Prabhat Khabar Goes For Full-Fledgedexpansion On Digital Platform
It has been quite some time since Prabhat Khabar started making its presence felt on digital platform. But the newspaper is now gearing up to expand the platform to the fullest. RK Dutta, Executive Director, Prabhat Khabar, tells ALL ABOUT NEWSPAPERS about how the newspaper has transcended into digital regime.
Prabhat Khabar, since its inception in the year 1984, has been one of the widely read Hindi dailies. The newspaper has a strong readership base in three states—Jharkhand, Bihar and West Bengal. “From time to time, in order to make Prabhat Khabar up-to-date, we keep following new trends and innovations in all aspects, be it page layout, adoption of new machines and technologies in our plants and digital platform, being the latest,” says RK Dutta, adding that the latest trend the newspaper has caught is the digital platform.
“Today, digital platform is need of the hour for every newspaper house. This is where readers are connected faster and borderless,” comments RK Dutta. He adds that in today’s era of smart-phones and other high-end gadgets, presence on digital platform is must for every news media company. In this respect, Prabhat Khabar had recently recruited its team of digital media professionals.
RK Dutta mentions that they have entirely changed the CMS software and done quite a number of upgrades for taking the newspaper to a great extent on digital platform. “When it comes to providing digital content by a Hindi daily, we are aiming to be on top first in eastern India and expanding further to other regions. Digital platform will help us make the expansion possible as this medium is wide and vast,” he explains.
Prabhat Khabar is known for its serious content and core value. In this respect, RK Dutta says that the digital contents of the newspaper will maintain the tradition. Talking about target audience, he informs that there is no such rule that they will make digital platform only for millennial or younger generation. He continues, “Who says digital platform only for young people? Old or young, people of all age groups nowadays are equally engaged in digital medium. For example, everyone owns smart-phone.”
When asked about monetisation of the platform, RK Dutta mentions that it’s quite a challenge as of now. But he states that what they are going to make first is to fully familiarise the medium with readers. Prabhat Khabar has already developed its own app, which is now upgrading to another level as per the requirement and fulfillment of their readers.
The focus of Prabhat Khabar is digital transformation of local and regional news, with a plan to create digital first newsroom, understanding the need of audience and diversifying business models. The newspaper is emphasizing on regional and district newsroom culture through which they have to access centralised national content that allows them to focus on local reporting with smaller online teams.
A big thing what Prabhat Khabar is going to do in near future is change of its look, both in print and digital. Regarding the newspaper’s print editions, RK Dutta is quite optimistic about the sustainability of the medium, despite all these intensifications on digital platform. He says print media in India, even if the growth may not happen in the way it was, will stay for sometime in the country as there is increase in literacy rate in tier-II & III cities where room for printed newspapers still exists.
Basic custom duty on imports of newsprint reduced to five percent
During the Union Budget session Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced the reduction in basic custom duty on imports of newsprint and lightweight coated paper from 10 percent to 5 percent. She stated that the levy on newsprint has put additional burden on the print media at a time when the sector is going through a difficult phase. In the last budget, the government had imposed 10 percent basic custom duty on newsprint and lightweight coated paper.
The Indian Newspaper Society (INS) had earlier proposed the government to save the newspaper industry by scrapping the 10 percent duty imposed on newsprint and uncoated paper used for printing newspapers, and lightweight coated paper for magazines. INS had announced that the total consumption of standard newsprint in India is 2.5 million tonnes and indigenous mills have a capacity of just 1 million tonnes.