Publishers jubilantly launch ‘Newspapers are growing’ campaign as Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC) figures show Print medium adding 2.37 crore copies and 251 publishing centres over the last 10 years; with 4.87% increase in CAGR

Post On : 15-05-2017 | Monday

Publishers jubilantly launch ‘Newspapers are growing’ campaign as Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC) figures show Print medium adding 2.37 crore copies and 251 publishing centres over the last 10 years; with 4.87% increase in CAGR


By Srabana Lahiri  


Newspapers are growing! That was the refrain last week as top functionaries of the Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC) got together in Mumbai to launch a campaign celebrating unprecedented growth of the Print medium in the face of tough competition from sectors such as Television, Radio and Digital. Considering two factors that might have had a negative effect on the Print industry – rejection of the last set of Indian Readership Survey (IRS) data by stakeholders and delay in rolling out digital measurement of Print platforms – the very fact that Print is growing at a healthy rate is praiseworthy and shows the country’s general inclination towards Print as well as the success of Print players to hold up the medium.

In fact, the Print industry seems to have gained from an atmosphere of collaboration, with all the players – including those who are bitter rivals in certain markets - coming together to uphold the larger cause of the medium. The ABC’s ‘Newspapers are growing’ campaign is apparently the brainchild of Girish Agarwal, Promoter-Director of the Dainik Bhaskar Group, who also roped in Ogilvy & Mather to craft the communication. “In India, reading newspapers is still an important activity of the day and together with easy availability and a good pricing model, will continue to provide impetus to growth,” says Agarwal.

Talking about the campaign, Shailesh Gupta, Director, Jagran Group, says, “This is good for all Print players. There might be competition in the marketplace, but when it is about the industry, we all have to come together if we need to promote the medium. This was just the first step, and there are lots more to come. There is a perception in the market that Print is not growing, but that’s not the fact. We wanted it to be acknowledged that Print is still rocking and it is here to stay. We need to go out and tell the end users, and for us end users are the advertisers; readers already know that Print is growing.”

On amplification of the campaign going forward, I Venkat, director, Eenadu, and current chairman of ABC, says, “We want to make the point that Print is growing in India at a very healthy rate, and will continue to grow. All newspapers and magazines in India will carry our ads shortly, because they are all members of ABC, from the largest publication to the smallest.”

He adds that the campaign will take the form of a roadshow in different cities, and include other initiatives that will be rolled out alongside it. “We plan to have a presentation in Mumbai and Delhi, providing much more information to planners, buyers and advertisers. The roadshows will be held at a common place where everyone will be invited,” he reveals. “Maybe in a month’s time we will make a big noise even with the Government.”



According to Agarwal, trends in traditional newspaper readership in India show greater growth in Indian language papers since people continue to seek out very localized content, spawning a greater number of editions and supplements. “In 2016, the Indian Print industry grew at ~7% and this growth has been led by Indian language newspapers at 9%. Evidently, Hindi and other Indian language newspapers continue to support the overall Print media industry growth. Besides India’s eight large metros, 42 new and emerging urban clusters have transformed into consumption hubs. This is aligned to Dainik Bhaskar’s Unmetro endeavour, which we had already started exploring a few years ago. We have expanded our presence to about 50% of these new consumption clusters. We also expect GST implementation to have a strong positive impact on media ad spends.”

Devendra Darda, MD, Lokmat, talks of substantial growth in the Western region of India:The number of copies circulated in West zone in India grew at a CAGR of 2.81% in the last 10 years from 2006 to 2016, with the Marathi language dailies witnessing a growth of 1.5% in circulation during the same period. Comparing Jan-June 2015 and Jan-June 2016, the number of circulated copies of Marathi dailies increased from 2.96 million to 3.4 million; with number of editions increasing from 28 to 44. Print companies are able to increase the copies in the region because of the focus of advertisers in this region of the country, which includes major advertising markets like Maharashtra, Gujarat and Goa.”


Girish Agarwal 
Promoter-Director, Dainik Bhaskar Group
There is an evident shift, with advertisers increasingly looking at opportunities in Hindi and other Indian language markets due to their ability to generate hyper local news content which creates direct connect with readers in Tier II and Tier III cities and towns. With growing focus on several of these cities, which are regions where Dainik Bhaskar has very strong presence, we believe the gap in ad rates between English and Hindi or other language publications, which has already reduced substantially, will continue to narrow down, as the value proposition of a strong Indian language newspaper readership base has been already gaining momentum.

Devendra Darda
Managing Director, Lokmat
The ad revenue share of Print was 38% in 2016. This growth was powered by regional dailies that grew at 9.4%. Ad spends by major sectors in Print has seen a positive growth rate in recent years. FMCG ad spends on Print grew by 15% in 2016 as compared to 2015, entry of Patanjali has also spurred growth. Ad spends of the Auto sector grew by 14% during the same year. 

D D Purkayastha
MD and CEO, ABP Pvt Ltd
Vernacular Print has seen a lot of traction among advertisers; especially FMCG, Automobile and Retail.

Kamal Krishnan

National Head – Media Solutions (Print), Mathrubhumi Group
Print is continuing to grow primarily backed by continued readership growth in regional markets and advertisers, especially in the Tier II and Tier III cities and unswerving confidence in the medium.

Navin Khemka
Managing Partner, Maxus India
Print has seen stable growth in the last two years of 4%~4.5%, while the Adex has grown by 12%. The rate of growth of Print is not as high as other media. The e-commerce category and the launch of many new offerings in the Auto and education sectors are key levers in this growth story for Print.

Deepak Netram
Senior VP, Lodestar UM
In categories where it has been important over the decades, it continues to stay important. I don’t think that has changed. There are some categories - like FMCG - that were on the fringes earlier, but have now changed behaviour and have begun using Print more. There are brands that consume Print in different formats. There are deals and offers that they are throwing in, and there is more usage on specific and focused vehicles.


Saurabh Jain

Vice President-South, Havas Media India
As per the latest KPMG report, Print revenue has grown by 14% in the last two years. The same as per MAP has grown by 23% and this growth is despite the slowdown during demonetization, which is fantastic if you look at the past and Print slowdown in India. If you look at a micro level trend, growth of regional publications is higher than that of English newspapers.



Shailesh Gupta

Director, Jagran Group

There might be competition in the marketplace, but when it is about the industry, we all have to come together if we need to promote the medium. This was just the first step, and there are lots more to come.

Commenting on growth of the Print medium in the South of India, Kamal Krishnan, National Head – Media Solutions (Print) of the Mathrubhumi Group, says, “There has been a significant growth of the Print medium in South India with a CAGR of 4.95% (source: ABC) which is above the national average CAGR of 4.87%, fuelled by increase in share of regional dailies.”

Media planners too are bullish on the growth of Print. Says Deepak Netram, Senior VP, Lodestar UM,What is really ironical is that it is said that with the growth of Digital, Print is taking a backseat but the one category that is really picking up in Print especially during the festive period is e-commerce and e-retail. So the online and e-commerce sectors ironically spend a significant amount on Print. Print has only improved over the years. A lot of complacencies have gone away and a lot of the flab has been taken off, a lot of what was seemingly “value” but was never really value has also gone. It is now delivering what it is supposed to. A lot of the organized players have used this changing environment to their advantage. Categories like auto and durables that are heavy spenders in Print now work closely with us to create solutions that are very result-oriented, since they are faced with tougher competition like Patanjali.”

Navin Khemka, Managing Partner, Maxus India, sees Print as very critical “as it lends a lot of credibility to the advertising message”. “In certain categories, it is also the key vehicle for driving instant reach and immediacy of response. It also helps in information dissemination. Given the innovations possible today on Print, it also lends itself to driving a buzz value for the brand,” he says. He, however, has reservations about Print’s growth. “Yes it is growing, but the rate of growth has gone down. Also in a country where the number of literates far outnumber the Print readers, I think Print has a long way to go. This form might change from physical to Digital,” he says.

So, how much importance does a planner give to the Print medium - compared to TV and Digital – in charting media plans? Says Saurabh Jain, Vice President-South, Havas Media India, “Each medium has its own strengths. Whereas TV is the most cost-effective way of reaching a large number of people, Digital is used to start a two-way communication. When it comes to any big brand/communication launch, where the brand team expects quick registering of message by the consumers, the first medium I recommend is Print. When the brand wants to give a lot of information, again the first medium I recommend is Print. Where the brand intends to deliver an immediate punch, Print is the first medium again.”



Meanwhile, Venkat says that digital measurement of Print platforms will roll out in about two months. “Digital measurement is being done for the first time in India. ABC of London does digital measurement. Based on that, when we felt it was time for India too to have digital measurement, we started this exercise. It’s progressing very well. We have also started tracking all the sites. Almost all major newspapers have agreed and we have put the necessary infrastructure in place. We have also appointed an auditor. The auditor must go through the entire process, and only after that will we talk about it publicly, because we don’t want to leave anything to chance,” he affirms.

Shashi Sinha, CEO of IPG Mediabrands India, and former Chairman of ABC, too says the pilots for digital measurement have been going on for the last 6-7 months. “A lot of big publishers are subscribed to the pilots. But, what the Board felt was that we must audit the process before we launch.”

Category: Impact Feature Volume No: 13 Issue No: 49







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