The latest round of IRS (Indian Readership Survey) results are in recently. At the outset, these survey figures try to give an idea of how many and what category of readers read a particular magazine, newspaper or listen to a particular FM radio channel. Millions and millions of rupees are spent out of marketing departments based on these readership surveys. But what is the ground reality? What is the ROI? and what is the way forward?

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Background

If you’re a marketer, obviously you need some kind of barometer to judge whether the monies that you’ve spent or running advertisement spots on TV, newspapers, magazines or online has worked for you or not. But since it’s almost impossible to measure that whether every single person who’s watched the latest advertisement for Toyota Corolla during latest FIFA world cup has been positively influence by the advertisement or not, Everyone from the marketers to media agencies have decided to spend money based on an approximate estimation of number of people who watched the advertisement; thereby believing that

If a person has watched my ad –> He/she is more likely to buy the product.

However, in reality, it hardly happens. The person might simply also

1. Skip: Not see the advertisement even though he flipped through the newspaper

2. Dislike: hate the advertisement – hence, deciding against buying your brand.

3. Ignore: be uninterested in the advertisement and ignore it

4. Irrelevant: not be the target consumer for the brand being advertised. A married man is out of marriage market, and hence is unmoved by matrimonial advertisements. (Yes, it is true)

Still this game of pouring billions of dollars into advertising continues. Why? Because there is no sure-shot way of measuring the ROI. Yes, some of you might try to argue that Digital is the panacea of all these evils but at the end of the day.. it also has its limitations. Also, just because something can be measured better does not make it better impact medium. Would you like watching the latest round of FIFA matches / IPL matches on your 42 inch HDTV or a tiny youtube screen on your laptop?

What is the reality like?

Since I’m currently working in the Indian Media & Entertainment industry, I’m much more aware of inner workings of the industry. IRS conducted by MRUC (Media Research & User council) surveys close to 250,000 readers and tries to find out about their lifestyle, their household habits, and the kind of publications, magazines and media channels they consume.

This is what the IRS mainly aims to measure:

ATL chain

However, the survey faces three sets of problems:

Survey respondents

Reaching out to the Affluents: IRS survey is close to 50-60 pages long and takes about 4-5 hours to fill on a conservative side. Now, I doubt the possibility of too many working affluent Indians willing to spend 5-6 hours with a market researcher just to finish a survey which is not going to help his/her life at all. In lower income households, it can be assumed that goodies worth Rs. 50-60 ($1 -$2) might act an incentive to sit through a tortuous survey, but about people who are Senior executives, CEOs, etc.  it’s an even more difficult task.

Niche Publications and magazines

Almost 90% of niche magazines in India have opted out of IRS. The reasons are not difficult to understand:

Competition In the short run, it is very difficult to dislodge the market leader who gets the lions share of Advertising spends. So, for example, Times of India get the highest amount of money in Mumbai and combined with its excellent marketing, it generally ends up getting more readers also. Hence, Smaller newspapers like Indian Express, etc. suffer since their readership figures are relatively lower and hence are hammered for rates. Similarly, in case of magazines, a possibility of lower readership figures in future readership figures signals doom in terms of its rates with advertisers.

Short term profitability focus Most of the niche lifestyle magazines in India claim to print 5-10 times of their actual print run. Seriously, I’m not joking! So, even though most of them actually print 15000-30000 copies, they generally claim to print in excess of 1 lakh copies. Why? Because most of the niche titles in India are licensed titles from their parent principals . So, in case if the foreign owners of the title (e.g. let’s say Maxim or Harper’s Bazaar principals) decide to withdraw title from the Indian market or want to license their title to some other player in Indian market, all the investments made by the local partner would go down the drain. Hence, the orientation of Indian partner shifts to short term profitability where instead of investing in brand, they’re focussed on profitability from the day one of operations.

Conde’ Nast India Group (the only foreign magazine group which has 100% parent ownership and no licensing arrangement) tried to play this game slightly differently by claiming to get their publications Vogue and GQ audited by KPMG. But again, even they didn’t opt for getting validated by IRS. Hence, I somehow refuse to believe their circulation number of 50000 and 30000 for Vogue and GQ respectively; since these circulation figures might be simply for the peak months such as October or December only.

Clients and Media Agencies

Commissions The media agencies earn their revenues by getting a 15% cut from the client spends. So, for them, any kind of advertising spend is good as long as they can justify it to the client. Even though none of the niche magazines get covered in IRS, relevance of their content and context to certain product categories means it acts as a good brand building and imagery vehicle for few specific set of audiences. Hence, media agencies and clients take calls on niche magazines based on their own judgements. Hence, the discrediting of IRS as an audience measurement currency gets complete.

What is the Future

IRS is the only currency as of now in India for measuring audiences in case of print. Hence, it would continue to prevail. However, it can not be an excuse for lazy marketers and media agencies who don’t want to go to the actual ground market to understand consumer pulse but just want to look at some excel sheet figures to figure out consumer demand.

However, as newer medium evolve and audiences consume their media through various platforms such as mobile, web, tablets, and televisions etc. a pure print readership survey would lose its significance even more especially in case of high focussed mediums as niche magazines. However, the good thing is that digital is slightly more measurable and hence, 10-15 years down the line, I believe the readership surveys would become a completely different kind of animal – becoming more of psychographic and user behaviour analysis oriented in terms of how readers interact with content, brands. As far as Niche magazines are concerned.. I believe they’d reside more and more on iPads and Android tablets of the world while their print existence would become a thing of luxury targeting a slightly older age group of readers.

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The movie ‘3 Idiots’ is supposed to have broken all records of total money earned for a Bollywood movie with collections rumoured to surpass Rs. 100 crores in its initial 4 days of run. One of the critical factor, I think, behind these huge collections is the high ticket pricing strategy employed by Raju Hirani [Raising the evening show ticket prices in multiplexes by 30-35% and morning show ticket prices by 100%]. No doubt, Raju Hirani created an entertaining movie and the audiences, yearning for a decent movie since a long time, flocked to theatres. But the high ticket prices did play a role in the high collections earned.

In another story, Moser Baer has started raising the prices of its home video CDs and DVDs. Hence, 2 yrs back, when a home video CD was sold for Rs. 24 and a home video DVD for Rs. 35, the prices today have been raised for CDs and DVDs to Rs. 50 and Rs. 99 respectively, although in select markets only as of now. And the overall revenue made by Moser Baer post this price increase seem to suggest that this increase did help Moser Baer in making more money.

The point I’m making here is that increasingly, Indian consumers are becoming price inelastic in some way, when it comes to consuming media of their choice. The affluent Indian living in metros doesn’t mind paying even upto Rs. 2000 for a family movie-out, or mind paying higher price for a genuine movie experience. To use an analogy, today the mobile companies in India are making more money than the music companies in India, because when it comes to getting music on a mobile, one can get the music of his/her choice right on the spot without any fuss.

The lesson for Indian media and entertainment players is that changing demographics along with rising incomes is leading to a change, in which creating a value product becomes vital; However, once you’re sure of the value of the product, don’t be afraid to experiment with the price of the product. At its core, a new movie is always a high risk product for a potential viewer because a movie’s actual worth can never be ascertained without consuming it. However, in case of blockbusters like ‘3 Idiots’ or ‘Avatar’, a certain amount of risk is reduced for the viewer due to the positive word-of-mouth and past associations with star cast/director/etc. of the movie (in case of ‘3 Idiots’, the factor being Aamir Khan followed by Raju Hirani’s team). Raju Hirani seems to have learned this lesson well and charged his audiences a higher ticket price for this risk reduction. That’s why today, he and his producers Reliance Entertainment are laughing all the way to bank.

30611-Laptop2 Internet is believed to be one of the most measurable  mediums;  however, the fact that almost everything on the  internet can be  measured makes understanding internet  measurement all the more  complex. There are several  methods of measuring audiences online;  however, none of  these methods in isolation give one a complete    understanding of online activity.

The four distinctly different types of online audience  measurements  available are:

1. Site-Centric, in which the website server log entries are the immediate subject of analysis;

2. Ad-Centric, in which the ad server log entries are the immediate subject of measurement;

3. Browser-Centric, in which the contents displayed in PC browser are the immediate subject of measurement;

4. User-Centric, in which the person using online media is the immediate subject of measurement. (Richard W. Goosey)

This article shall focus on Site-Centric and User-Centric, which are the most common methods followed in the industry and analyze their advantages and limitations.

Site-Centric Measurement

Site –Centric measurement is a census –like method which can measure almost every site related metrics like no. of visitors, no. of page views, clicks, time spent on the site, time spent on each page, bounce rate, etc. This kind of measurement is very useful for website publishers as it gives them a very comprehensive way to measure all the activity on their site. This method can track page by page activity of a visitor right up to the conversion page in case of an ecommerce site. This data is really useful to understand which sections of one’s website are visited most and identify sections which may not be doing very well. It is one of the most reliable and accurate methods which captures both in house and out of house usage of the internet. Capturing out of house consumption of media is generally in most other mediums.

Site-Centric measurement generally works on a cookie mechanism. The moment one visits a site, a cookie (a small file) gets downloaded on their system and tracks all their navigation on the site. This data is reported back to a server which aggregates all this information and makes it available to the advertiser or the website owner. There are several paid and non-paid third party packages that one can use to track their website data. Google Analytics is the most commonly used application which gives one a very comprehensive analysis of their website traffic and activity free of cost.

Though this method is one of the cheapest and most accurate ways to measure internet audience, it does have certain limitations. The biggest limitation of site-centric data is the fact that it does not tell us anything about the demographic profile of the user. One does not get to know the age, gender, etc. of the user whose website activity was tracked. For Advertisers, knowing the demographic profile the visitors of a website is a must. Also, this method cannot differentiate between two users working on the same machine; hence, it is believed that site-centric method measures devices and not people. Apart from there are some other limitations, like a refreshed page or aborted pages are also counted. Since the system mainly relies on the cookie mechanism, in cases where users delete their cookies often – data can get skewed.

User-Centric Measurement

User-centric measurement is the more traditional panel based method, where a sample is recruited and their internet behaviour is tracked. This system gives one detailed demographic data about the users in the sample and hence advertisers find this data very useful. Also, because the demographic data available in this method is similar to the data in most other traditional mediums it is easier to do a comparative study of media consuming habits of particular audience using this method.

In this method a panel is recruited and they are generally asked to download a tracking file on their computers. This file then helps track all the online activity of the user. Though this method too can track out of home activity of a user but this is subject to the fact that a respondent downloads the required file on their computers. There have been several cases where it has been known that users do not download the file on all the systems they use and this again brings in error in measurement. One of the advantages of this method is that it is conducted by third party and hence any biases are believed to be absent. ComScore and Neilsen /Net Ratings are some of the common bodies providing this kind of measurement data.

The biggest limitation of this method is the fact that the kind of data tracked is restricted by the size of the sample. It is expensive to recruit a large sample and hence data captured for a smaller sample is projected over a larger universe. Also, the motivation for respondents to download the file that allows tracking of their online behaviour is often questionable. Many people are unwilling to have their online usage tracked due to privacy concerns.

Way Forward

Both user-centric and site-centric measurement methods have their own advantages and disadvantages; however none of them in isolation is a complete solution. There is a need to integrate the advantages of both the methods and come up with a more comprehensive solution that will not only accurately capture all kind of online activity but will also give the publishers and advertisers rich demographic data about users. It is this comprehensive data that will help people better plan their media campaigns and will also allow for comparability of activity and behaviour across all mediums.

Several research organizations are coming together to share their expertise around digital media tracking and measurement. Efforts are also being made to link it with traditional media metrics. Hence, one expects an integrated method of measuring audiences online to soon evolve and provide publishers and advertisers with a more complete solution.

With so much being written and said about social media success and its potential, marketers today almost feel compelled to make their brand’s/product’s presence be felt on these mediums. Stories similar to that of social networking site Facebook  overtaking email as the web’s most popular communications tool ( March 2009 source: Neilsen Global Faces and Network Places) are sure to attract marketers.

True, the medium has great potential and almost every major brand is out there. However, before you hastily plan to follow suit, it is important that you have a strategy in place and are aware of the differences of this medium from the traditional media.

Here are a few things that marketers should keep in mind before advertising on social media.

Does your brand/product fit in?

One primary question that every marketer must ask before advertising in any medium is whether their brand is a good fit for that medium. This question becomes all the more important in case of Social Media as the marketer has very little control over the content of this medium. “Before committing to a social media campaign, ask yourself whether you are happy for your brand to sit alongside individual profile page images of last night’s heavy partying,” says  Laura James in her article. No matter how lucrative social media may seem, it is pointless spending advertising monies on a brand that just does not fit in with the kind of content users expect on these sites.

Do you have an objective for your social media campaign?

Once you have agreed on social media being the right platform for your brand or product, the next thing to do is to chalk out a clear objective for your campaign. Very often companies think that their traditional media advertising objective will work just as well on social media. Some companies even go to the extent of directly using their TVCs or print ads on social media. While this may work in some cases, it is not always the best thing to do. Ideally, one should put enough thought and have a properly planned objective for social media that is measurable. Based on this objective the company should plan their campaign. This is important because the type of content available on social media is different from traditional media and so is the media consumption.

Have you defined measurable success parameters?

Based on the objective of the social media campaign, one should also define success parameters. While defining these success parameters companies need to ensure that these parameters are measurable. In cases where a direct measurement of a certain parameter is not possible, proxy variables should be used. Most social media campaigns have one umbrella goal of ‘user engagement.’ However, user engagement by itself makes no sense unless it’s measurable. Marketers should avoid terms like ‘user engagement’ which has been much abused in social media and instead look at other parameters like no. of comments, no. of tweets, forwarded links, or some other similar activity that actually shows engagement. Marketers need to understand that social media advertisements are not only about views, clicks and click-throughs. One needs to look beyond the normal online advertising metrics and come up with parameters more suitable to the differential user behaviour on social media.

Are you regularly conversing with your audience?

One of the biggest mistakes that a marketer can make on social media is launch a campaign and forget about it. Social media unlike most traditional forms is not a passive medium. Launching a campaign on social media is only the first step in the process. Marketers need to ensure that they have a team in place to regularly monitor their social media campaign and the user activity around it.  This is a medium where users will share their experience whether good or bad about a product/brand. All user sentiment and feedback should be given due respect. Companies need to be aware of the fact that people will talk about their product/brand online and it only makes sense that they engage with the users to positively influence what the users have to say.

Are your campaigns creative and engaging?

A study done by Jam/My Space early this year in UK said that about 26% of social media users said that they already felt bombarded by too much clutter/advertising. It’s important that marketers ensure that their ads on social network sites are engaging and not distracting. A good idea can be coming up with interesting Facebook/Orkut applications around your brand which are also entertainment for the user.  While using banner and other form of display ads using background colour similar to that of the site that you are hosted on can often work wonders as users often think they are a part of the site. If an advertisement can add value to a user’s overall experience on a site, nothing like it.

Are you being honest in your campaign?

Social media users are extremely savvy and will quickly spot any fake claims made by companies. Hence, marketers should restrain from launching any fake blogs (‘flogs’), sites, communities etc. Nor should they make any fake claim about their products. The chances of any fake activity being quickly identified by users are high and the consequences disastrous. Sony’s fake blog ‘www.alliwantforxmasisapsp.com’ which they claimed to be launched by a PSP fan was identified by users as Sony’s own imitative within hours.

Are you prepared for criticism?

Social media is a dynamic medium where users generate and control most of the content. In spite of all efforts that marketers may make to be culturally sensitive and truthful, they still may offend some users. Also, there could be situation where a users blog about some bad experience they have had with your product/brand in the past. Any social media campaign is vulnerable to criticism from users and hence marketers should be prepared for it. Several companies like Dell, have acknowledged the criticism they have received from users and engaged with them on social media to rectify the damage.

Advertising on social media is exciting; it has great opportunities for brands but at the same time it has several risks if you go wrong. It is important to understand that your brand is different from others, what worked for someone else may not work for you. Hence, any marketer who plans to enter social media should do so with a well planned strategy and reason. Joining the race because everyone else is out there is just not reason enough!

BingHoo

After declining Microsoft’s $44 billion acquisition offer in early 2008, Yahoo has decided to reject its own search technology for Microsoft’s latest ‘decision engine’ – Bing. Though the deal is to some extent a celebration of Bing’s success, however, it isn’t solely so. Yahoo’s motivation behind the deal has been to reduce costs by outsourcing the search technology and improve their cash flow thorough the ad revenue sharing model that has been worked out between the two companies.

The highlights of deal between the two companies are:

+ The agreement between the companies is for 10 years.

+Microsoft’s Bing will be the search technology used on all yahoo sites. However each company will continue to run their display ad businesses separately.

+ Microsoft will acquire a 10 years license of Yahoo’s search technology and can use their expertise and algorithm to better their search engine.

+Yahoo will continue to syndicate its search affiliate partnerships.

+Yahoo will become the exclusive worldwide relationship sales force for both companies’ premium search advertisers. Microsoft’s AdCenter will be the platform for both the companies self serve advertising. Prices for all search ads will continue to be set by AdCenter’s automated auction process.

+Microsoft will share revenue for the traffic generated on networks owned and operated by Yahoo.

The pact between the two companies is of immense interest to all SEOs and SEMs. It’s been a while since the Google has had any real competition in the search space. Advertisers and SEOs are of the view that this deal will bring in competition and be beneficial for the industry overall.

The current search market shares of the leading companies in the search space are as follows.

Comscore Search Data

Source: ComScore June 2009 Report.

Below, I have tried to analyze the impact of the Microsoft –Yahoo deal on the different companies.

Yahoo

One is not too sure if the alliance will impact Yahoo’s long term business positively. Industry analysts fear that the announcement of this deal will make Yahoo another AOL – a company that owns vertical categories like finance, news, etc but does not own any content. And worse, a company that is dependent on a third party for major chunk of its revenue. Yahoo investors are already reacting negatively to the announcement. This is visible in way Yahoo shares have declined after the official announcement. But again with Yahoo’s search technology deteriorating, a pact similar to this was perhaps the only way for Yahoo to survive the next 10 years.

Microsoft

After three failed attempts at improving their search technology and taking on Google, Microsoft’s release of Bing gives them a moment of respite. Moreover, with Yahoo’s decision to use Bing as their search technology on all their properties- they will now become the number 2 player in the space with a combined market share of about 30%. Though this number is big enough to lure advertisers, a lot will also depend on the fact that whether current Yahoo users will continue to be loyal to the company once it switches over to the Bing technology.

The real success of the deal for Microsoft will be realized only if they manage to get a share of the 75-78% search ad spends that are currently spent on Google properties or their partners. Once the integration happens, initially one does expect a bit of the advertising share to move from Google to Microsoft & Yahoo. However, Microsoft & Yahoo will need to ensure that they are able to deliver quick results for their advertisers and sustain them. Search industry has strong loyalists and not too many people are willing to risk their advertising dollars. If Microsoft & Yahoo fail to provide the early pool of advertisers who try them out good value for their money, there are chances that it may all backfire. Dissatisfied advertisers who then move back to Google will perhaps not return.

Nevertheless, this is perhaps the best chance Microsoft has had in years to take on Google and one expects that they will invest a lot of money and talent to ensure that they make a mark this time. The Yahoo-Microsoft deal is really about Microsoft vs. Google!

Google

Is Google too worried? Perhaps, not. In spite of the alliance between Microsoft and Yahoo, it will take them years before they can match the overall strong value proposition Google offers to its advertisers or reach any where close in terms of market share.

Also, the deal will come into effect only after it has gone through the strict scrutiny of the US, Department of Justice.  There are chances that the logic Microsoft used a year back in opposing the deal between Google and Yahoo, be used against them in this proposed alliance. Google too will be asked their view on the deal, but perhaps they would not have any strong objections. However, even if the approval is granted, both companies will take about 18 to 24 months to actually carry out the entire integration which will be a messy affair. Yahoo search engineers will move to Microsoft and it will take time before things settle down. Google no doubt will use this time well enough. One can expect them to improve their search product and further strengthen their proposition and market share.

For a company like Google this isn’t the first time someone has tried to challenge their position. Will this time be drastically different? One does not have enough reasons to believe so. The Bing-Yahoo deal may bring out an unequivocal second player in the space, but it would not change the game. The alliance comes as no big surprise to Google and one can be sure that they are well prepared.

With the digital revolution gathering pace in the country, content providers are now looking at innovative measures to make money off the DTH platform. The latest move in this regard is being undertaken by  UTV Motion Pictures Plc.’s. Their new movie Phir Kabhi will be exclusively released on the direct-to-home (DTH) platform next month. According to Livemint, the movie made on a budget of 3 crores, will not have a theatrical release and shall make money exclusively on a pay per view basis. The move seems to be based on sound logic as any movie typically spends 30 – 40 % of its budget on promotions, and small budget movies investments in theatrical publicity and distribution costs many times do not justify the revenues they bring in. So using the DTH platform for distribution seems like a sensible idea. Let us look at the scenario from a numbers point of view.

Before we get down to the numbers though, the three factors which could influence the outcome of such an experiment are

a) No of DTH subscribers in India

b) Average time spent in watching Television

c) Average revenue per user (ARPU) for a DTH operator

The Business Standard reports that the number of DTH subscribers in India stand at 13 million as of May 2009, growing steadily at 18 % quarter on quarter.

The movie is expected to sell between Rs 50 – 75 per view. For the sake of our calculations, let us assume that the movie sells at Rs 60 per view. The DTH operators would take a cut in these revenues, which could be estimated at a 30% . Thus UTV would make Rs 42 on every view.

With a budget of 3 crores, it would require 7.15 lakh views for the movie to recover its production cost. That forms about 5.5 % of the total DTH base in the country. A figure which seems achievable and we could be optimistic about the movie making money.

Let us now consider the average time spent watching television as a parameter. According to a WARC report in May 2009, Indians spent an average of 18 hours a week watching television.

Time spent per week

A look into the genre breakup of TAM ratings would reveal that GEC’s (Hindi and Regional), followed by News form the bulk of the viewing for the Indian audience.Though this data is for CS ( Cable & Satellite) homes, there is no reason to believe that it would vary significantly for DTH homes.

Genre break up

It could therefore be a difficult task for Phir Kabhi to fight and be a part of those 18 hours of TV viewing. They would have to rely strongly on the DTH operators pushing the movie to the viewer.

The moment we add ARPU’s into this equation, the picture doesnt seem as promising. In the DTH business, the figure remains as low as Rs 150. Expecting a DTH user to pay 40% of his money for single piece of content is a tall order.

So on two counts out of three, the situation seems a bit dicey for UTV to take such a move. Though, it would be interesting to see how things play out when the movie gets released.  The experiment seems interesting, and there is much hope for the future. According to E & Y estimates, the DTH subscriber base would stand at 25 million by 2012. By then, a rise in ARPU’s could just do the trick for both the DTH players as well as content providers.

The recent Indian Newspaper Congress 2009 has been debating about how the newspaper industry has been faring and what is the road ahead for one of the oldest mediums in a billion plus semi literate country. Worldwide the print industry is in bad shape, with the digital revolution being attributed as the single biggest cause for the death of the industry. Closer home, things haven’t been going great as well. The latest round of IRS 2009 threw up strong indicators as to where we are headed. Just a snapshot of the English dailies would indicate that most of the newspapers, including pioneering and long standing brands are seeing decline in their figures (with the exception of mint). At best, they have flat growth curves. The question we need to ask ourselves is where exactly did the newspapers falter. As I see it, they have failed to address a few key issues

1. Failure to Anticipate change

The web arrived in India more than 15 years ago,blogs made their inroads into cyberspace 10 years ago, cyber cafes started cropping up in every nook and corner of the country. Instead of having some foresight and anticipating the rise of the Internet, newspapers chose to ignore. In an era of visual appeal, newspapers lose out on what they can offer to a reader who lacks time. No longer does everyone has time to read 1000 word editorials, that too when news has been dissected the previous day across mediums. A classic case of an ostrich burying its head in the sand.

2. Failure to reinvent:

By making light of the Internet, newspapers sat pretty on their circulation and readership numbers. Never did they bother to change their formats, services and layouts. It was assumed that the Indian consumer would happily eat whatever was served to him. Had the newspapers kept in line with the times, they would have understood that their competition is not the other dailies in their vicinity, but the Economists and the Wall Street Journals of the world. Add to that the rise of citizen journalism, news aggregators, blogs and message boards, it was surely some serious competition cutting into their share. Not only did the consumer evolve, but so did the advertiser. Falling advertising revenues today is not just an equation of circulation and readership figures, but a function of engagement, which I shall explain next.

3.Missing out on the engagement bandwagon

While the country grew at a brisk pace, the number of brands invading people’s lives took a jump. Thus came about the need to break the clutter and engaging your audience. Again, print lost out to Internet, mobile and TV (to some extent). The average time spent on reading a newspaper started coming down. It should have been enough to press the panic button.

4.Missing the pulse of a young India

Even if we overlook the other factors, the single biggest factor which lead to the decline is that newspapers failed to reach and connect with young Indians. In a country where we are unwilling to pay for music or software, expecting us to pay for content, is a bit too much of misplaced optimism. The industry will be run by advertising revenues, always. There is a need to reinvent the medium, and make it relevant to the youth. We needn’t look far, as the FM Radio industry in India is galloping towards growth, at a time, when radio as a medium was pronounced dead.

5. Regional is the way to go

Clearly, its the regional newspapers who have been showing positive signs. English is read or understood by very few people. Out of a base 8,235 crore, only around 3 crore read English.The regional dailies have been growing at a healthy pace,bucking the trend. This could be attributed primarily to two reasons. First, the lack of regional content online is an issue which is yet to be resolved. In a country where at least 40% of the population speaks Hindi, Tamil content is more read across the country than Hindi. So,a lot of regional content consumers frankly dont have much of a choice. The second, is that the intersection set of the Internet savvy consumer and regional content consumer is so small, that it may not make sense for anyone to look in that direction. Not yet, but with increasing internet penetration in India, the story may play out differently in the coming years.

All obviously is not lost for the industry, as we are still amongst the most vibrant print media economies of the world with newspapers being launched every now and then. What needs to be done today is to embrace the change around us. A strong brand will endure the test of the evolution of media, provided it takes the right steps ahead.