The consequences of demonetisation have begun to show on the print news industry. Recently a leading English-language newspaper notified employees that the worst is yet to come post demonetisation and they need to brace up to deal with the turbulent business scenario ahead.
Demonetisation has crashed an already declining market and no one can tell when conditions will improve. It could be a few months, or longer, notified the newspaper.
On the other hand, a prominent English newspaper from Eastern India, known for opinionated and hard-hitting headlines on the front page, is reportedly said to be initiating the process of laying off several employees. Apparently, the exercise will not remain restricted to the editorial. Speculations are rife that the layoffs will be an all-encompassing affair with employees in the marketing and HR department too facing the axe.
The newspaper has reduced the number of pages of the main paper from 20 to 12. It is not clear as to why such a step is being taken at this juncture. The publication was not registering profits since awhile now, however, demonetisation may have further aggravated the situation by putting a brake on the inflow of advertisements. The MD & CEO of the organisation stuck to “no comments” when questioned by exchange4media.
At another Hindi daily, founded shortly after partition and read primarily in Uttar Pradesh, the newspaper is employing moderate measures to contain costs. Since there is a general lack of business opportunities in the market, company officials are trying to reduce their travelling expenses. “Any short term measures (in terms of changing the product or treatment of employees) may not actually help,” the source explained.
It was mentioned that while the overall recruitment may have come down, professionals continue to leave and join the organisation with the entry of a few trainees recently. As a result of demonetisation, the number of advertisements has observed a slide but that has also led to a reduction in the production cost. “Extraordinarily lavish” pagination is being avoided as well.
The employees of an English newspaper with a right wing leaning have reportedly not received their last month’s salary till now. But a staffer claimed that it was a routine phenomenon since the salaries were released around the fifteenth of every month. “Salaries are going out every month but there is no fixed date. There is no backlog,” a top source said.
Since the concerned newspaper is not largely dependent on “retail advertising”, the business has not been much affected post-demonetisation. It derives its revenues mostly from government advertisements. But the performance of the business operations will be reviewed after three months to better understand the situation. If need be then cost cutting measures will be implemented, the source stated.