Some of the fundamentals that have built up the newspaper business over the years are an opulent population, urbanisation and growing literacy rate.
At the same time, advertising has remained way below its potential because of poor penetration of advertising in Tier II and Tier III cities. All these factors exist today and will continue to exist even over the next few years, felt Ravi Dhariwal, President, INMA South Asia and CEO, The Times of India.
Talking about the potential of non-metro cities, Dhariwal noted, “Tier II and III cities are developing fast. In fact, every publisher there is growing with double digits. We are very strong brands, each one of us, and we can easily become multimedia brands.”
He further said, “Somewhere down the line we have to remind ourselves that publishing is a business. We all make sure that our readership and ad revenue grow, but we also need to consistently remind ourselves that we are at the forefront of change. Newspapers can actually build the character of the nation.”
According to him, today advertisers and partners are struggling with values and are under pressure. He stressed on the need for newspapers to step up and deliver. Newspapers can deliver if they innovate and create more and more interesting offerings for the readers, advertisers will then sit up and notice and pay for the innovations.
Dhariwal called for the print industry to collaborate in some areas, which will help in the market and also provide better value to readers and advertisers. According to him, there are two areas where the industry can collaborate – first is digital offerings across the same platform, which will help cut costs dramatically, and secondly, collaborate in ad offerings to FMCG products.
He underlined the need for newspapers to provide a set of values to advertisers, be it through innovation in print or by combining resources for better digital offerings.
Ravi Dhariwal was expressing his views at 6th International News Media Association (INMA) South Asia conference, being held in New Delhi on August 7 and 8, 2012.