While the print industry has been facing challenges in the wake of the digital age, traditional print media still has its hold on the masses. More than 60 per cent of population resides in the tier II and III cities. They continue to enjoy and prefer reading news in their local language.
Exchange4media spoke to some of the experts from the southern region to understand the trends and the changes that the industry will witness.
Narendra Kumar Alambara, COO, Sovereign Media Marketing, said, “Each southern state is a unique market. Since regional dailies are geographically different and cater to varied markets, growth will be greater than the average growth seen last year.”
Highlighting the scenario in the Andhra Pradesh market, KRP Reddy, Director- Advertising & Marketing, Sakshi, said, “AP will witness change, as two states will come into existence June onwards and hence the second half of the financial year 2014-15 will see a quantum leap in government advertisements and infrastructure related advertisements in the market.”
The Pitch Madison Media Advertising Outlook report 2014 stated that print will grow by 17 per cent and projected revenue of around Rs 15,405 crore. Experts agree to this and expect the regional dailies to grow faster than English Dailies.
Suresh Srinivasan, Vice President, The Hindu Group of Publications, said, “South contributes a reckoning 40 per cent of the GDP. Growth has been almost consistent in the south and we have seen tier II towns develop well because of knowledgeable and discerning readers. For brands, it’s a delight and they have been eyeing this market to make their presence felt.”
Is innovation the need of the hour?
Print as a medium has worked well for the advertisers partly due to the increase in the literacy rates in tier I and II towns. Experts still feel that innovation is not the need of the hour.
Alambara said, “Innovation is a brand thing and not so much about the consumer. Where there is clutter, innovation is required. But we haven’t reached that point yet. Also innovation comes at a cost, which has to be justified. What is the measure of innovation? Is it translating into sales, is it translating into conversations? All these questions need to be answered before talking about innovation. Innovation for the sake of it doesn’t make sense.”
Alambara believes Tamil Nadu is good at getting the basics right rather than fixating on innovation. He added, “It is more of a no-nonsense or straightforward approach. We don’t try to do things differently, but do things in the best way possible and that’s been the strength. The market is more of understated and not so flamboyant. Innovation is not really the requirement here as of now.”
Elections and Advertising
This year, the ad industry will see a surge in the growth of ad spends. The entire industry is roughly around Rs 35,000 crore and the elections will bring in about another Rs 5,000 crore. Election will be one of the largest reasons for more advertising. Experts say that elections normally create interest in news, hence readership will increase, particularly in the regional dailies. Elections will also contribute revenue from political party advertisements and also individual candidate advertisements before the elections. In regional publications, the trend of post-election congratulatory ads will also contribute substantial revenues.
In terms of advertising, second level markets have been driving growth, especially real estate, education, retail, automobile, FMCG, and consumer durables. Srinivasan pointed out that FMCG has started looking at print with renewed interest. He said, “Perhaps it’s the media multiplier effect that is bringing it back to its fore.”
Reddy said, “In Telugu newspapers, particularly this year we have seen lot of activity with domestic and international airlines advertising. HUL has been very active in print this year particularly in regional publications. In Andhra Pradesh particularly, retail brands like Big C, LOT, Big Bazaar, Spencer’s, Reliance Trends, Kalaniketan, etc. have been very active. We expect these brands to continue advertising more aggressively in the next financial year also.”