Anil Thakraney’s Hard Knocks: Are newspaper owners in sleep mode?

03 Oct,2011

The latest IRS figures are in. And as usual, newspaper edits get busy boasting about rise in readership. Or, they’ll work out ingenious ways to interpret the findings, to keep their board of directors and advertisers in good cheer. By the way, I often wonder if everyone’s readership is healthy, who’s taking the fall? Anyway, that’s not the point of my article. And neither do I wish to discuss IRS’s methodology.

 

What I want to say is this: Newspaper proprietors in India should be thrilled even if there is no growth for their brands. India is that unique nation where dailies continue to thrive even as they struggle to survive in the rest of the world. And that’s purely because, as Indian Express chief Shekhar Gupta said to me in an interview for GQ mag, and I quote: “India has more space for media than most societies. People read multiple newspapers. We may see a shakeout, but not in the near future. Simply because of the demographics. India is adding nearly three crore literate people to the market every year. That’s the size of a large European country.”

 

Shekhar is right. India’s large population base and rise in education will sustain newspapers for a pretty long time. But the proprietors will do well not to get complacent and sit on their laurels. Because the global trends will sooner or later catch up with India. Soon the tech revolution will hit India hard, and many newspaper brands will be compelled to shut shop.

 

And innovations and out-of-the-box thinking must start NOW before it’s too late. Sadly, I haven’t seen any signs of that so far. Almost every single news that gets ‘broken’ on the covers of our dailies, I have already been made aware of the previous night by TV and/or Twitter.

 

So people, do gloat if you wish on the IRS figures. But also do take care to smell the coffee.

 

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PS: I badly wanted to stay inside the Bigg Boss house this time. But couldn’t think of anyone to kill, rape, molest, abuse or cheat. So I didn’t qualify. The loss is all mine.

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3 responses to “Anil Thakraney’s Hard Knocks: Are newspaper owners in sleep mode?”

  1. Tarun Nangia says:

    Thanks for being frank ! In the Delhi market for English general newspapers, two papers are leading (who also get great advertizing), the newspaper at the third spot has less than one third circulation of the other two and the rest merely distribute some thousands….

    No matter, how much big talk and statements, newspaper – wallahs make, they have a lot of catching up to do…as far as the market is concerned.

  2. Arun says:

    Indian newspapers will not have to worry much for the threat from digital media as India is among the few countries in the world where Newpapers have excellent ‘raddi-value’ and looking at the hyper competition on annual subscription schemes between the top three in metros print will always have an edge over digital.

  3. Lynn says:

    anil, anil, anil!!!!!!