While globally newspapers have made the move to digital to maintain their relevance to readers, the Indian newspaper industry is now beginning to make its presence felt in the digital domain, albeit gradually. Most of the newspaper groups in the country now keep aside a large chunk of their marketing budget for digital operations. But does well-marketed digital property really help? Manajit Ghoshal, MD & CEO, Mid-Day Infomedia, shares a different perspective on this with exchange4media.
In recent years, several media companies have spent a huge part of their marketing budget to accelerate their digital presence. “They did see good vertical spike, but the moment they stopped spending money, they started crashing back,” noted Ghoshal. He added that Mid-Day had been using various media tools to attract readers on their website and had achieved 20 million page views during 2010.
Interestingly, the group asserted that it did not spend even a single penny on marketing, despite having a good share of the marketing budget available for digital. Explaining how this was achieved, Ghoshal said, “Driving traffic from newspaper to website and vice versa has really helped us. Also, the fact that we could use lot of social networking websites to divert the traffic to our website.”
The tie-ups with competitor websites have also helped the group to attract readers. When asked whether there was a danger of diversion of traffic from one website to another, Ghoshal replied, “Certainly there is a risk. But, if you do it in the right spirit, it helps. It is all about mutual understanding.”
On the debate over the Unique Visitors (UVs) versus Page Views, Ghoshal believed that the Indian digital market was still not mature to adopt the UVs or Time Spent on website. “The advertiser fraternity looks at page views,” he remarked.
Newspaper groups who land on the digital domain face the common problem of monetisation. While globally, there are examples of well monetised websites, in India, these are very few. Ghoshal claimed, “We have been able to generate Rs 3.5 crore per annum from our website. For this year, our target is to generate around Rs 7 crore.”
Meanwhile, Mid-Day is also planning some special content for 2011. As Ghoshal informed, “We plan to make the website more ‘tabloidy’ and newsy in coming years.”