Date
23 March 2017
Expanding readership in smaller cities is prompting Indian newspapers, particularly the vernacular dailies, to expand their operations. Photo: Reuters
Expanding readership in smaller cities is prompting Indian newspapers, particularly the vernacular dailies, to expand their operations. Photo: Reuters

Indian dailies thrive amid growing readership in smaller cities

India’s newspaper industry continues to thrive, unlike the shrinking print media in many developed markets, as more people from smaller cities join the ranks of the middle class in the country.

Growing readership and robust advertising revenues are prompting newspapers to launch new editions or expand existing operations.

“Newspapers in India are in a sweet spot,” Rajiv Kental, a vice president at Hindi daily Amar Ujala, told the Wall Street Journal.

“The advertising market here has the potential to triple,” he said. “Newspapers have years of growth ahead of them.”

Amar Ujala has installed new presses at its plant on the outskirts of Delhi, a move that will allow the newspaper to boost its print run by a third.

Since 2011, the paper’s circulation has risen 64 percent, to around 2.3 million, while ad sales are up 61 percent, executives claim.

Newspapers receive the biggest share of ad spending in India, at roughly 43 percent last year, according to the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers.

Television’s share stood at about 38 percent.

Amar Ujala and other local vernacular dailies are focused on a rapidly expanding niche, catering to newly prosperous people in the smaller cities who prefer to read in their native languages, the Journal noted.

According to market research firm Nielsen, sales of consumer goods in rural India are growing 1.5 times faster than in big cities and are projected to post an eightfold increase within the next decade and reach US$100 billion.

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