Print Media Trends

Print Media Trends 2022-2023

East or West, Newspaper is the best!

The onslaught of Digital Media made a significant dent in the fortunes of print media, with people consuming news and content like never before during pandemic Covid 19. As some habits are classic and never lose their appeal, so is the habit of reading newspapers and magazines. A large chunk of the population which has grown on reading newspapers and magazines was eagerly waiting for the industry to rebound. We are glad to notice that it is on the growth trajectory…

Indeed, the major news and content-consuming population went digital but there were other challenges too for print media like a drop in revenue, rising newsprint prices, weakening dollar impacting the import of newsprint and its subsequent shortage, and resistance from consumers.

Now, with Covid subsiding to significant levels, there is a ray of hope and we are witness to some promising figures which speak volumes about the might of print media:

  • The print media is likely to clock a 20 percent top-line growth to Rs 27,000 crore next fiscal, aided by the low base and the rising advertising and subscription revenue.
  • TAM report noted that the print industry has already recovered 82% of the pre-Covid levels and posted just an 18% drop in ad volumes in 2021, as opposed to 2019.
  • In terms of pricing, there has been a 90-95% correction in 2021.
  • Ad revenue, which accounts for 70 percent of the sectoral top line, has recovered sharply after the second wave of the pandemic, supported by the festive season and state elections.
  • A jump in advertising could lead to an increase of up to 25 percent in print media revenues in FY23.

 Vernacular Print Media

Amidst the prevalent socio-economic-political scenario of the country and even globally, overall, vernacular media is poised to rule the roost. We witnessed the might of regional publications in the past elections and how these mobilized the trend and changed the course of the future polity. All this & more led to a strong recovery of vernacular press and it continues to ride the wave.

Language advertising has become more significant than in the pre-Covid era when we are watching the impending elections from close quarters and regional media is that lens. It is going to gain momentum with a rise in audience attention and become a significant vehicle in Hindustan’s hinterland, in particular. There are rising opportunities with economic recovery, people’s participation, opening of offices and saturation with digital content. It will certainly open doors for newer and stronger opportunities.

Overall, for print media, ad revenues and prospects are picking up, especially driven by 2021’s festive season, and there is interest from a slew of new brand categories which realize that print still has a broad bandwidth across demographics and geographies.

Ad revenue, which accounts for 70 percent of the sectoral top line, has recovered sharply after the second wave of the pandemic, supported by the festive season and state elections. The impact of the third wave was milder this year.

Challenges before Print Media

The weak dollar and sharp increase in newsprint (imported) are proving to be a double whammy for the sector. The operating margins of print media companies are seen contracting to 6-6.5 percent next fiscal from 9-9.5 percent this fiscal because of elevated newsprint prices. This is despite rationalization of newsprint intake and expected increase in cover prices, reveals India rating report.

The print media industry imports over 50 percent of its total newsprint demand. Russia is a major exporter, so its war with Ukraine has impacted the demand-supply situation and led to rise in newsprint prices, the report states.

This could slash the EBITDA margin of print media players by about 300bps in FY23. Revenue, however, could increase 20-25 percent year-on-year during the period, led by a strong jump in advertisement revenue, according to India Ratings and Research.

Indeed, times are transforming, as aptly expressed by Mr. Mohit Jain, BCCL board member & President INS,

Even Facebook still advertises in newspapers.”

Excerpts from Exchange4media report.

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