The launch of DNA in Bangalore amid times of economic slowdown, when quite a few publications have shelved their expansion plans, has surprised many in the print industry. However, buoyed by a revenue growth of 45 per cent in 2008, DNA is unperturbed and is looking to strengthening and stabilising its current editions in 2009.
Speaking on the economic slowdown, KU Rao, CEO, Diligent Media Corporation Ltd, said, “The so-called slowdown or recession is just started. If you go back, the print industry did very well for the period April to October. The print businesses in this period were excellent. DNA itself grew by 45 per cent in terms of revenues. It is only from November that the slowdown has actually commenced and has impacted the print industry. The published results of all companies, whether it is Hindustan Times or Deccan Chronicle or The Times of India, have been good, and similarly, DNA has also done quite well.”
He further said, “The slowdown is only being experienced in November and December, and this could be largely due to our panic situation on a corpus stock market. But I don’t think this is something that is going to last for too long. I think once the market begins to stabilise, the sentiment would be more positive and the industry will return to its growth phase. Even now, the economy is still growing by 7 per cent as per Government estimates. Therefore, there are no reasons to worry. I still don’t think that the growth story is disappearing. It is not a time to panic at all, but it is a time for the media industry to be very cost conscious. The media industry must learn from other sectors, like FMCG, oil industry, the consumer durables industry, which are always run as very tight businesses. The media industry tends to get over excited and thus, build the cost into the system. It is a time to take care of all these costs.”
Since its inception in 2005, DNA has expanded to six editions across India that includes Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Surat, Pune, Jaipur and its latest edition in Bangalore, which was on December 14. Speaking on the road ahead, Rao said, “In 2009, the intention is to stabilise and strengthen the current editions before we expand in any other cities. I think we have achieved what we call critical mass.”