While the year 2013 was less than optimistic for the print media industry, industry experts believe that 2014 will witness consolidation between print and digital, as well as the emergence of regional media and niche magazines.
exchange4media lists some trends that will define the print media industry in 2014...
Rise in consumption of content
With increase in the usage of smart phones and tablets, there will be an increase in news or entertainment consumption through these mediums, along with a greater demand for creating engaging content.
Shift towards paid content
Paid content, especially paid news content, will remain a unique asset for media companies. Content creators will build on the learnings of the earlier years and have definite content monetisation plans. Proliferation of e-commerce, coupled with increasing smart phone penetration, will drive the movement towards paid content faster. However, advertising revenues rather than subscription revenues will still be dominant in India.
Growth of regional media
Regional media is expected to witness a double digit growth in 2014. Regional media, especially regional dailies, will have better growth than English dailies. Currently, English press garners more than 60 per cent of the print ad money. The shift from English press to regional will further increase in the coming years due to extensive reach that it provides, especially in rural India.
Emergence of niche magazines
The past few years have seen the launch of several new titles. It is time publishers took a hard look at the financial performance of the magazines. Even in the slow economic growth, the luxury market in India is growing at a healthy rate, and magazines catering to niche life style, luxury, gadgets, etc., will do well.
Advertisers will prefer below-the-line activity
Media sales will become more about ideas and solutions and less about physical formats such as space and time. Media sales teams, therefore, will invest in expertise in below-the-line activities, activation, etc. They will emerge as consultants to clients. Advertisers will focus more on the ground activities to reach out to their customers.
Marriage between print and digital
Those brands and organisations that do not embrace digital media even in 2014 will do so at their own peril. It will continue to be a social media and apps driven year, with innovations in individual target-driven content. Online will become an integral part of strategic decisions for media players. Digital innovation will help in creating solutions and reaching new audience. Social media as a tool will be used for increasing the connection between the consumers and the advertisers.
Publishers will keep on experimenting with online content. Online will enhance reach and interactivity of newspapers. Monetisation will remain a challenge, though there will be increased stress on ‘paid content’. Digital should be seen as an enabler rather than a disrupter of traditional media business.
Chaos in TV industry will favour print players
The 12-minute ad cap on TV will put enormous pressure on pricing, which, in turn, may help print players in a big way.
New IRS will increase accuracy
Having begun on a fresh slate with no legacy data to be worried about, one expects the new Indian Readership Survey (IRS) to throw up many surprises. It is bound to be positive for all the frontrunners in each category or genre, but could hurt the No. 2’s or also-rans. More importantly, it could expose those publications faking it out by providing more accurate data.
Elections will define 2014
The year 2014 is going to be a big election year in India. Print will be the major beneficiary in the country. With spread and depth of editions, print will provide an ideal media platform for national and regional political parties.
With inputs from Sunil Rajshekhar, Director, Bennett, Coleman & Company and CEO, Times VPL; I Venkat, Director, Eenadu; Varghese Chandy , Chief General Manager - Marketing & Advertising Sales; Narendra Kumar Alambara, COO, Sovereign Media Marketing; and Pravin Menon, National Head - Ad Sales, Vikatan Group