mention that ABC certifies circulation figures of its member publications every six months i.e. for the audit periods January-June and July-December. Most member publications certified by ABC (across various languages) have shown a positive increasing trend during this period. ABC attributes this growth to increased literacy, urbanisation, competitive pricing, easy accessibility, customized sections and pullouts catering to various segments of readers together with localized content and a strong tradition to buy newspapers. 

Regional publications, too, show a lot of promise, ABC members said, with Telegu publications registering the second highest growth of 8.28 per cent in CAGR over the course of 10 years from 2006 to 2016. Hindi publications witnessed the maximum growth of 8.76 per cent CAGR for the same period with news daily Dainik Jagran being the top publication, followed by Dainik Bhaskar for the period between July and December 2016.  English publications managed 2.87 per cent growth with Times of India becoming the third most circulated newspaper. 

As regards disparity in ad rates between the English and regional newspapers, the members assured that the shift had started happening in the last 10 years and that there was potential sitting in states like Assam and Kerala. Venkat pointed out, “Today, for some of the languages, rates are almost on a par with English newspapers.”


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