We are back in business now!

The news media industry as a whole plunged into deep contractions in the April-June quarter of 2020 as the nationwide lockdowns crippled the mindset of printed newspaper subscribers who eventually cancelled subscriptions in fear of the transmission of the virus on the surface of newsprint. It eventually caused a massive dip in circulations of newspapers and ad volumes for every single publisher. The contraction continued in the second phase as well, but not in the way it was in the first phase. After the storm, we now feel the respite as the industry is fully in business.

Even before the pandemic, the Indian economy was already slowing down, with deficiencies evident in both consumption and investment demand. However, unlike the western countries, the news media industry, particularly the print media, in India has been on the growth path in recent times. With vernacular newspapers are on the growth curve, there has been steady progression in the industry seen in the immediate aftermath of the stringent lockdowns.

In a recent market survey, it has been estimated that around 15 percent of readers of printed newspapers switch to vernacular editions because they trust on the regional publications. In the survey, a particular region shows that 60 percent of respondents (readers) are found be reading local dailies for gaining extra knowledge on common topics or subjects. In another region, near about 33 percent readers go for vernacular dailies for authentic local news. On other side, the survey also reveals that the digital platform has gained a new momentum as 57 percent of readers in the sample use news apps for the same.

It is quite obvious that every cloud has a silver lining and every crisis also presents an opportunity. Given the prevalence of loss in business during the pandemic, print media have started playing vital role as our effective medium for advertisers and marketers for brand promotion and taking business to where it was in the pre-pandemic market. In the market survey, some findings show that print newspapers are considered to be the most effective medium in driving brand awareness, particularly for auto, smart-phone, finance and education companies.

Not just news but also for contents, readers continue to expect more from printed newspapers. In such scenario, the industry is now gearing up to fulfill what readers want in the print media world. Some landmark events and conferences in India have scheduled to provide a networking platform where industry stalwarts can discuss in-person about fresh innovations and revival of business in the post pandemic. Every one of us shouldn’t miss such events at any cost. It’s now time to decode the effectiveness of in-person events which we missed for a long time.

With our understanding of the existence of a huge group of readers who never lose their thirst for print newspapers in the news media eco-system, we also understand that print can continue to be as effective as it was before it got severely impacted by the pandemic. Despite the short-term downturn print media must be back with a bang!

SM Dutt
[email protected]

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