Print still holds relevance for large section of consumers: Vinay Maheshwari, Sakshi Media

Maheshwari, Executive Director & CEO, Sakshi Media Group, says digital and print mediums can grow on each other’s strength and continue to flourish

e4m by Neethu Mohan
Published: Aug 27, 2019 8:08 AM  | 4 min read

Digital and the print mediums are not agnostic and can grow on each other’s strength, says Vinay Maheshwari, Executive Director and CEO of Sakshi Media Group.

In a conversation with exchange4media, Maheshwari spoke about the IRS Q2 results, growth of print media and need to re-invent, challenges faced by the industry and more.

Edited excerpts:

On role of print in the digital era
Digital is definitely growing fast, however, print still holds its relevance for a large section of consumers. Ever growing literacy, hyperlocal coverage, credibility, affordability and an economical door distribution model will surely keep the print medium going for many more years. Attributes like vernacular, video, voice and variety are making the digital audience grow thick and fast and at Sakshi we are all for making use of the synergies between Print, Digital and TV.

On growth of Print and the medium re-inventing itself
Digital and print are not agnostic. They can rather grow on each other’s strength and continue to flourish. In my view there are two issues that need to be addressed. The time for narrative journalism is long gone. Journalists now need to re-invent themselves to provide crisp news. Also, newspapers need to deliver beyond just the spot news. They need to deliver knowledge to their readers. The sheer depth of coverage makes Print suitably placed to deliver this.

IRS Q2 2019
Most of the regional dailies are putting in a lot of effort to make their product more relevant for readers. However, there is no denying that it is going to be an extremely challenging task for the Print to grow its readership on a sustained basis. We are glad to have managed to increase our readership in Q2. We are putting in a lot of effort on product and circulation to ensure that we stay relevant and continue to grow consistently.

On assessment of the Andhra Pradesh and Telangana markets
No advertiser worth its salt can shy away from the Print medium. The focussed deep coverage potential of print is unmatched by any other platform. With hopes of the realty and auto segments picking up in the near future, we should see bright days ahead.

Role of brand ambassadors for Print media
In the short run, celebrity endorsements help generate interest and curiosity. However, for established categories like print these endorsements have limited scope. Ultimately, it is content that drives readership and the content is superior, differentiated and engaging.

On synergy Sakshi Group draws from digital
With a strong presence in TV and online mediums, we are strongly placed to deliver great content to our readers and a strong reach to our advertisers. We are already the No. 2 TV player in AP and Telangana. We have a strong online presence and this helps us cater to both domestic and overseas Telugu readers. Sakshi has always ensured a synergy between the three platforms.

BARC India’s decision to separate pay and FTA viewership
I don’t see any logic behind this. A consumer is a consumer, irrespective of whether he/she is watching a paid or FTA channel. I think pressure would have come from paid players whose numbers look smaller compared to the FTA channels.

Major challenges
The market is increasingly getting fragmented. The overall size of the pie is also not showing a handsome growth and the subscription economy is stagnant. All of this is bound to add pressure on the bottom line. Time has to come to think beyond the regular and conventional revenue streams.

On fake news
With no strong legislations or curbs in place, digital platforms lend itself to be manipulated. But I am sure as the ecosystem matures such instances will go down.

Maheshwari joined as Executive Director and CEO of Sakshi Media Group in January. Prior to that, he has worked in leadership roles in HT Media and Dainik Bhaskar Group.

Sakshi Media Group has its presence in print, TV and digital media across the states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana and is celebrating its 11th anniversary this year. The group has the credit of being the first newspaper in the country to launch 23 editions simultaneously and of achieving a 1 crore Target Readership in this period.

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