The Anchor: A S Raghunath on 5 reasons why print media is still relevant in India

11 Sep,2012

By A S Raghunath


Aam Admi in India is not a global citizen who has easy access to information that empowers him. Imagine him to be from Jhumri Talaiya and India’s best of GDP is coming from those roots.


1. Print in India is an uncomplicated means of individual empowerment. The more the information is on common man’s personal life’s issues, the more empowered he becomes. Print is local, hence it is a tangible means of his empowerment. My aam admi is also as local as the muffasil reporter, whose reports he daily reads, is. Both of them take good care of each other’s empowerment. TV news on the other hand can rattle the Parliament and the nation but it cannot move the individual life of a common person, unless he has fallen in a deep pit or is self-immolating!


2. Despite the fraternity’s doom prediction for the print media in India, our own 21 newspapers brands have made it to the Top 100 global list [basis circulation], according to a WAN list. Of this, five are in English, Six in Hindi, two in Tamil, Two Malayalee, one Gujarati, two Telugu and one Bengali Newspaper. If world newsprint demand forecast is any indicator for the global growth area for the print media, while North America, Europe may have been on sharp decline, but Latin America, South Africa, Australia and Asia are on ever-rise. Asia’s consumption base, which is larger than most continents, the newsprint consumption is up by 13 per cent and is on ever-rise.


3. The pulp version of his news and information delivery is within easy reach of a common man. It costs him less than a cup of coffee, it is also door-delivered to him every morning and the subscriber is entitled to get the entire month’s supply on credit! No advance payment is ever demanded. Moreover, to keep him engaged in reading, media houses also reward him! Does this happen with any other media options in India?


4. If printed news is the first need in the enlightened mankind’s mornings in India, this is also the first luxury that a ordinary man affords himself as he moves up the ladder of social status. Print is also aspirational. Being seen reading a daily in the morning is still considered a more civilized habit than sitting in front of a TV and watching a news channel that hardly allows you to digest anything. An argumentative Indian is best served by reading a topic in the morning on which TV anchors debated last night with eight highly opinioned panelists, whose banters left him completely confused. My common man’s Random Access Memory works faster when he reads and stores it in his hard disk!


5. Take a look at the forces that drive country’s GDP today. The consumer power has shifted base to the more aspiring people residing on the country side. And they are the ones who are ringing in the cash registers for all product categories across the board. Mobiles, durable goods and the other FMCG products categories are finding newer consumers with enhanced consuming frequencies. And print is poised to move in that direction to reaping the newer growth. Advertising revenue stream therefore has to follow where the consumer is and not where the advertising fraternity is headquartered!


William Powers, the author of Hamlet’s Blackberry had said, ‘Paper is the most successful communications innovation of the last 2000 years, the one that has lasted the longest and had the profoundest effect on civilization. About his book he said, ‘Hamlet’s Blackberry is not about circulation or ad revenues not even about journalism or strictly speaking, about newspapers! It’s about the material that newspapers are printed on – Paper’. On the question of future of newspapers, he had said, ‘It seems to me that the question of whether newspapers have a future is related, in a very related deep way, to whether the paper itself has a future!’


The pulp occupies mankind’s mind and heart space. Be it crisp hard currency that gives you supreme confidence or legal papers that affords you security. Or be it a tiny booklet called passport that allows you access as Global citizens, or even the hard copy of your appointment letter that makes you feel more secured in an era of pink slips. Or that neatly folded bundle of joy that you eagerly await every morning for your Random Access Memory’s fill. Pulp and Newspaper are here to stay, dominating your mind space even as you read this on your tablet or computer screen!


A S Raghunath is a senior print media brand consultant based in New Delhi NCR.



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15 responses to “The Anchor: A S Raghunath on 5 reasons why print media is still relevant in India”

  1. Reynaldo Rivas says:

    If in case you are looking for a fillable Gains Form; I was able to get a copy from PDFfiller. It also allowed me to fill out the form, e-sign and print. Here’s the link to the form I’ve used:

  2. कागज आज भी चमत्कृत करता है। नयी किताब की गंध/स्पर्श का मुकाबला नहीं। अखबार उन जगहों पर साथ देता है, जहां अन्य की कल्पना भी नहीं की जाती।
    शायद् हम पुराने हो गये हैं, पर अखबार की सरसराहट का कोई मुकाबला नहीं! 🙂

  3. Harish Chauhan says:

    Congratulation, I agree with your article, its real truth and one should realize the important of ‘paper’ and news paper in their life. Great…

  4. Sirji, this is amazing. I wrote yet another time early this morning, posted it, closed and then reopened the blog, saw the comments appear and then knocked off ::)) Yet again, I don’t see the comments here? Something is wrong!!!

  5. Looks like my comments are lost!!

  6. ASR sir, really liked the post, in scenario where ppl r fast to dismiss both print and TV (partially right). But as u fairly pointed out and i too believe, newspaper is still relevant and very relevant. It still connects with the people. I still feel proud reading newspaper and magazines. Beyond mobility feature, the newspaper gives the opportunity to skip unwanted articles / news item along with option of keeping the news cutting for future observation, while similar features are available in online media. The generation which has grown up with newspaper as daily routine of morning, finds newspaper reading more close and active then any other mode of reading / viewing. Its similar to book readers, despite kindle and e-books. the hars cover books has not lost its relevance, people still read hard cover books and store it as their priced possession, also flaunt it.

  7. IndiaFirst says:

    Dada, first
    of all Kudos to you for coming up with such insightful, rational, thought provoking
    article on the survival and relevance of Print Media ..finely crafted article I
    must say!

    Very lucid
    ,logical dissection, earthy interpretation with dollops of common sense on the
    relevance of print media and why it is here to stay for good .. Such analysis
    was long over due …as the over exposure
    of media with wishes to grab eyeballs has made logic and reasoning a
    passé to much opinionated viewpoints
    …everyone missed the objective..Kudos to you Dada for holding on to facts
    ,logical reason and also interpreting the business sensibilities for why print
    media stands to survive the onslaught of various new found media tools point by
    point …

    Yes, Print in India is an uncomplicated means of
    individual empowerment….We have grown up on print ,it has
    been our staple as breakfast ..within the silence of our own self we get time
    to have our own to read, dissect , analyse , interpret and form our opinion
    thereto with no biases attending to paint
    our opinion otherwise….this feeling will stay on as its embedded in our habit
    also is much needed for the growth and satisfaction of our intellect…That
    makes sense for sustainability and yes business sense too!

    The business
    sensibilities stated by you is more rooted to reality and makes sense for that
    is reality , true its going through a troubling phase coz of the goebellised
    bombardment to make way for other new tools of media grab eyeballs / mindshare
    and for relevance in business..but that passing phase ..Knowing the socio-
    economic and culture fabric of India it has the power to stand up , your
    interpretation stated all the aspects very logically…..Much appreciate your
    excellent analysis, interpretation as to why Print media is more sense and why it is and will be relevant in India
    inspite of all the biases and accompaniying competition …

    Yes I have
    made a long long comment but didn’t want to loose expressing opinion on an topic
    written, crafted in such an wholesome manner seldom we come across …

  8. R.A.Krishna says:

    I so agree! Here, in the UAE, I do not subscribe to any newspaper and in Bengaluru, we get the Deccan Herald. Paid or unpaid news, it is more fun reading the newspaper than seeing the TV or internet, first up.

  9. Sathyamurthy N P says:

    Dear Raghu,
    One of the few insightful articles I have read on Print media, in a long time. Totally agree! Congratulations.
    Sathyamurthy N P, President, DDB Mudramax

  10. Vinod Sharma says:

    Some excellent points by you.

    “Print is local and hence tangible means of empowerment.” This is something guys in metros and cities somehow never seem to pay due attention or give due weightage to.

    To add to what you have mentioned in para 3&4, the newspaper also facilitates social engagement between neighbours and friends in villages and small towns and mohallas where people have yet not become strangers to the guys living next door.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Excellent logic and cogent presentation. I didn’t know that some of the top selling newspapers are Indian vernacular.

    Your article is quite thought provoking. Your point no. 3 is so simple and so stark that none of us would have thought of it. Yet is true that a newspaper is inexpensive (contrasted to its cost production), door-delivered and on credit too.
    Although quite a few newspapers and other periodicals (the world over) may be losing circulation, the printed word is likely to survive a long long time, irrespective of what the doom-sayers might predict.

  12. Y K SHEETAL says:

    Undoubtedly the author has successfully tried to focus on the positive aspects of Print media, I admire his loyalty to the line of work he is associated with, but let me show my concern on several infections, Print Media is suffering from. Paid News, Brand Capital or other treaties, labour law, human rights and labour laws violation(By not implementing Majithiya Commission Report), question of credibility, globalization impact on Media housses(Nai Dunia episode), rampant pollution of yellow journalism and other episode must be discussed in this article. Anyways, My humble request to the author to please let people know the negative aspects of wide market of Media. Because Media is manufacturing consent, and Print Media play a vital role in this irony. If Print Media is representing the sound of Government that Its an extreme tragedy for common people because they seem to be cheat.

    With Regards:

  13. Anil Kohli says:

    Hi ASR,

    It is a well established fact what is imbibed via reading by an individual lasts longer and has a stronger impact than an oral or a visual message.

    Recall value is also very high, what is in written form gains credence as being logic is open to personal interpretations & also available for reproduction under different circumstance.

    This is one of the major contributors to our life long process of learning. Reading also transports us to our very special zone where we are disconnected from the real world and are very active in dissecting each word that is before our eyes.

    This exercise is more a reflex than deliberate. This relaxes the mind as we strive to comprehend the written prose.

    There is little doubt, despite all the technological advance reading a newspaper in the printed hard form will always score heavily over the rest.


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