Digital medium helping newspapers increase readership: Ranjeet Kate, Vijay Karnataka
Ranjeet Kate, CEO, Vijay Karnataka speaks to us about the newspaper’s performance, ad-sales growth, IRS Q1 2019 and their focus areas
IRS 2019 has given new hopes to the print medium in the country with dailies and magazines together adding 2.7 cr readers since IRS 2017. There has been an enormous growth in the readership of regional newspapers in the country.
Vijay Karnataka- the Kannada daily has added around 10 lakh readers since IRS 2017. They are among the top 20 dailies in all India category and first among the Kannada language newspapers.
In conversation with exchange4media, Ranjeet Kate, CEO, Vijay Karnataka spoke about the newspaper’s performance, ad-sales growth and focus areas.
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On IRS 2019 and factors led to the readership growth
The IRS has been good for newspapers, particularly for Vijay Karnataka and other Kannada Newspapers. What has worked for Vijay Karnataka as a brand is that we are seen as the most credible newspaper in Karnataka, this has given us a leadership position. The news content in Vijay Karnataka is carefully curated. We reflect the needs and aspirations of people of Karnataka, especially the Kannadigas, which makes them feel that they are highly valued by us and the advertisers. Another factor which powered Vijay Karnataka’s rise in IRS 2019 is the brand is very active, we have launched on-ground and digital initiatives which have received tremendous response from the readers, and this has helped us to connect to the readers.
From the advertisers' point of view, we have upper-class NCCS (A/B) orientation among readers. Also, 2 out of 3 of our readers are from 20-40 age group and this has made the entire package of Vijay Karnataka for the readers and advertisers a very attractive one.
Thoughts on Print’s performance in IRS 2019
The Print medium has registered strong growth in IRS 2019. It is expected and believed that in the digital era newspapers are lagging behind, but it has made a strong come back. Literacy rates are going up and that is one of the factors which led to the increase in readership. I also believe that there is a section of users who are consuming news as content through digital or social media are not satisfied with the kind of content they receive. They are on the lookout for credible media and therefore trial of newspapers is increasing. I believe in some way digital is helping print newspapers to increase readership.
Print in the digital era
Media such as print, Television, and digital, play different roles. Newspapers like Vijay Karnataka stand for credibility. We also stand for due diligence which goes into the curation of content. Other media by nature are not able to follow this kind of due diligence. There is a market for both carefully curated content and quickly delivered news content. I believe the way forward is co-existence of both media.
IRS 2019 and regional language publications
As we see in Karnataka, Kannada readership has gone up. The total readership of Kannada newspaper has gone up by 14 Lakhs and Vijay Karnataka’s readership has increased by 10 lakh readers. So this indicates that there is traction for good quality regional content. In the language newspaper market, the strategy of giving preference to language readers works well, as it has worked so well in Kerala with both Malayala Manorama and Mathrubhumi. I think there is a lot of upside for Indian language newspapers going forward.
Growth in readership and advertisement sales
I am very hopeful that the increase in IRS would help advertisers and media planners to look at newspapers and brands like Vijay Karnataka as a serious alternate medium of communication.
Projections and focus areas
Factors such as the increase in literacy rate, increase in population and trial through digital media, and readers coming to print media will power the growth of readership. We are very happy about the news that the IRS would come every quarter. If these trends keep going, then the print medium will witness growth in the next quarter as well.
Vijay Karnataka is going to continue on the same strategic areas. We are looking at creating several IPs which reflect giving preference to the need and aspirations of Kannadiga homes. Also, use other mediums like digital and on ground activation to increase the appeal of our core proposition which is print medium.
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