Sunday, September 20, 2009

Print holds out in India, Internet advertising set to grow 32%

It’s good sometimes to take a break from the routine. At the end of it you feel refreshed and recharged with energy. In companies and offices abroad – more so in the developed countries – people are encouraged to take an occasional break and they do. So, I did for a couple of weeks, a break from blogging after Madras Week. And then suddenly I realised that how things have changed in recent years after the advent of the Internet. That if you are in the media and if you run a blog, you can’t really afford to keep away for two weeks, not even for a day, if you can help it.

It got me thinking really. A broad sweep of the past two decades shows how the face of the media has rapidly changed in India and yet how an old habit like reading the newspaper has gained ground. When CNN brought the Gulf War to millions of viewers in India in the early 1990s, many had prophesied the beginning of the end of newspapers. Today, almost 20 years later, the newspaper industry is flourishing in India; it is the second largest in the world, after China.

Currently, India's print media is estimated to reach more than 220 million people. However, in a country of more than one billion people, about 360 million literate Indians do not subscribe to a newspaper. This, coupled with rising literacy, could mean promising times for the print media in the years ahead.

According to the 2009 FICCI- PricewaterhouseCoopers report, print media saw a growth of 8.7% in 2008 over the previous year – Rs 162 billion (USD 3.38 billion), from Rs 149 billion (USD 3.1 billion). Data released in the Indian Readership Survey 2007 show that India’s population had grown by 92 million (12.5%), and media audience had increased by 86 million (18.4%).

Indeed, the FICCI- PricewaterhouseCoopers estimates that India’s print industry would grow from 162 billion rupees or $3.38 billion (2008) to 213 billion rupees or $4.44 billion in 2013. The relative share of newspaper and magazine publishing (87%) is not likely to change, says the report. The advertising segment, the report points out, will grow at 16%, compared to growth in circulation revenues of 8%. Circulation revenues are set to touch Rs 62 billion (USD 1.3 billion) in 2012, from Rs 58 billion (USD 1.2 billion) in 2008. The magazine publishing market is expected to reach Rs 29 billion (USD 604 million) in 2013 (Rs.21 billion, USD 438 million in 2008). Internet advertising is projected to grow by 32%, touching Rs 20 billion (USD 417 million) in 2013, from Rs 5 billion (USD 104 million) in 2008, increasing its share of the advertising pie to 5.5%.

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