Tuesday, 10 September, 2013

50 Fastest growing Indian dailies – third annual review

Ladies and Gentlemen, it is time for our third annual review of the 50 Fastest growing Indian dailies. The list as in earlier years is compiled from an industry perspective with an eye on rising circulations, new plants and quality ratings (membership of Ifra International Color Quality Club 2012-2014), environment achievements, innovations, increased color pages, turnover and new editions. Attributes such as the reported ABC circulation in the past three years up to July-December 2012 were also considered for selection although we have mainly used the more publicly available NRS readership data. We have also added one more detail to the rating parameters which we are referring to as Transparency – how much information( including circulation, readership and financial) is readily available for the general reader.

The Indian newspaper industry is amongst the most vibrant in the world, and if it could have a heart of its own we surely would be seeing it pumping life and infusing hope to the entire newspaper fraternity worldwide. We continue to see launches of new dailies and new editions and with the impending state elections in five states and the Lok Sabha elections due next year, newspapers are going to remain hot for some time to come.

But the industry is not without its problems. With massive devaluation of the Indian Rupee, the newsprint prices, which are mostly imported, should be scaling new heights – at least Rs. 40,000 per ton already. With such pressure over raw materials, it will not be easy for the newspaper houses to increase circulation or launch new editions and new dailies with 'predatory' or 'introductory' pricing. Every major newspaper we have talked to is talking about reducing circulation although they are all talking about increasing color. With the high price of newsprint it hardly makes sense to print black and white when advertisers want all color pages.

Hopefully the situation may improve and the Rupee may earn some stability in the long run which should infuse some life back to our GDP growth rate. Apart from issues concerning the economy, the Indian publishing scene seems to be poised for greater heights. And with the general level of literacy set to improve over the years, penetration of newspapers is bound to improve in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities, towns and villages. Whatever may be the medium of choice, people will read more and more and although matching the levels of penetration as in Scandinavian countries is only a distant dream, news houses should remain buoyant and encouraged.

Krishanu Dutta from the edit-blog page of September 2013 issue Indian Printer and Publisher

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