When Minister of Information and Broadcasting Manish Tewari took the stage at the 8th Indian Magazine Congress (IMC) to deliver the inaugural keynote address, the magazine publishers were hoping for some good news with the Lok Sabha elections round the corner.
In his address, Tewari touched upon various topics from the broadcasting and print industry and also highlighted the work done by the UPA Government in the field of cable TV digitisation.
Sharing about the reach of the television industry and taking a dig at ratings measurement agencies, Tewari said, “The country saw the increase in the number of channels from 164 in 2004 to 788 in the span of 10 years and today, television reaches out to 700 million people. However, all these channels are competing for revenues based on TRP measurements, where there is coerciveness and negativity syndrome to some extent in the media space. Moreover, this has not been corrected over a period of time.”
Speaking on the magazine industry, the Minister said that it needs to strengthen its presence in the digital and New Media age by playing the role of an objective, analytical and authentic source of information. “Innovation needs to be used as a sustained tool for bringing about change in the lives of the readers rather than being a tool for ‘short-cut’ solutions,” he stressed.
Elaborating further, Tewari said that in recent times, many iconic publications had turned digital and the need of the hour was to empower the World Wide Web through agreed rules of engagement. It was necessary for the digital world to go through standard editorial checks so as to ensure rich and authentic content in the New Media Space. The challenge before the magazine industry was to withstand the flow of instant information emerging from different media streams.
On the magazine industry trends, Minister highlighted the industry’s future performance would be a critical player determining the macroeconomic environment necessary for print media stakeholders. This would be possible if the Industry was able to achieve greater operational efficiencies and connect with readers through delivery of high quality content. The industry could focus on profitable growth by implementing cost control initiatives and adopting technology across key business performance areas such as planning, budgeting, customer relationship management, strategic outsourcing, etc. While leading players had taken necessary steps, it was necessary that the industry reviewed the process in its entirety.
On the trends for the print media industry, the Minister stated that the market for regional and vernacular markets continues to grow in an environment which was fruitful in view of rising literacy levels, low print media penetration in certain areas and the desire of stakeholders to use the platform. The Minister further added that the inherent advantages of print industry – extensive reach, localisation benefits and ability to create trust and achieve a higher ‘attention span’, are expected to serve as a base for growth and ensure that print continues to be one of the most important platforms for Indian advertisers.
Tewari further said that in marked contrast to the global trends, the Indian print industry was growing with steady increase in both advertising and circulation revenues. Although, internet broadband penetration has been increasing at an enormous pace, print industry would continue an upward trajectory due to growth in vernacular and regional markets. The Magazine Industry, both vernacular and English, had shaped public discourse for over 60 years and still had potential to grow.
Manish Tewari was delivering the inaugural address at the ongoing 8th Indian Magazine Congress in New Delhi. Organised by the Association of Indian Magazines, the theme for this year is ‘Winning through Innovation’. The two-day Congress is being held on February 24 and 25.