The International Newspaper Marketing Association (INMA), a leading global provider in best practices and marketing ideas for newspapers companies, conducted its first South Asia two-day conference in the Capital. The conference was to introduce INMA to India, and at the same time, to project India to rest of the world.
The conference began on a positive note with an assurance that newspapers in India are here to stay for some more time now. Unlike in the West where the industry is being considered as a setting sun, Indian newspapers still have a huge potential in terms of reach and thereby revenue.
According to Earl J Wilkinson, Executive Director, INMA, US, “We see a tremendous opportunity in India as there are 360,000,000 literate consumers who do not read newspapers. Only 0.34 per cent of India’s GDP is spent on advertisements, while the global norm is 1-2 per cent. Also, the influx of foreign capital in India is one of the prime reasons for the Indian print media to be happy about.” Wilkinson is the moderator for all the sessions of the conference.
Speaking on the topic ‘How to Unlock Value from the Newspaper Business’, Akhil Gupta, Senior Managing Partner and Chairman at Blackstone, which is an alternative investing company, provided a comparison between different media and their ad spends. He said that television ad spend in India was $1,372 billion, out of the total industry revenue of $4,302 billion in television. The ad spend by print was $1,558 billion, compared to an industry revenue of $3,128 billion, which indicates a bright future for the print industry. He added that GDP was not an indicator of ad spends, but private consumption of a product was the right indicator. Reach of TV is more than that of print, with TV at 54.4 per cent, and print at 36.6 per cent.
“Ad intensity in India is far too behind in media, as compared to that of the US. While in India it is 1.7 per cent, it is 5.6 per cent in the US. Contrary to perceptions, Hindi and vernacular media are reaching to audiences faster than their English counterpart, and as a result, ad spends will move from metropolitan cities to semi-urban cities,” Gupta explained.
Gupta added that television ad spend had increased significantly over the last two decades, and commanded 40-45 per cent of the advertising market. “Indian newspapers outperform most leading newspapers across the world. The trend in India would be to move from more regional to more pan-India presence because of fund flow due to FDIs and the country’s population. However, the challenges ahead are to build deep distribution network and product innovation, which would come through efficient use of technology and by offering better pricing. Investment in media is the highest, and I would say that there is enough headroom to invest more,” he concluded.