Newspapers should go for value addition to reclaim lost advertisement share

Newspapers should go for value addition to reclaim lost advertisement share
SS Kulkarni

Although India is one of the few countries where newspaper circulation continues to show signs of growth, especially in the regional language segment, the advertising revenue of print medium, newspapers and magazines has been declining in recent years as brands move to other competing platforms, such as television, web and radio. This trend is significant since the Indian newspaper industry still relies heavily on advertisements unlike the West where subscription revenue has surpassed advertising revenue. One of the ways Indian newspapers can compete with other media, bring back the advertisers and increase the share of advertising revenue is to add value to advertisements from the printing ink point of view. One advantage that works in favor of print is that all the different possibilities of value addition are unique to physical format, such as newspapers.

In one of the sessions during WAN-IFRA conference in Chennai, SS Kulkarni, general manager – technical, Huber Group, India said that this value addition can be done in three ways—by adding sensory effects to the print advertisement, improving the overall aesthetics of the print, and printing with eco-friendly products.

To enhance sensory effects, newspapers can use photochromatic effects in printed advertisements, add fragrance, use effects such as scratch and see, as well as wet and see. These special effects can go a long way in attracting the attention of readers. “All these effects can only be used in print media advertisements so the print media can maximize the advantage these offer,” Kulkarni said.

He, however, added that there are some technological limitations in fully adopting these effects due to the fact that web offset printing utilizes 4-Hi tower configurations and an additional fifth unit will be required to print these special effects. Also, the standard newsprint is rough and achieving special effects on this surface can be very difficult. This can be tackled by ways such as pasting pre-printed labels, screen printing on pre-printed papers. However, this add-on can be generally be done only on the front or outside pages of newspapers.

The second way of value addition is to improve aesthetics, which can be achieved by enhancing gloss and color. By using UV curable inks on lesser absorbent paper, a high gloss can be achieved. Using paper varieties such as LWC paper and GNP paper to print advertisements will help the reproduction of photo-realistic images and enhance advertisments in what becomes a kind of semi-commercial printing. This practices is already in place about a dozen newspaper groups in the country.

Newspapers can also add value to the advertisements by opting for eco-friendly products such as mineral-oil-free inks. Before the newspapers are recycled, the de-inking process results in the hazardous waste inks going into land fills, which is very harmful for the environment. By printing with mineral-oil-free inks, brands can become more eco-friendly and reduce their carbon footprint. Mineral oil free inks are 100% recyclable and after de-inking process, these inks can be used in fertilizers.


The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

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