Newspaper circulation revenue reaches 80-90% of pre-Covid levels this fiscal

A shift in consumer preference towards digital has impacted circulation. But full recovery is expected in the next 6 months with a new set of readers coming into the stream, said print media players

e4m by Sonam Saini
Published: Sep 17, 2021 8:44 AM  | 4 min read

The worst might be over for the newspaper companies with circulation back on track clocking almost 80-90% of circulation revenue of pre-COVID levels. Several print companies’ Q1 FY22 results indicated that the circulation revenue continued to improve as well over last year. For instance, DB Corp Ltd circulation revenues stood at Rs.110.6 crore in the Q1 FY22 as compared to Rs 92.8 crore in the same quarter of FY21. This shows that the company witnessed a 19.18% YoY growth. Additionally, the company’s circulation revenue QoQ grew 0.18% with circulation revenue of Rs 110.6 crore in Q4 FY21. 

Similarly, Hindustan Times (HT) Media Group’s print circulation revenue grew 23% YoY to Rs 50 crore in Q1 FY22 against Rs 41 crore in Q1 FY21. The media house's print circulation for Q4 FY21 stood at Rs 48 crore. Additionally, Jagran Prakashan Ltd’s circulation revenue was up by 14% in Q1 FY22 at Rs 84.37 crores from Rs 74.04 crores in Q1 FY21. 

Speaking at the earning calls on Q1 FY22 results of HT Media, Group CFO, Piyush Gupta shared that the company’s English print circulation revenue went up to Rs 7 crores from the lowest Rs 2 crores whereas circulation revenues for Hindi print reaches Rs 43 crores witnessing a growth of 12%.

“Circulation revenue growth was led by improvement in both realizations and copies in circulation. So a lot of pricing action also happened on the circulation copy. As a matter of fact, our RPCs are better than the same period last year across major publications and units,” said Gupta. Gupta also shared that newspaper circulation might not reach 100% of the pre-Covid level as 10-15% of newspaper readers would have exited the space in the last 18 months. 

On the importance of circulation going back to 100%,  Gupta said, “Look! it will always be welcome, but it's not like it's very necessary because one factor responsible for it might be readers who probably might not come back to a newspaper and might go towards a digital form. So 10-15% of readers would probably have vacated the space, but given Hindi and the market that it is in, there is a lot of first-time literates who are coming into the stream, so they become the new set of readers.”

Unlike advertising revenue, the second wave of COVID-19 has not adversely affected the circulation business of the print media companies, which in result might have delayed the growth but has not stopped it. 

Dainik Bhaskar in the Q1 FY22 press note stated that the company’s well-calibrated circulation strategy aided in the spectacular recovery of circulation from the first wave of Covid-19. “The continuous efforts of circulation teams resulted in more than 90% of pre-covid circulation recovery. The circulation numbers not only underscores the resilience of the Group but are also a testament to the fact that the fundamentals of the Print industry remain solid, even in the face of disruptions.” 

In an earnings call of Q1 FY22, DB Corp, Girish Agarwal, Non-Executive Director, also mentioned that the second wave was not that tragic in terms of circulation. “We are almost there. However, we further need to focus to see how we can reach the pre-Covid level faster." He further added, “What we are planning to achieve in the Q2 of this year is to go back to pre-Covid levels but I think that will now get pushed by maybe two quarters. Let us hope we get there faster.” 

According to the Indian Newspaper Society (INS) Vice President, Mohit Jain, currently, the circulation revenue is at 80-90% of the pre-COVID levels and has not been back to 100% yet. “Not many people in the newspaper industry have taken the cover price increase. There has been some contraction that happened in the circulation so it has not surpassed the pre-COVID levels yet and it might take another six months to recover fully,” said Jain. He further explained that circulation revenue depends on the number of copies that companies selling in the market which got affected as the reader shifted to the digital medium. 

Interestingly, in Kerala, unlike other states, COVID-19 did not adversely impact newspaper circulation. Varghese Chandy, VP-Marketing & Advertising Sales, Malayala Manorama, shared that, unlike the rest of the country where there was a huge drop in the circulation revenue, it didn’t happen in Kerela. “Most of the states where distribution happens through shops, in Kerala it is house-to-house delivery, and during the pandemic even in containment areas newspapers were delivered. Our government had announced how newspapers don’t spread the virus. Hence, the circulation was never affected in Kerala even during the peak time of COVID-19.” 

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Times of India Group campaigns bag 11 wins at INMA Global

The campaigns showcased India's achievements in 75 years since Independence

By exchange4media Staff | May 29, 2023 2:18 PM   |   2 min read


TOI’s  30 inspiring stories from across the length and breadth of the country won big at the recently held INMA Global Media Awards.

From India's digital revolution, led by its pathbreaking online payments system, to its endeavours in space, art and conservation and many other fields, the campaign, powered by TOl's extensive network of journalists spread across the country, showcased India's achievements in 75 years since Independence as a continuum of progress while emphasising that this is the best time to be Indian.

The other top winning campaigns included:

#lamHyderabad: A city celebration campaign aimed at showcasing the love and pride of residents in their city, by drawing upon user-generated content that showed the many facets of Hyderabad.

Times Podcast Challenge: Promoted education through technology in Kolkata, asking students to submit their podcasts on specific themes via the Ei Samay Gold platform.

Ek Hobar Utsav (Ei Samay): In these polarising times, the campaign showed the power of 'one' by bringing in heartwarming stories of 'oneness' from various corners of Bengal.

Navbharat and Ei Samay Gold: For driving these podcasts to attain maximum subscribers, this involved creating internal dashboards through which tools such as Google Data Stud and marketing automation platforms were leveraged.

The Art of India Fest 2022: This national platform for showcasing Indian art brought together over 400 artworks by 220-plus artists, ranging from eminent names to students from art colleges at a physical exhibition at India's largest exhibition centre.

Print Ad with Augmented reality - Hyundai Ad: Via a QR code in a print ad, through usage of WebAR technology, an experience of Hyundai's Agile Mobile Robot (called SPOT) was brought alive for the readers of TOI and ET in key cities.

Client Deduplication-innovative Al-driven customer data grouping: The Business Insights team created an in-house machine learning-based tool for client deduplication, creating a base of over 10 years of data with more than 90% accuracy.

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Lokmat Chairman Vijay Darda's new book to be released on 30th May in New Delhi

The launch event will be held at the Constitution Club of India

By exchange4media Staff | May 25, 2023 7:42 PM   |   3 min read

Vijay Darda

Lokmat Media Group Chairman and former member of Rajya Sabha Vijay Darda's new book- Ringside: Up, Close & Personal on India & Beyond  is all set be released on Tuesday, 30 May 2023 at 4.30 pm in the speaker hall of the Constitution Club of India, New Delhi. 

Senior Congress leader and Lok Sabha MP Dr. Shashi Tharoor will release this book. Former media advisor to Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh and former editor Sanjay Baru will also grace the program by being present in this dignified evening.

India Today Television's Consulting Editor and Padma Shri awardee senior journalist Rajdeep Sardesai will discuss his book with Vijay Darda during this programme.

An award-winning journalist, veteran parliamentarian, dynamic entrepreneur and compassionate philanthropist, Vijay Darda straddles several worlds of experience. Born on May 14, 1950 in Yavatmal (Maharashtra, India), his father and freedom fighter Jawaharlal Darda (Babuji), overwhelmed by the country’s independence, named him as ‘Vijay’, meaning victory. He wanted him to fight for the poor and downtrodden, lend voice to the voiceless and contribute to nation building. Darda was groomed as an all-rounder in his school days under the mentorship of Arun Halbe, recipient of the President’s Ideal Teacher Award. 

He developed a flair for painting and poetry, while excelling in hockey and table tennis. He further obtained his Diploma in Journalism and Printing Technology from Mumbai University and completed a Humanities Program on Religion, Conflict and Peace from Harvard University. Vijay Darda was awarded D.Litt. (Doctor of Literature) degree by internationally renowned D Y Patil University at the convocation of the university in Navi Mumbai on 28th March, 2023, at the hands of Maharashtra governor Ramesh Bais and chancellor of Dr D Y Patil University Dr Vijay Patil in the presence Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and dignitaries from all walks of life. He was conferred with the degree for his outstanding work across the fields of journalism, social work, education, politics, philanthropy for the betterment of society. 

Vijay Darda along with his brother Rajendra took up the reigns of Lokmat, a Marathi daily newspaper launched from Nagpur on December 15, 1971. They later introduced Lokmat Times (English) and Lokmat Samachar (Hindi), while ensuring the numero uno position of Lokmat among all Marathi dailies in India with 21.8 million readership. Today, under his chairmanship, it is a leading multi-platform media company with a diversified portfolio of publishing, broadcast, digital, entertainment, community and sports verticals. 

Darda has been conferred with several awards, including Feroze Gandhi Memorial Award (1990-91) presented by former Prime Minister P. V. Narasimha Rao. He headed media institutions like Indian Newspaper Society (INS), Audit Bureau of Circulation (ABC) and was the founder president of South Asian Editors Forum (SAEF). He also has many books to his credit and weekly columns published in various national and regional dailies since decades.

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Paper price reduction to boost profits of Print companies

Industry experts believe it is the reduced global demand for the paper that has led to the reduction in price

By Aditi Gupta | May 24, 2023 8:01 AM   |   4 min read


In a big relief to the print sector, the price of newsprint, which was a cause of worry the last financial year, has dropped by nearly 30%. Industry experts believe that it is the reduced global demand for the paper that has led to the reduction in price.

According to sources, the price of newsprint, which had touched an all-time high of $1000/tonne during the last financial year, has now come down to around $700.  

DB Corp Ltd, in its official statement during Q4, stated that newsprint prices continued its downward trend in Q4 FY 2023 aiding margins and is likely to bring higher benefit in the coming quarters.

“Newspaper newsprint prices, from a high of Rs 63,500/tonne in Q2 FY2023, have come down to Rs 60000/ tonne in Q4 FY2023. Our blended purchase price currently is around Rs 55000/tonne,” it said.

Speaking to exchange4media, Matrubhumi Group’s Managing Director Shreyams Kumar, said, “The reason for the prices coming down is lower consumption level across the globe due to Covid and it has not recovered fully since that time. But it is on the path to recovery.”

“I think the consumption of newsprint in India went down by 40% during Covid. The custom duty is the same but there are rumours that the government is planning to cut it down.”

Sharing a similar view, Amit Chopra, Joint MD, Punjab Kesari, said the price reduction is due to reduced global demand and improved logistic situation and it will improve profitability.

“The price reduction has been going on since mid-last year. The effect is a reduction in cost of printing and not an increase in revenue. Consequently, it will improve profitability.

“The price reduction is due to reduced global demand and improved logistic situation. Earlier the freight costs had gone through the roof due to covid disruptions. Customs duty remains the same. Dollar has only become more expensive since last year,” Chopra said.

Kumar, however, said, the effect of this price drop will be felt only in Q1 of the next financial year.

“Currently the price is 700 USD per tonne. Decreasing the cost of newsprint does not increase the revenue, it only brings down the printing cost. We normally import and keep a stock of newsprint.

“The prices have come down only during the last quarter so the effect of this price drop will show only in Q1 of the next financial year,” he said.

Disruption in the supply chain of newsprint due to the Russia-Ukraine war, compounded with a scarcity of waste paper used in recycling led to the prices going as high as $1000/tonne in 2022.

There has been a gradual dip in the prices from $1000 to $850-900 and now $700.

However, Varghese Chandy, Vice President, Marketing and Sales, Malayala Manorama, had a different take on the scenario.

He said in the last four-five years, the cost of newsprint has gone up by nearly 90% and with dollar exchange right hitting the roof, reduction in newsprint price is not in sight.

“It was as high as $1050 per tonne last year and it is only $900 now. In the last four to five years, the price of newsprint has significantly gone up by around 90%. There is no way that the cost is coming down. It is still very high.

“Dollar exchange rate has also gone up considerably. I don’t think newspapers have surplus funds. No question of the newsprint price coming down,” he said.

According to sources, the cost of newsprint is expected to go down further by October this year to even $600/tonne.

Chopra said that Punjab Kesari, which consumes about 30-32000 tonnes of newsprint every year, will pass on the benefit of reduction to readers by reducing cover price by a rupee.

“High newsprint prices resulted in hiking of cover prices. Punjab Kesari group is passing on the benefit of reduction to readers by reducing cover price on some days by a rupee from 5 to Rs 4,” he told exchange4media.

According to industry players, the top price for newsprint for 2022 was $1000/tonne, up from $450/tonne in Jan-March 2021.

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The two top industrialists who played a major role in mediating between Jain brothers

Sunil Bharti Mittal of Airtel and Gaurav Dalmia of Dalmia Holdings, it is believed, have helped the complex negotiations between Samir Jain and Vineet Jain to bifurcate the Times Group

By exchange4media Staff | May 23, 2023 8:32 AM   |   2 min read

times grp

The Times Group assets underwent an elaborate evaluation process about a year ago, but due to the complexities involved in the media conglomerate worth hundreds of crores, brothers Samir Jain and Vineet Jain reportedly couldn't reach a consensus despite multiple rounds of talks. That was the time when they decided to rope in mediators, who didn’t only enjoy the trust of the family but also have skills to manage a smooth split for the Times Group which is a web of around 70 entities, including the most complex one-Times Internet Ltd (TIL), sources told e4m. 

Two top business leaders who were roped for this massive task were-Sunil Bharti Mittal, the billionaire chairman of India’s leading telecom operator Bharti Airtel, and Gaurav Dalmia, Chairman of the Dalmia group Holdings and Landmark Group holdings. Incidentally, Dalmia family owned the BCCL in the 1950s before handing the company over to Jains. 

While Dalmia (57) is part of the family-owned business and a noted private equity and real estate investor, Mittal (66) is a first-generation entrepreneur. Both are among India’s wealthiest persons with businesses spread across the  world. 

“Mittal and Dalmia then oversaw the entire negotiations and mediation process. With their meticulous  business acumen, the duo was able to help Samir Jain and Vineet Jain to adjust here and there for larger gains and an amicable solution,” insiders claimed. 

The two were present with Jain brothers at the latter’s Delhi bungalow on Thursday when the settlement issue was resolved and a memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed. 

“Smaller assets of the group have been fully settled, while the settlement of a few larger assets are being fine-tuned. Once it finishes, it would be clear how much cash payout Samir Jain needs to give to Vineet Jain,” a highly placed source told e4m, requesting anonymity. It is believed that the cash component could be in the range of Rs 3,500 crore to Rs 5,000 crore. 

It is said that Samir Jain has started looking for investors as well. “One of the two mediators might extend his helping hand to Samir Jain,” an insider said. 

Sources further said that top law firm Khaitan & Co is taking care of the legal technicalities of the partition. 

Does Vineet Jain’s new profile pic posted on Sunday signal’s new beginning? 

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BW Businessworld releases latest issue on Amul’s inflection point

The issue also has an additional summer special spin-off

By exchange4media Staff | May 23, 2023 8:20 AM   |   4 min read


In the recent issue of BW Businessworld releasing on June 3, 2023, takes a tour of India’s largest dairy processor and well-renowned household name, Amul. It explores the inflection point of Amul as it carries out its non-dairy food segment and is expected to generate a revenue up to Rs 1,00,000. To understand the vitality of the situation and the growth forward, BW Businessworld team travelled to the Milk Capital of India, Anand which is a home to the Gujarat Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF).

A Movement Of Exclusiveness

In an exclusive conversation with BW Businessworld, Jayen Mehta, the newly appointed managing director of Amul throws light on why the targeted revenue does not seem daunting for the brand. He further explains that since the dairy sector is swiftly becoming more organised, a shift towards the non-dairy food segment is likely to accelerate as consumers today are more health conscious, especially the younger generation. However, beyond the dairy sector, there is an inflection point for Amul as it now seeks to turn into an all-foods company. The various product launches in the past three years in the non-dairy segment and the expansion it reflected, Mehta seems optimistic about Indian consumers’ kitchen items to soon be of the brand, Amul, be it either organic or dairy products.

The latest issue also presents Amul’s past attempts to expand beyond dairy and value-added dairy products and how they collapsed to make a mark in the market. In this issue, BW Businessworld comes across understanding of what will be different this time and what shall we expect from Amul in the near future.

Largely, this issue also explores India’s substantial milk economy dynamic and the government’s thrust to boost milk production and whether it will bring a second White Revolution.

Summer Special Spin-off

The recent issue ‘The Summer Kings’, showcases a special feature on the summer season. We engaged with R.K. Singh, Union Minister of Power, New and Renewable Energy, to take stock of India’s preparation to address the rising demand of power this season. For the same, Singh highlights that the growing power demand is the definite indicator of India’s economic growth.

Nonetheless, the issue also features a rapid growth of sunscreens in the Indian market in this scorching heat of the summer, and how new-age brands have been drawn towards the sun protection market as it has become one of the highest and fastest growing in the skincare segment in the country.    

The issue also focuses upon the Indian meteorological department, predicting a hot and oppressive summer to which the team of BW Businessworld spoke to some of India’s biggest air conditioner manufacturers. B. Thiagarajan of Blue Star, Kanwal Jeet Jawa of Daikin, Manish Sharma of Panasonic Life Solutions India, among others, shares their plans to address consumer demand and their marketing playbook to reach out to them. A much weightage is given into smart solutions using AI and IoT based platform to offer comfort and convenience to its customers. 

In addition, this issue captures focus on sustainable architecture as sustainability has become central to everyone today. Special attention has been given to sustainable architecture to understand the practicalities of developing sustainable buildings in India.

Moreover, the latest issue also gives a special focus on building resilience in the era of uncertainty by Tiger Tyagarajan, President & CEO of Genpact, in its ‘Last Word’ column, aiming at what business leaders today need to concentrate on to navigate the current economic challenges. 

Click here to view the entire story of BW Businessworld on ‘India’s Best Kept FMCG Secret’ with Amul along with an additional summer special spin-off.

About BW Businessworld 

BW Businessworld, with its 43 years of legacy, is the fastest growing 360 degree business media house in India. With a network spanning across 23 niche business communities and 10 magazines, BW Businessworld is proud to be entrenched in various verticals in the domestic as well as global business, that organize conferences and forums to facilitate interaction between sectoral business leaders and create a conducive environment for collaboration. All BW issues are also fully digitally covered, including online stories and video stories and eMagazine is also available for every issue.

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Do not go by speculation in media about company’s reorganization: Times Group to employees

The group has released a statement internally to its key management saying speculations about the split in the business are incorrect

By exchange4media Staff | May 21, 2023 5:29 PM   |   1 min read


A day after the media reported details of Samir Jain and Vineet Jain splitting the Times Group business, the group released a statement internally to its key management calling the speculations incorrect.

The communication from BCCL’s Company Secretary Kausik Nath read: “As the KMP of the company, it is my duty to inform that employees should not go by speculation in the media about the reorganization of the company. Please be notified that social media has been speculative and incorrect.”

As per media reports, Samir Jain is likely to get hold of the entire Print businesses of the conglomerate and Vineet Jain is expected to occupy Broadcast, Radio Mirchi, Entertainment (ENIL), and other businesses.

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Vineet Jain: The media scion who drove Times Group's expansion

A look into the junior Jain brother's 36-year-long journey within the Times Group

By exchange4media Staff | May 21, 2023 2:02 PM   |   2 min read

vineet jain

Vineet Jain, the younger of the Jain brothers who inherited the Times Group after the death of their mother Indu Jain, will now be handling the TV, digital and entertainment business of the media conglomerate.

Born in Kolkata in 1964 to Ashok and Indu Jain, the 59-year-old Vineet joined the Times Group in 1987, more than a decade after his elder brother Samir Jain entered the business.

A graduate of the American College of Switzerland, Vineet was soon the Managing Director of  Bennett, Coleman & CO, which was at that time being run by his father Ashok Jain and brother Samir, who was the Vice Chairman of the company.

Vineet has been the driving force behind the diversification and expansion of what began as a traditional publishing business under the flagship Times of India. Under his vision and leadership, the Times Group expanded its wings across the media spectrum – be it internet, radio, music, news television, OTT,  or out-of-home.

He was named Impact Person of the Year in 2013.

With this development, after 36 years of his stint as the MD of Times Group, Vineet will occupy Broadcast, Radio Mirchi, Entertainment (ENIL), and other businesses such as Filmfare, Femina, their event IPs along with their respective online editions (clubbed under Times Internet Ltd).

Vineet will also retain ET Money and the OTT platform MX Player, broadcast, digital and entertainment part of the business. 

His elder brother Samir holds the entire Print business of the conglomerate like Times of India, Economic Times, and language papers like Navbharat Times and Vijay Karnataka along with their online editions. 

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