Today, the morning tea ritual of the father hooked to a national daily, the kids curiously scanning through the colourful images in the supplement while the mother engages herself in Page 3 happenings, has altered... drastically. For most of the loyal user base, reading hours are now confined to the daily commute; for others, the sheets have been replaced with displays.
DB Corp's flagship brand Dainik Bhaskar's recent circulation expansion initiative - Jeeto 21 crore - aims to revive the dying newspaper reading habit. The campaign, featuring Salman Khan, revolves around the theme 'Life Badal Jayegi, Boss' and aims to engage readers and garner interest among non-readers.
Kaacon Sethi, CMO, Dainik Bhaskar Group, disagrees with the common belief that print circulation is impacted negatively by digital media's relentless march as the primary medium for content. She says, "The digital medium works as a supplement and compliments print media. The overall advertising pie has been temporarily impacted due to demonetisation, GST and Indian economic performance over the last few years."
Quoting the facts, she states, "The latest Indian Readership Survey results establish that readership of print is consistently growing across all age and income groups. The same is also validated through the Audit Bureau of Circulation's data showing CAGR growth of around 5 per cent for the last ten years in circulation for all newspapers put together. For Hindi, CAGR is around 9 per cent."
About the campaign, she says that it is for adding new readers and increasing the penetration of print in all markets including Hindi, Gujarati and Marathi. The campaign is also aimed at the retention of the large number of DB Group's current base of readers in all markets.
In an era when information of all sorts is available with a click and e-papers and aggregated apps (Inshorts, Dailyhunt, Zig, New360 etc.) are feeding the interested with the latest updates from across categories and boundaries, switching back to the lengthy print format could be met with scepticism.
We turn to industry experts for comments...
Sanjeev Kotnala, brand and marketing advisor, says, "The use of a celebrity will not help bring back lost readers. However, the use of a celebrity will continue to help the newspaper brand get more and more people to subscribe during the contest period to participate. Hopefully, some will continue reading or subscribing even after the close of the contest. Such circulation-driven contests are a regular practice across newspapers. They do reflect in a spike and net gain."
He adds, "Newspaper reading habits are changing rapidly. The era of scanning the whole newspaper is almost over. People have selective reading. They want fast, summarised, to-the-point references on topics of interest and relevance. In effect, the intensity, frequency of interaction and time devoted to the newspaper is decreasing."
Discussing the evolution of digital media and its impact on print, he says, "Digital has definitely impacted newspaper readership. A lot of relevant news is available and consumed before the newspaper even comes to you. However, I do subscribe to the view that it still remains the media of trust, sustained follow-up and detailed analysis. The question is, with the reduced attention span and duplication of content, has the hunger and desire to access content in newspapers decreased? The answer is... yes!"
Chetan Mane, vice president, business and strategy, Whyness Worldwide, says, "Earlier, print was the way people would connect with happenings from around the world, every single day. This role is now played by digital, especially with the high penetration of smartphones and social media. This has led to a decline in the number of people turning to print. Print needs to re-invent itself from a content perspective if they want to remain relevant in the digital age."
Talking about the recent changes in the print media industry, he says, "Given that print is one of the most expensive mediums to advertise in, it is largely dominated by categories that are looking to generate leads and have big budgets. Hence, we mostly see the print medium being dominated by categories such as real estate, e-commerce and automobiles where the revenues are huge and generating walk-ins or leads is most critical. Because of this, the original approach of using print for brand building through persuasive copy and visuals has almost disappeared."
Client: Dainik Bhaskar Group: Kaacon Sethi, Anup Agrawal
Creative Agency: Famous Innovation: Amogh Kanade, Nishant Singh, Akhshay Ordiya, Shranya Ravichandran
Production House: Phoenix Content Studio: Rajesh Pavitran, Rohit Tungnait , Maaz Kazmi (Director)
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