Offshoring publishing business will double to $1.2 bn by 2012

Written by R Ravichandran | Chennai | Updated: Jul 4 2009, 06:06am hrs
Due to changing corporates pattern, existing economic climate, poor spending on advertisements and high printing costs have pushed global publishing houses to look at India for more offshoring of publishing services. India, the world leader in offshore publishing services with 85% of the $780 million global market, will see its revenue from this segment will touch $1.2 billion by 2012 as against $660 million now. India distantly followed by the Philippines and others including China, Vietnam and Sri Lanka, said Vivek Shenoy, an analyst with ValueNotes, the Pune-based leading research agency tracking publishing outsourcing industry in India.

In an interview with the FE recently, he said: The global publishing industry is seeing challenges as never before. Despite being driven by different sets of challenges and revenue models, almost all publishing segments are being threatened by the economic upheavel and the digital revolution.

While dwindling subscription and ad revenues are posing a survival challenges for newspapers and magazines, decline in the government funding amidst economic challenges is affecting the revenues of the publishhers, particularly those involved in publishing science, technology and medical (STM) and educational areas, he said.

Escalating costs of production and print, changing customer preferences, the need to adapt, exploit and invest in new media technology are the key challenges that are forcing publishers to innovate for survival, which in turn become a boom for those involved in publishing offshoring services in India, he pointed out.

According to Rahul Andrews, Head, Outsourcing Practice of ValueNotes, The global STM publishers have been offshoring for over two decades now in India, hence the offshoring concept is not just well-established but is a key component of the production process for these publishers. Over the last few years publishers in other segments have begun to offshore to service providers in India and the Philippines.

India has a strong publishing history and number of publishers with all capabilities to suit the multinational publishers. We have nearly 140 publishers involved in this offshoring providing services with 35,000 strong workforce, with the manpower ranging between a minimum of 100 people to a maximum of 10,000 coupled with a good knowledge, he said. Out of which there top five companies including HOV Services, Thomson, McMillan among others. We expect the manpower to grow strong to touch 55,000 by 2012, he added. Shenoy further said that globally all types of publishers are experiencing severe cost and competitive pressures and the need to digitize. The ability to change and adapt existing business models is crucial and being driven by falling revenues and increasing costs, competition, changing customer preferences and the advent of new media technology.

While the Indian companies providing services ranging between content, copy editing, data storing, design and technology services, these companies charge billing rates anywhere between $8 and $30 a hour depend upon the nature of the job they undertake and they offer significant services, Shenoy said. India holds huge opportunity on free press services, digitisation of content, data storing, creating contents library etc, he added.

It is well known that Indian BPOs are handling a range of services for a variety of publishers in the US and the UK. There has been a steady rise in the range as well as complexity of the services provided over the last few years, in terms of volume, value and applicability to multiple publishing segments.