Dainik Bhaskar Group’s Girish Agarwal talks about how regional newspaper industry is growing while English newspapers are recording a dip in readership
Due to the spread of Covid-19, print media registered a decline in distribution during lockdown. At the same time, digital news platforms recorded a high growth. Thus as a change of strategy, print reporters, besides writing articles for newspapers have begun to contribute for websites. “In the Covid-era, a new dual trend has set in. While people read newspapers in the morning, they go to the news websites or apps throughout the day in order to keep themselves abreast with the situation. Similarly, news publishers have also adapted to the situation wherein reporters provide bytes for the news sites to be able to break news. This is further followed by a comprehensive, well-researched article in the newspaper,” Girish Agarwal, director, Dainik Bhaskar Group, said. He was speaking at the 16th Marketing Conclave held by industry body Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), virtually.
When asked about the fact that readership of newspapers is declining, Agarwal pointed out that while English newspapers are registering a decline, regional newspapers continue to flourish. “The eight metros are dominated by English newspapers while the rest of the country is dominated by regional newspapers. The drops that have been reported by various surveys, has taken place in the English reading markets, primarily due to saturation. Regional newspapers, on the other hand, have been steadily growing in both readership as well as revenue,” he stated adding that all the regional newspapers are operating 80-85% on circulation.
According to Agarwal, it is not a matter of dominance between print and digital but a matter of content and relevance. “Today, paper is the preferred medium for news, tomorrow this might shift to TV or digital. At that time, as a publisher, we need to provide consumers with what they are looking for, which is content. Publishers need to understand that viewers are simply looking for content, may it be on newspaper or on digital platforms. Hence, I believe it’s not a question of which platform will prevail but rather which one will provide better content,” he added.