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Prediction 2015: Regional dailies will do better than their national cousins

05-January-2015
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Prediction 2015: Regional dailies will do better than their national cousins

The only one I can make with full confidence is that print in packaging will continue to boom with the proliferation of consumer goods sold both online and in brick and mortar stores. Today packaging is slick and very often sized much larger than the miniscule products inside.

Another very safe guess is that every print outfit of a reasonable size-newspapers and commercial will have a digital presence if they don't already have one.  Newspapers with their digital offerings (no longer limited to websites!) can no longer be classified as print only. Revenues from these digital offerings will continue to grow at a high year on year rate; but on a low base figure – but still remain insignificant compared to print – but climbing.

Circulations of dailies will continue to march upward but at a slower rate compared to the past five years.  Regional dailies will do better than their national cousins.

Circulation of general interest magazines and advertising thereof will stagnate or fall; but niche publications will continue to thrive amidst churn.  

Advertising revenues for print is a tricky forecast.  In the past couple of recessionary periods advertising growth rates dropped – more so for national dailies as compared to regional.  For 2015 the only really positive forecast I have come across is that from the ZenithOptimedia global ad spend forecast – which predicts Indian ad growth at 12 per cent fuelled by print at 12 per cent, TV at 10 per cent and online / mobile at 25 per cent (on a smaller base);  other media between 5 and 10 per cent.

My personal view is that if the new government which promised 'Acche Din' sticks to kick starting the moribund economy and improving the lot of Indian Aam  Aadmi – rather than stirring up the communal pot; ad growth and GDP growth will be strong.

3D printing will start making inroads into the Indian manufacturing sector in 2015 albeit in a small way due to the lack of R&D in materials technology in this field in India.

The new government with its focus of 'Make in India' is reported to be planning to ban the imports of capital equipment more than five years old in some sectors.  If implemented in Print CAPEX; the commercial print sector as well as newspaper and packaging sectors will be impacted due to the absence of quality Indian machinery for the very demanding jobs and very high speed requirements.  I predict (and hope) that Print will be exempted.

More 4x1 type presses will be ordered in 2015 by regional and Hindi newspaper print media at plants where print runs and increased colour pages demand one press with fewer number of webs as compared to having 2 single width presses with larger number of webs.  Saving in space, personnel and waste will drive this trend.

Newspaper and commercial press manufacturers across the world will continue to face troubling head winds due to the decline of print in the developed economies.  India will continue to be a bright spot for them as far as sales are concerned.

The author Mammen Mathew is the Chief Editor, Malayala Manorama, Kerala
 

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