Speaking at Media360 India on 11 October in Mumbai, Dolly Jha, executive director - marketing effectiveness, Nielsen urged publishers to be more positive about their print product.
She said, "Print publishers need to portray positive spirit. If you see the kind of investment in digital to prove it works and works beautifully, it’s huge. Print is a great effectiveness medium. But how many publishers have shown that? Very few."
Also on the panel was Pallavi Kanchan, CEO, Verve Magazine.
She believed the feel and look of print is still in demand in the market and print is growing, but at the same time publishers need to embrace digital. "It’s a fact that print for us has grown. I maybe a niche player, but the fact remains the touch, feel, look of print is still wanted by the market. However, yes with the changing eco-system we are in, it’s important we embrace digital and work with it. In the very long run print maybe dead, but at this point of time, it’s not. The reader wants it, but brands don’t want it. Digital may have grown in higher percentages, but absolute numbers are lower," said Kanchan.
Pradeep Dwivedi, CEO, Sakal Media Group, added, "Print is not a black and white movie or a Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jaayenge running in Maratha Mandir. The newspaper still remains the first medium for credibility. In metro-centric markets, there’s a tendency to go to digital. And then people assume the whole market is going that way. But Hindi and other regional languages are growing very well. Most publishers are creating innovations here. It may decline in share of the market but it will continue to grow in absolute numbers."
He added, "There is talk about clients not convinced about print, but at the same time we are seeing so many ads by digitally driven businesses too. So, I think advertiser recognition is there."
Sathyamurthy Namakkal, executive director, DDB Mudra Group, president, OMD MudraMax, added, "In the last one a half decades we are seeing print publishing friends finding one reason or the other to feel less exuberant. First, when TV came they wondered what would happen to print. Then came digital five years ago and the same worry about print came up. And now, I’m still hearing it. Print publishers are lacking confidence. Around eight to nine million people watch Kaun Banega Crorepati. Double that is the readership of the largest newspaper. We need to feel more exuberant of the fact that we’re doing well."
He added, "Revenues will increase, but share will drop. Publishers should find creative pricing for brands that don’t enter the medium. The whole pricing model has to be reinvented if there needs to be a bigger share of the pie for print."
Jackets on newspapers have been a hot topic of discussion and ridiculed in the past. The panel was asked for their views on the same.
Dwivedi's view was: "The number of people who pick up deals from these jackets is quite high. So, it’s a mixed audience. The audience who don't read the ads, would be the same audience who watches a show on DVR without ads or skips YouTube ads. I don’t think jackets take away from reader attention. Even the third or fourth jacket has high value for advertisers and does serve a purpose. We see multiple jackets only during the festive season anyway. Clearly there is a case to be made for occasion specific advertising."
Namakkal believed that multiple jackets simply negate each other, specially when two brands from the same category are advertising it while Jha labelled it as lazy advertising and called for publishers to be more creative without being intrusive.
Kanchan compared this form of advertising to pop ups on digital and stated that the former is better cause cause it doesn't create the same disruption the latter does while reading an article.
Has print lost youth completely?
Kanchan restated that while digital consumption has risen, print is still present. She said, "Yes, the youth consume it lesser than earlier generations used to. Maybe 99 per cent of the consumption is on digital, yet one per cent consumption is there. But, if you take the 35-45 year old, there’s still double digits consumption of print."
Jha added, "The kind of RoI’s we see on print is better than we see on other mediums. TV builds reach, but when you talk about effectiveness, print has an edge. We talk straight about impact on sales. If you spend an x amount, how much do you make on it."
Nammakal called for more spends in measurement of the category. "TV spends about 150 crores in calculating measurement on the same. Print does about a tenth of that. The next IRS is scheduled to release in 60 days from now. The agenda is to continue it without a break. "
The panel was moderated by Shripad Kulkarni, MD, Vizeum.