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"With 7.3% average annual growth projected for next 20 years, India has become the hot spot for multi-national investment. Every global consumer brand would be eager to get a piece of this pie."
How would you describe the main difference between India´s newspapers and newspapers in the US – technical, strategic and emotional?
Again, comparison here would primarily be on the saturation of the consumer market. I take the strategic comparison first. US have established 48.3 million circulations of printed daily newspaper in post recession (early 2010) economy. This may slowly decline again if the jobs do not come back soon. The current population of US is 305 millions. At 1,150 million population (4 times that of US), India has 79 million and increasing printed daily newspaper circulation. With booming consumer market and population growth, the circulation of dailies surely would increase to 150 million and upwards. This is until India completes its growth stage and enters saturation like today’s US. Conservative estimate for this growth phase is till 2035.
Another interesting piece of data is that only 72% of Indian population is literate. The growth in literacy is @ 1.5 to 2% every year till 2026. These are potential circulation growth opportunity in addition to the above figures.
Newspapers in India still are very cheap (average 4 to 8 US Cents) and much thinner compared to US. Many still survive only on cover price. Demographic and geographic diversity with multilingual, multi religious, multi political societies of Indians have deep emotional relationship and trust with their morning newspapers in most local and regional languages. Readership per copy of newspaper is 4 to 6 times that of the western world. Technology that is employed in Print also dynamically varies in India. Basic technology of small scale local and regional print sectors is quite primitive as compared to ultra sophisticated state of the art technology employed in mass production of English and large Major language dailies in India. Such wide varieties of technology would be a contrast to the highly standard technology employed in the US Print media.
„At 1,150 million population (4 times that of US), India has 79 million and increasing printed daily newspaper circulation. With booming consumer market and population growth, the circulation of dailies surely would increase to 150 million and upwards.“
New, offensive strategies
Some newspapers enter the market with new offensive strategies like printing more color, using new formats, new designs and new paper. Do you think this is the right way to counteract the current situation?
All is ok as long as it gives you the so called “competitive advantage”. Competition today is for survival needs. Product variation, both in terms of design and format with value addition would be the next big challenge. Being offensive may well work for some publications to sustain the cutting edge.
In India, color pages increase is essential to accommodate increasing color ads. Major metros are nearing saturation in terms of revenue generation. The markets of tier 2, tier 3 cities and rural mass are increasing in importance. It has become essential to have more color pages for these editions also.
It would be amazing if one analyses the huge innovations in product varieties that came in Indian newspaper market in recent years. Some examples would be flap jackets, 3D print, cover on cover, double panorama, die punching, spot varnish, aromatic ink and many more.
The ease of handling a Tabloid makes it increasingly popular with younger generations. Quick format change and brighter papers are extremely common in India.