What is it about newspapers that even in an age where television and internet are among the most preferred mediums to consume content, readers keep coming back to print? Is it the old charm, or the trust that newspapers have built over time? In the third session of the second day at the 4th Annual INMA South Asia Conference, panellists discussed what makes newspapers so special.
Venkat said, "With the evolution of television, even print has evolved, as it has constantly fought for consumer mind and revenue. In addition, newspapers have also expanded their presence through supplements, special issues and by increasing the number of editions. The good about newspapers is that the product can be sampled; there is a touch and feel factor that works with newspapers. Also, there is flexibility, that is, it's available across the country. Recently, newspapers have begun innovative ways of advertising, for example, space jacket and flyers."
For Kaul, what's good about newspapers is that publications are now looking at providing customised solutions to advertisers. Marketing teams are working together with several companies to come out with unique ways to grab attention.
According to Mathew, it is content, consistency and credibility that drives print. He added, "It is true that television and internet are the two mediums used by audiences to consume news, apart from print. In a scenario like this, print has to coexist with both the mediums. Thus, publications will have to converge newsrooms to keep the cost down. At the same time, the investment in content has to be high, as it is content that will drive all the mediums."
"Nevertheless," he stated, "What makes newspapers a preferred medium is the product's credibility. Newspapers are a vital link to our culture. Also, community building is strongest in print. Newspapers add value to news and readers have the choice to read various sections like politics, sports or technology."
Mathew opines that while new media is preferred by many readers, it's still in its early stage.
For Eapen, the fact that everything about newspapers can be quantified, be it circulation or readership, is one of the main reasons why advertisers keep coming back to the medium.
Hence, if people believe that the newspaper industry in India is a sunset industry, the discussion only proves that the contrary is true.