The Indian Print Story
27 June 2012
Print in India is witnessing a period of sluggish growth. The future, it seems, is regional print and entry into new markets. By T 'Gangs Gangadhar
The Indian advertising industry (AdEx) is estimated to be around $7.5 bn. TV and print are the dominant media with a near-equal share of the pie. However, over a period of time, print has been losing share consistently – TV and digital being the biggest beneficiaries. Over the last few years, print advertising has grown at a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 7% vis-à-vis overall AdEx CAGR of 11.5%.
English dailies (50%), regional dailies (45%) and magazines (5%) together constitute Print AdEx in India. The regional cluster is dominated by Hindi (the most widely spoken language in India and by south Indian dailies.
There are more than 100,000 registered print publications in India. Given the multitude of languages and the enormous size of the country (more than 30 linguistic states), no publication has a meaningful national presence. The sole exception is the Times of India, the world’s largest English daily.
The Indian print industry is disproportionately dependent on advertising revenue. Revenue from advertising is thrice that from subscription. At cover prices fewer than 10 cents, India is amongst the cheapest newspaper markets in the world.
Print tends to be used by advertisers for two key reasons – either when messaging is focused on a specific geography or when a big announcement is to be made. But with more regional marketers aspiring for national success, TV is fast becoming the medium of choice. More widespread, TV is a far cheaper option (TV pricing is about a sixth of print).
To stay competitive, publications are a lot more flexible today and growth has largely been driven by volume instead of yield. To safeguard revenue, many newspaper owners are expanding inventory by launching weekly category-specials and by entering new regional markets.
Print will continue to be an important medium for the advertisers but will grow at modest levels. Clearly, regional print is the future and new markets will be the key to growth.
T 'Gangs Gangadhar is managing director, MEC India, with input from Harshdeep Chhabra, GroupM India