The print industry has died many deaths and its obituary has been written and re-written many times over the past few years.
The ABC has challenged popular belief that print media in the country is dying, by releasing data that shows that 2.37 crore newspaper copies were added in the last 10 years despite stiff competition from television and digital media, they have all been touted to state that ‘writing is on the wall’ ‘death is not too far’.
There are multiple reasons driving the growth of paid print in this country.First, over the past decades, there has been an increase in literacy levels in India (from 64.8 per cent in 2001 to 74 per cent in 2011) which has expanded the target market for the industry.
Second, the Indian economy is a rural economy with more than 65 per cent of India’s population residing in the rural areas. A paradigm shift is visible in rural population where there is a strong depth in language readership, particularly in Hindi, Marathi, Urdu, Gujarati, Malayalam, Tamil and Telugu among others over the past five decades as they become one of the most influential consumer groups with increased income levels and changing tastes and preferences.
Additionally, the coverage of local news by regional language newspapers has given circulation the much needed momentum to express the consumers’ grievances and aspirations. Regional focus has further resulted in hyper-localisation leading to multi- edition newspapers with supplements.
Lastly, Indian newspapers are priced significantly lower than their global counterparts to enable a wider reader base. Annual subscription for an average Indian newspaper is less than INR 1,000 which amounts to USD 15 (USD 1 = INR 67.)
As internet access expands and technology advances take place, traditional print players are also experimenting with these changes and co-exist with them both in the physical and digital space. The print media players are taking proactive steps to sustain their circulation revenue and prevent cannibalisation from the new avenues of news and information.
The author is theJoint Managing Director of Mathrubhumi Group
Disclaimer: The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not in any way represent the views of exchange4media.com