We might roll out subscription-based models for digital in 2 years: DD Purkayastha, ABP

Managing Director & CEO, ABP Pvt Ltd. says that language print is doing pretty as hinterlands are growing and advertisers are spending money in these markets.

e4m by Samarpita Banerjee
Updated: Aug 8, 2018 8:56 AM

While English print readership across the country is on a decline, ABP Group, with its wide portfolio of products, is working towards retaining its consumers by luring readers to their digital platforms. In a conversation with exchange4media, DD Purkayastha, Managing Director & CEO, ABP Pvt Ltd., revealed that it may roll out a subscription-based model for its digital offerings within the next two years.

Edited excerpts of the interview:

What is your assessment of Anandabazar Patrika Group’s performance in the last one year, in terms of revenue?
We all know how the newspaper industry is moving. English newspapers especially are facing strong headwinds. Having said that, we are in a much better situation than a lot of other publications because our Bengali newspaper is a strong product and our television business is doing very well. So, I would say, thanks to our diversified offerings, compared to other players, we are in a much better shape.

While English readership is on the decline, the regional newspapers are performing much better. What do you think is working in favour of vernacular offerings?
Language print is doing pretty well because the hinterlands are growing. Their purchasing powers are on the rise and they have aspirations. They want to imitate the city life and advertisers like FMCG brands, two-wheeler or auto companies are spending money in those markets. Even we are focussing on language print and on non-Calcutta districts. Those are the areas that are seeing a lot of growth for us.

A lot of audiences are moving from Print to Digital. But are advertisers showing an equal interest in moving their spends to the digital medium?
Currently, most of the money on digital is going to the Googles, Facebooks, Amazons and Flipkarts of the world. Very little of the overall money being spent on digital is coming to us. However, my objective is to get people onto the digital mediums. My consumers should not go away. Tomorrow, there is a possibility that if advertisers don’t pay for the digital platforms, consumers will pay, for accessing exclusive content that they don’t find anywhere else. Currently, we are working on plans around rolling out subscription-based models for our digital properties. They are still in the planning stage but you might see them being rolled out within the next two years.

You currently have four vernacular television news channels. Are there more regions that you are planning to enter in the near future?
We currently have channels in Bengali, Hindi, Marathi and Gujarati. We launched our fifth channel, ABP Sanjha which is our Punjabi channel, in Canada in July. We are looking at expanding to more languages. While we don’t have any specifics to talk about, there are many other languages that can be looked into. The whole of south is uncovered, so there’s a lot of opportunity there.

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