WNC 2009: The power of print

By Rahul Sharma , afaqs!, Hyderabad | In Media Publishing | December 03, 2009
Newspaper owners agree that digital is important but print still makes the world go round for them

As newspaper companies struggle with ways to maximise their revenues from the digital platform, the paper still is an attractive business for the owners. The session on 'The Power of Print' at the 62nd World Newspaper Conference in Hyderabad on Day 3 saw panellists deliberating on the traditional medium and its power, not just in terms of the credibility and trust of the readers but also for the fact that in most markets, the newspaper still garners bulk of the advertising spends on all media.

& #BANNER1 & #For Bennett Coleman & Co. Ltd (BCCL), the company that owns India's largest read English daily, the Times of India, the paper is not just a newspaper but a brand. "It is a reader centric brand and affordable. We have expanded distribution and deliver the product at home. For us, a newspaper is like an FMCG brand," said Ravi Dhariwal, chief executive officer, publishing, BCCL.

The company earned less than 15 per cent of its revenue from circulation in 2008. The company pursues a pricing model that results in the paper being 'virtually free'. Dhariwal clarified that it is important to sell it at some price in the Indian market, even though it was low. He said he remains extremely bullish about the print business.

Another interesting case study was that of the Portuguese daily newspaper, i. The paper, which was launched recently, has become very popular in a short span of time. "The newspaper is targeting a high class, sophisticated audience, something advertisers also like," said Martim Avillez Figueiredo, publisher and editor-in-chief, i.

He said that i hopes to break even in cash flow by 2014. i was launched as a daily newspaper, which looks very much like a magazine, at a time when the circulations of all dailies in Portugal were falling.

The other panellists at the session included Mark Hollands, chief executive officer, Newspaper Publishers Association, Australia and Gerd Finkbeiner, chairperson, executive board, Manroland AG, Germany.