The year 2014 was one of the good years for print industry in many ways and advertising was one of them. Given the background of Lok Sabha Elections and festive season, newspapers managed to bring thousands of crores in their balance sheet. The industry saw a strong expansion in the regional sector and also experienced high level controversies.
But print players are hopeful for a better year as always and expecting good growth in different sectors as a whole, keeping their fingers crossed.
Digital growth, subscription increase, IRS were some of the predictions from various publishers last year and this year they have a long list too.
Some of the trends that expert feels will be the key factors for this year are news print prices, originality of content, development of new media, and increase in subscription.
Ad revenues & newsprint prices
Both of them are highly relevant in order to get good numbers this year. While last year the increase in the value of dollar and depreciating INR hit the Indian print industry and it led to increasing in newsprint cost.
AIM President and Publisher of Chitralekha Group, Mitrajit Bhattacharya, feels softening of newsprint prices will have an impactful role. He said, “Normally we find some correlation between international newsprint prices and crude prices. Also considering we don’t have any major event like the Olympics or the American Presidential Elections in 2015 we can hope for stabilisation of newsprint prices. Rupee weakening will neutralize the advantages of lower newsprint price.”
Ad revenues from the existing window and digital will continue to grow and it will help the industry to boom. Bhattacharya said, “Print media brands will continue to extend their equity across new media to garner larger pie of the ever-growing digital revenues.”
ABP Group CEO, DD Purkayastha feels, “As vanilla ad revenue slows down, new revenue sources like solution selling, ground events, etc. will be pursued more vigorously.”
He also pointed out, “Print will see growth in double digits. English dailies may slow down to single digit while Hindi and regional dailies will be marginally better but low double digit only.”
Languages and non metro cities
The entire print industry is reiterating that regional is the new national. Anant Nath, MD, Delhi Press said, “Regional languages will continue to have dominant growth as there is lot of potential. Therefore newspapers, radio, digital, magazine in language content has a better chance for success.”
While Sakal Media Group CEO, Jwalant Swaroop feels readership and circulation will show growth in certain pockets. There will be expansion in the readership base through content differentiation. Talking about non metros he said, “Ad revenues from Tier 2 and Tier 3 towns will grow at a much higher clip. Cities like Lucknow, Ludhiana will give good revenues. Sector such as Pharma, Footwear will be inspiring in these cities.”
Smarter storytelling & quality of print ads
Increasingly brands will move money from traditional vanilla advertising to neatly crafted, integrated storytelling. The better you can help brands tell their stories, the more money you are likely to make. Print majors also need to fill up the void of election advertising revenues of 2014. Sanjay Mani-Vice President and National Head, D B Connect highlighted the importance of print ads. He said, “Clients are taking a lot of interest in the actual creative process of a press ad. They are demanding more engaging communication from their creative agencies. Print campaigns are also being treated as ‘separate’ from the TV campaigns through use of different creative, local idioms, etc.”
More and more clients are now getting actively involved in the media planning/buying decision making process. “This is primarily due to a greater accountability being sought for the spends and print does offer a clear and definite ROI equation which is measurable and hence justifiable. The relationship is now graduating into one of partnership rather than a vendor,” remarks Peter Suresh, Head, Business Intelligence Unit of Dainik Bhaskar Group.