Dear MxM by Jaisurya Das: Will print media be history by 2030?

10 Dec,2015

By Jaisurya Das


Greetings and Welcome to Dear MxM, this 50th week of Circa 2015..


Last week, I was at an Arijit Singh concert having a lovely time listening to this young lad crooning away on a cool winter night. My wife who is a big fan of his singing was rapt in attention while I looked around to visually entertain myself, scanning the audience environment from time to time…


Besides the aircrafts that came into land almost right behind the stage, what caught my attention were the flash bulbs going off almost every minute, one place or the other. Rather impressive, considering that singers don’t always make great models !


However, soon enough, one realised that it wasn’t the talented singer who was being photographed at all. This was the ‘ Selfie ‘ brigade at work, with synchronised regularity. It’s amazing isn’t it, how this little lens up front has changed lives. Almost everyone I know takes selfies. Vanity is back!


So much so, that the very moment you upload one onto social media, you have your friends commenting and ‘liking’ it . Interesting it is, considering all these years no one probably even cared to look at photographs this way…


I didn’t for sure, though one probably makes up for it now through the ‘like’ revolution ! I must confess though, that I still haven’t figured whether the ‘like’ only means ‘like’ or does it mean other things too….!


Anyways, I like it. So to hell with the rest.


This huge revolution is probably the beginning of a much larger social media-led generation of consumers. The possibilities are endless. I may want to test a face cream and ‘lo and behold’ I have a thousand people in every city who volunteer instantly, selfie post included !


The propensity to make oneself highly visible is a quality that marketers love, and sooner or later, leverage too. Undoubtedly social media has created a monster of sorts, an inclusive world where every move, every emotion must be shared. Soon enough the number of likes will control the way we shop, we eat and we live…Its already begun hasn’t it ?


Brace yourself, your life has just got all inclusive..


‘ I am ‘ ceases to exist ; What does is ‘ We are ‘.


Unity Is Strength I am told. Amen.


On that note, let’s hope you ‘ Like ‘ this week’s thought-provoking Questions from the cities of Mumbai, Chennai, Chandigarh and Hyderabad. We enjoyed answering these, as always !


Read on my friends…


I was just reading on this website that the marketshares of digital are going to catch up print by 2020. So does this mean that print media could be history by 2030?

I am not too sure personally if they would equal print in less than five years, however they will come very close.


No, print will not die for at least another three decades and I am certain about that. I can speak only about our own country and as I have said before, print is a religion in India. Regional press will only see increasing numbers, what with literacy rates growing in small towns and villages. No wonder then, that the largest-selling newspapers are Hindi and Malayalam brands.


Digital itself needs brick-and-mortar print to build audience and this is an accepted fact today. Do you seriously think start-ups and e-commerce firms would spend astronomical amounts to use print if it didn’t deliver?


Print will live on for a long time, believe me!


What according to you is more important for News media – Content or Sales?

Thanks for writing in my friend. This is honestly much like the pandora’s box and fuels much debate each time, yet what has to be said, must be said !


Content is the driver for media, news or otherwise.  It will always be, and sweet nothing can change that.


Having said that, I must add that the best of content means nothing unless its marketed well to its target audience. Sales and marketing are integral today to the success of any brand, be it Media, Music or Maggi!


Giving opportunity to sample your offering and providing opportunity to own it is a natural process a brand has to go through. There is no shortcut.


Consumers know exactly what they want and most often pre-decide on their purchase. This is the challenge the marketer faces today.


Yes, sales is critical and getting your act in this domain is of paramount importance. There is no point blaming the market, the economy and PM Narendra Modi each time.


High quality content coupled with a smart salesforce will give you nothing less than a winner!


Why is that large newspaper organisations aren’t able to innovate with apps like In Shorts?

Good question! Honestly, I think they can but they don’t, beyond a few columns of news briefs etc.


Couple of reasons for this in my opinion are:

a. There is the eternal fear with most brand extensions…  ‘Will it cannibalise our existing pie? ’

b. 175 meetings to discuss the concept and create a feasibility report. By which time you have several ‘in shorts‘ launched and downloaded !

c. ’ Where is the advertising model?‘  Sometimes it’s important to figure what it can do to help you in a million other ways..


From what I have seen, the digital world is lightning-paced and there is little time or patience to work around red tape or have long protracted discussions.


This world moves faster than we can imagine..


Newspapers will take a while to adapt to the sheer pace of digital media which is all about aggregation, one way or the other. Newspapers on the other hand are into segregation more than anything else !


This may not be the best forum to ask this question, but I don’t really know who to put this forth to. Can I request you to ask someone with adequate knowledge of medicine and give me a response. I was told the other day that the ink on newspapers can be toxic so the vada pav or bhelpuri that is wrapped or served in newspaper or magazine paper can be injurious to health. Is this true?

Unfortunately the answer is yes. Printing ink can be toxic and is not meant for packaging or consumption. For the academically inclined: Printing ink or Printer’s Ink as it is called contains hazardous chemicals such as Benzidine, Naphtylamine etc which are potentially carcinogenic. The hot oil from all the fried snacks we buy (wrapped in newspaper) can facilitate the seeping of these chemicals from the ink to the food.


Additionally, inks contain, pigments, stabilisers and photo initiators that speed up drying.


Children and senior citizens are more prone to get affected by these toxins and should avoid consuming food stuff wrapped in newspapers. Ideally, no one should.


Carry your own brown paper bag the next time you crave for that hot vada pav. You may just find it tastes even better..


So, avoid that snack and take good care of yourself..


Thank you my friends for writing in week after week…We honestly feel proud to be making a difference, no matter how small it may be.


We will live on, and as always, return next week , same day, same column, more complex questions and much more answers. For it’s, Dear MxM and we care !


Do Inbox your questions to mentioning Dear MxM in the subject line.


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