Print media still emerge as credible medium to influence brand perceptions

COVID-19 pandemic happened to be the game changer for the print media. Despite the drop in readership data and interrupted circulations during the nationwide lockdowns printed newspapers have been emerged as one of the credible mediums in India. Here is a sneak peek into this fact through a market research report.

With a focus on investing the current print media market, ‘Meaningful Media – Media That Matters—a report by Havas Media Group India—has revealed the latest whitepaper that decodes the effectiveness of print as a medium and the shifts in readership behaviour during the pandemic period. The research involved stratified random sampling method from YouGov’s proprietary panel which consists of 200,000 active panelists in India, who are in the age group of 21-50 years, male and female with a current subscription to at least one daily newspaper, selected from 14 key cities across the country.

According to the market report, although close to 40 percent of the readers discontinued newspaper subscriptions during the pandemic, mainly due to factors such as the risk of infection through transmission of the virus on the newspaper’s surface and change in media consumption patterns, the time spent in reading newspapers increased significantly, especially in the age group of 41-50 years. The results revealed that print media still ranks third, after television and social media as the most credible source of news.

Vernacular dominance

Over the recent past, approximately 15 percent of newspaper readers shifted to regional or vernacular publications, on the heels of trust and tenability. This has also given way to some interesting trends. For instance, in the south, nearly 60 percent readers sought print as a medium to gain more knowledge. While in the west, around 33 percent readers pick up printed newspapers to find local news. The Havas report also reveals that there was a huge uptake of news apps. Around 57 percent of the respondents in the survey use news apps.

Reason to read

Apart from being a daily habit, some of the top reasons for readers to read newspapers continued to be gaining more knowledge, staying updated about current affairs and improving language skills. Content related to science & technology, global affairs & health remained some of the preferred and most-read sections following general news.

Medium of choice

A category-wise deep dive on the effectiveness of the medium for advertisers and marketers revealed that print media plays a key role in influencing brand perception, from quality to price to trust, especially within the automobile category. Some of the findings specific to the auto category revealed that print medium has the highest effectiveness in driving brand awareness, of nearly 55 percent for first car intenders. For repeat intenders, print helps drive brand preference across the funnel. Car advertisements were the second most recalled after mobile phones, which signified the highest amongst repeat intenders.

Maruti, Hyundai and Tata Motors ranked highest among the most recalled auto brands relying on print media. Consumers paid higher attention to advertisements in newspapers, and only 10 percent skipped them. Apart from the auto industry, print media continues to be the preferred source of medium to drive efficacy for other categories like smart-phones, finance and education.

Growing expectation

Owing to the lockdowns, there was dip in print media readership. However, the consumer’s expectation continues to grow stronger in print newspapers in terms of content and not just news. Sanchita Roy, Head of Strategy, Havas Media Group India stated that the pandemic has created a wreaked marketplace that has led to dynamic consumer habit this has become even more critical.

With the onset of the pandemic in 2020, the print media market suffered a huge loss especially on the back of the cancellation of subscriptions and several other reasons. Hence, it became pertinent to understand not only the consumer shifts that was happening in the media ecosystem but also understand if print continued to be as effective as before in impacting business outcomes. In a conclusive note,

Sanchita asserted that despite the short-term de-growth, print media is back with a bang.

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