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Digital is a big catalyst for growth of regional press: Sanjay Gupta, CEO, Jagran Prakashan

15-December-2017
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Digital is a big catalyst for growth of regional press: Sanjay Gupta, CEO, Jagran Prakashan

The rise of digital has put traditional media platforms on a backpedal. This is especially true about the Print players. This phenomenon is more pronounced in the western markets where Print is on a sharp decline and major publishers have undergone complete digital transformation, a case in point being the New York Times and The Washington Post.

However, the impact of digital on Indian Print industry is limited. So far, India continues to be a growing market for Print and this is primarily driven by the regional press. Over the last few years, barring English press, regional Print has continued to witness growth and is likely to continue.

What makes India’s Print story so different? According Sanjay Gupta, CEO of Jagran Prakashan, regional press is witnessing a new phase of growth which is helping Print stay its course in a world overwhelmed by the digital wave. Speaking about the trends in regional readership, Gupta says, “I believe readership is a function of circulation and related to the population in a particular zone. Also, it all depends on the pull of the product. Many newspapers push their circulation up but if they do not have the first recall then readership does not reflect. Luckily for Jagran, the kind of products we offer, we do get a very strong readership pull.”

Explaining how digital is changing the game for Print players in India including language press, Gupta says, “Digital is as such a big catalyst for regional press at the moment. It is not at all impacting us in Print. It is just the way marketers are approaching to market their products, that aspect is now changing. Luckily languages own most of the markets in India apart from the five or six metro towns. Traditionally markets were only these metro towns and therefore there was a huge partiality of advertising towards them. But it has changed in the last 10-12 years and is changing very fast. The southern states reaped this benefit first and now for the last seven to eight years the northern states have also started reaping the benefits of the growing markets. Once any marketer looks at increasing their market share, they have to approach it in all the facets—TV, Print and Digital. Today digital is a big tool which they are using, but is it affecting anybody? I don’t think so.”

While English press might have become a saturated market, according to Gupta the future of Print players in India, especially the regional press looks promising. “If you see, English press is losing out because metro markets are already saturated. I think India was always divided into two broad categories—Bharat and India. India included the English-speaking community and it became an aspirational consumer 30 years back. Now it is a saturated market and not a new market for mass marketed products. Now the focus has shifted to regional markets and that is where the growth is coming from. This in turn is benefitting the regional press in a major way. The growing literacy levels in north India is driving this growth and I see a very bright future for Print in India, especially for the languages,” adds Gupta.

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