Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, while presenting the Union Budget for fiscal 2009-10 in the Lok Sabha on July 6, had said, “The stimulus package given in February this year has been extended from June 30 to December 31 this year, since the print media is still passing through difficult times.”
exchange4media spoke to some print players to find out what they felt about the Budget announcements for the print industry.
Reacting to the extension of the stimulus package, Ravi Dhariwal, CEO, BCCL, said, “The issue that the industry has is that the DAVP rates are way below. We are forced to take them as there is no other option. The DAVP rates should be linked to the rest of the market. The extension of the stimulus package, which is till December 31, will hopefully buy us some time till the new committee for ads comes into form. Only if the ad rates are revised and linked to the rest of the market rates would the government ads be worthwhile for the print industry.”
On a similar vein, KU Rao, CEO, DNA, said, “This extension is just a continuation of what the Government had offered earlier. What needs to be addressed and changed is that the Government must take a stand and look at a change in the policy. They need to be linked to the cost structures otherwise we will continue to bleed.”
Sanjay Gupta, CEO, Dainik Jagran, opined, “This extension is not at all enough, our demands are much more, but I feel any help is good help. It was nice of the Finance Minister to include this in the Budget.”
Bahubali S Shah, MD & Editor, Gujarat Samachar, too felt that this extension was not enough. He said, “For the last one year, there has been a lot of shortfall in advertisements. It is very important that DAVP should increase their ad rates and bring it to a commercial level. What they are paying right now is the home rates, since last year some increase has happened, but it is not enough.”
Adding to that Jacob Mathew, Executive Editor, Malayala Manorama, said, “What I could gather so far regarding the stimulus package for the print media was only regarding the extension of the DAVP benefit (waiver of 15 per cent agency commission on DAVP advertisements and a 10 per cent increase in the DAVP rates to be paid as a ‘special relief’ subject to documentary proof of loss of revenue of non-governmental revenues), which is being extended for another six months. This will benefit only to a small extent, but nothing significant when the print media is going through turmoil. What we need is the VAT on newsprint to be reduced to a uniform level, which right now is a State subject.”
It may be recalled that in February this year, the print media was given a stimulus package comprising waiver of 15 per cent agency commission on DAVP advertisements and a 10 per cent increase in the DAVP rates to be paid as special relief subject to documentary proof of loss of revenue in non-governmental advertisements.