Media Debate: Does print have a future in developing nations?
27 June 2012
Global digital adspend is set to rise 16.5% this year and 13.5% next year, taking its total share of adspend to 15.5% in 2013 and overtaking newspapers’ 14.3% share for the first time. While print markets continue to decline in the developed ad markets of Western Europe and North America, M&M Global asks experts from South America, China, Russia and India how print is faring in their region and what is in store
“The print media market is still alive in Latin America. However, it has been consistently losing investment, along with radio. Newspapers are heavily reliant on the adspend advertisers who are looking to target specific sectors, including supermarkets, electronic manufacturers and retailers keen to promote their loyalty cards. Magazines still appeal to fashion and business advertisers. The future for both magazines and newspapers will depend on them producing content in a mix of traditional and print formats. There have been some recent innovative executions by print media owners where advertisers find value, such as cover wraps and using apps to animate ads. While publishers are starting to become more open to innovative proposals when they are placing ads in newspapers and magazines, this innovation is yet to result in any real profit for them. This is mostly due to the fact that there is a lack of initiative coming from the industry as a whole.”
Guillermo Tafet, country chair South America, VivaKi
Verdict: For print to thrive, media owners need to look for creative ways to monetise the audience they reach.
“From the perspective of Condé Nast International, the print market in China remains significant. Print revenue has grown year-on-year for 2011 against 2010, and all indications are that this growth will continue through 2012. While print adspend continues to beat online in a number of Asian markets, the fact that things are starting to change in China demonstrates just how prevalent the internet has become in the country, where it has more than half a billion users. The requirement of luxury advertisers to maintain a significant foothold in the print landscape is vital to the industry, and is being boosted by additional revenue for digital, rather than one diminishing at the expense of the other. I believe that print will continue to flourish at the upper end of the Chinese market, working in tandem with other media platforms. According to Data Center of China Internet, TV remains the single biggest medium for ad spend ($12bn) compared to print ($5.78bn).”
Tracy Xu, management executive, Condé Nast China
Verdict: China’s print market is changing but is robust due to luxury advertisers’ continued use of the medium.
“Print isn’t dying in Russia… it’s already dead. Well, newspapers anyway. Under communism, Russian print (or the Soviet Union to be precise) enjoyed huge circulations. Despite commendably high literacy, Russians are not great readers of daily or weekly titles. There are many reasons for this but chief among them is that after years of being lied to with Kremlin propaganda, Russians have lost faith in a lively free press. I use the metro to avoid the notorious Moscow traffic jams. In the dark underbelly of the city you will witness that everyone has an electronic device of some sort. I doubt that they are reading Pravda on them. The situation with magazines is the opposite. Russians endured more than 70 years of living in a socialist paradise “where poverty and injustice were equally distributed.” Given this fact, they have a surprising appetite for bread and circuses. And magazines fill that desire with their glossy pictures of unattainable wealth.”
Gareth Brown, client service director, ADV Moscow/Initiative Russia
Verdict: Many publications are vanity projects of minor oligarchs. Despite falling circulation they will stay around.
“The future of print can be gauged only if we understand that we have two mindsets. ‘India’ is defined by the metro-oriented, global mindset-driven, social media and net-savvy Indian. ‘Bharat’ is the mass small town and rural Indian. Both are witnessing tremendous socioeconomic change, dialling in to new behaviour patterns and engagements. Print in metro-driven India is facing the same challenges assaulting the industry globally, with transformed media habits, complex fragmented media, losing its sheen with the younger audience embracing the digital world, and experiential content consumption. Small town and rural India, however, is sparking a growth in regional language publications. With a strong appetite for news that marks every Indian and increasing literacy, print is still the most accessible form of consumption. Connection with local news, strong credibility, and a balance of national and local generated content makes non-English print extremely relevant.”
Babita Baruah, vice-president and client services director, JWT Delhi
Verdict: The Indian print market is admirably bullish, which has helped the big publications weather the downturn.