One Big Idea by Mitrajit Bhattacharya: How print can buck the trend and last forever

31 Jan,2013

By Mitrajit Bhattacharya, President & Publisher, Chitralekha Group


Print is thriving in India and will continue to do well in the near and distant future. India is a complex market and often “one formula fits all” does not work here. However, there are some learnings, which if applied as needed, could make the medium take maximum advantage in future.


  • Learn from Bollywood to contemporize: Do you recall Amitabh in Lal Badshah or Govinda’s yellow pants? Bollywood, in the 80s, was exactly what the thinking class abhorred. It did things to cater to mass through single-screen theatres. With multiplexization, Bollywood has gone through a sea change in how it shoots, edits, promotes (both AV and print) and finally uses its PR machinery. Print medium needs to contemporize and go beyond. Even the small-town readers expect the best both in terms of content and production, and I am sure the regional biggies are geared to take up this challenge of the hinterland.
  • Customize: Print has this amazing quality of customization which TV does not. Eventually, there will be technology to deliver customized products to key audiences. And even before customization, one needs to know the reader beyond his/ her SEC/ MHI and other demographics.
  • Growth in literacy: The world example does not work here at all. Most of the western world is 100% literate whereas large parts of India still gains substantially in literacy in the coming two decades or so. This will continuously add newer readers in the hinterland. Regional media will reap the rewards even more.
  • India resides in Tier II and III cities: Look at the growth of India in smaller towns. They are adding more consumers than the metros for most product categories. Traditionally catered to by TV, these markets can be effectively reached by local editions/ splits tailor made for them.
  • Growth in luxury market: India is booming. The next decade will belong to growth of the luxury brands’ market in India. No one covers luxury better than print. Still concentrated in the metros and largely capitalised on by the English press, this trend will also move to the Top 10 cities in the near future. The print medium is all geared up to take maximum advantage of this boom.


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