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Print is a robust business: Arunabh Das Sharma

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Print is a robust business: Arunabh Das Sharma

The Indian Newspaper Kongress (INK) 2012, held on July 20 at New Delhi, put the spotlight on newspapers. Organised by exchange4media Group, the annual event aims to understand what the future holds for the newspaper industry, as stakeholders contemplated on how to bring about further growth for the medium. INK 2012 was presented by Dainik Jagran. Business Standard was the print partner.

Speaking on ‘Future Sutras’ Arunabh Das Sharma, President, Bennett, Coleman & Co, refuted the popular perception that print is dying and affirmed that print is a robust business. He noted that print has continued its growth in emerging markets, while in the mature markets it is seeing rapidly changing business models.

In the developed markets, there are strong pockets of growth for print, such as the UK, Scandinavian countries and Australia. While in the US, tablets are proving to be a second coming for print.

Highlighting the properties that make print the best medium, Sharma called print a “sage” that has huge credibility and trust. He further said, “Print is a cognitive medium, and research shows that it has better engagement vis-à-vis most mediums. Print is not a multi-tasked medium.”

Compared to television, print is not as fragmented. There are technologies today that are supporting advertising since ads are not ‘disruptive’ in print.

Underlining the sources of growth for print, Sharma pointed out that in the immediate term, these sources include factors such as geographic expansion and penetration, segmentation, innovations, integrations into broader marketing spends as well as integration with technology.

In the long-term, measures such as new business models, digital seamless models and paid content would lead to growth of print business.

Sharma pointed out that growth for print today is not concentrated to metros alone; demographics and consumption patterns are driving growth in non metros.

Citing the case of BCCL, he said that all dailies of the group had seen a growth of 62 per cent in the non-metros as against 10 per cent growth in the metros. For BCCL’s English dailies the growth was 40 per cent in the non-metros and nine per cent in the metros. “BCCL has already positioned 32 lakh copies in non metros,” Sharma informed.

Sharma urged the print media industry to make technology its friend and leverage it. He concluded by saying, “Getting future ready is key. Disrupt your own business model before someone else does it.”

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