As per TAM AdEx data, while ad volume for English newspapers climbed 17% in 2022 compared to 2021, it grew 4% for Hindi publications
After a two-year lull, the ad volume growth for the print industry is finally reaching the normal levels. Ad volumes in both English and Hindi dailies have been on the rise since 2021. Also, the circulation numbers too are returning to the pre-Covid levels and the ad revenue figures are rising for most of the publications.
As per TAM AdEx data, ad volume climbed 14% for English dailies in 2022 compared to the pre-Covid period and 17% compared to 2021, while it declined 7% for Hindi dailies in 2022 compared to the pre-Covid level and increased by 4% compared to 2021.
While the ad volumes for both English and Hindi dailies are showing growth, English newspapers have witnessed higher growth than the Hindi ones. Industry insiders say the discrepancy between the two is mostly attributable to the substantial volume recovery seen in English dailies, as well as the fact that key advertisers in Hindi dailies are retailers and local advertisers who haven't recovered fully yet.
According to Subramanian S, Senior Vice President, Times Group, the disparity between the two is primarily due to the strong volume recovery seen in English dailies during the first six months. TOI, as the market leader, has been the primary driver of this volume, with a 21% increase in volume compared to pre-Covid levels.
On a category level, he shared that telecom, consumer durables, BFSI, e-commerce and political ads lead the pack. The top 15 English publications have grown 16% compared to FY '20 and 44% compared to FY '22, he mentioned.
Subramanian S further explained that the Hindi readership is mainly focused on rural/small-city markets where the impact of Covid-19 was less severe than in English markets, leaving less room for recovery. “Furthermore, language markets are heavily reliant on categories such as retail, automobiles, education, and pharmaceuticals, all of which have seen volume decreases when compared to FY '20. English papers, on the other hand, are buoyed by strong sales in categories such as real estate, e-commerce, consumer durables, and telecom,” he said.
Expressing similar views, sector leaders further say that while advertising volumes for Hindi dailies may not be growing at the same rate as English dailies, it is important that they are growing, and the industry is optimistic that Hindi dailies too saw a strong growth in both volumes and revenues during the festive season.
Amit Chopra, Joint Managing Director, Punjab Kesari, claimed that vernacular newspapers have actually witnessed greater recovery in advertising volumes than the English dailies. He mentioned that his point of view is based on the data from his organization. Though he declined to share the data, Chopra said that the newspaper industry is witnessing a strong recovery. “Newspaper industry is quite happy with the volumes, and it has largely come back. The growth is strong and I don’t think there is much stress on that account.”
According to Deleise Ross, Sr. Partner - Client Lead, DDB Mudramax, "English dailies have a lot of traction/investments from new advertisers which has led to the growth of English dailies.”
Ross explained that most advertisers get into the medium through large-format commercials, which has contributed to an increase in ad volumes. Furthermore, large traditional sectors are exhibiting indications of resurrection, while mid-sized sectors such as real estate, education, and FMCG are catching up. Ross remarked that the scenario for Hindi dailies is not dissimilar; the only difference is that a few traditional categories have not recovered to pre-Covid levels.
“English newspapers prefer larger-format ads, innovations and newer formats. Also, key festivals and topical events lead to ad sales. This has led to the overall growth, though Hindi publications mostly have local advertisers who are affected due to various factors like price and socio-economic factors,” added Ross.
Predicting the growth for both English and Hindi dailies, Ross shared that on the basis of market predictions, Rs 18750 crore is the revenue that the print category is estimated to clock. To this figure, English contributes 40%, Hindi 20% and other regional language publications contribute 15-20%.
“This forecast is basis the last three years CAGR of 10.8%. The forecast is also that the medium itself will start to plateau due to the increase in the paper/production cost & the fact that the medium is slowly being swapped for newer technologies. The medium will need to look at alternative ways to reach out to the audience, before becoming irrelevant,” he said.
Adding to the above statement, Subramanian S said that following this trajectory, they anticipate good volume growth in FY '23 vs FY '20 and FY '22. “English dailies, in particular, are expected to grow by double digits owing to increased demand brought in by the festive season and an uplift in consumer sentiment as they prepare to leave the pandemic's shadow behind.”
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