Media industry in India was badly hit by the global economic downturn and yet it is only their greed and ignorance that is to blame.
On a sultry February evening, the high and mighty of print media in India, namely, Indian Express’ Shekhar Gupta, HT’s Shobhana Bhartia, and TN Ninan of Business Standard dropped for a visit at Shashtri Bhavan to meet Anand Sharma, then the MoS for Information and Broadcasting.
The meeting was unusual as the triumvirate of Gupta, Bhartia and Ninan were meeting the Minister not as condescending journalists but as supplicants pleading for a bailout especially for the newspaper industry due to pressures borne out of the economic slowdown.
Apparently, the minister gave them a kind ear and promised to look into their demands. Within a few days, the government announced a stimulus package that comprised a waiver of 15% agency commission on DAVP advertisements and a 10% increase in rates for the ads released by the DAVP.
Certainly, it must have been a major embarrassment for the proud Czars of the Fourth Estate to mollycoddle the very government they are prone to stick a knife into. But ever since the tide turned in the US markets and thereby the rest of the world, the media industry in India and elsewhere has been under severe pressure in terms on increase in input costs and a massive reduction in revenues.
Not such a ‘fine print’
Indeed the inputs costs in terms of newsprint prices have really ballooned over the past year so or so– by around 60% since 2007. According to recent study done by FICCI-KPMG, the sudden escalation in newsprint prices is one of the primary reasons why the newspapers have suffered. The study estimates the print media industry to be collectively worth around Rs. 17260 crore for 2007-08, and due to the pressures from within and outside the collective growth of the industry has been pegged at a paltry 7.6% and projected to grow by some 6% in the current year. Continue reading