Standard newsprint and trust drives the newspaper market across the globe

Standard newsprint and trust drives  the newspaper market across the globe
Anu Ahola

The demand for standard newsprint is rising and the powerful and responsible journey of newspapers around the globe is seen declining. Nevertheless, print remains one of the most trusted product. It is one of the finest tools for direct marketing. As stated by Anu Ahola, senior vice president, UPM, Germany during her Wan-Ifra 2017 session on ‘Improved Print Products and Distribution Models.’

According to her, change in the media world is change in the paper world. The trend is declining especially in the newsprint. In the US, the decline started around the year 2000, in Europe around 2007, and there was a drop in growth in Asia and the Middle East as well. In the western markets, the local papers have not been able to take off in this situation.

Online advertising spends
Sharing her views on online advertising spend, Ahola said that paper is driven by advertising expenditure and the trend in Asia-Pacific is the internet. China has reached an all new level of internet advertising. Around 60% of the mass media spends accounts to online media whereas in India, digitization has begun reaching out to 10% of media spends in the online medium.

Demand for paper
Considering spends on newsprint, the demand for paper can be seen following the development in the newspaper publishing. Also the improved newsprint has shown moderate growth since 2015. In Europe, the last two years witnessed more demand in paper due to paper-based target marketing. According to Ahola, “In Europe, we receive the same demand for papers in direct marketing as compared to what we receive for magazines and newspaper publishing together. Coming to stats, it will be 11 million tons for direct marketing and 6 million tons each for both newspaper and magazine publishing. Interestingly, paper-based direct marketing has not been declining to the extent to which publishing arena has been declining. In fact, the demand for newsprint is driven by the direct marketing use. We have also started seeing the biggest share of standard newsprint used in the share of direct marketing.”

Sharing her views on marketing trends, Ahola said, “In terms of impact of marketing material, direct marketing is quite efficient as it creates an effect of reinforcement through products; for instance, catalogs collected and stored by people at home is comparatively better than the reach of the internet, which only offers you a glimpse of your product while you are online. That’s the beauty of direct marketing and paper.”

Pulp, paper and printing is better
Paper is a recyclable product and can be recycled up to 65% globally; in Europe, some have even managed to reach 74%. The ICT industry, on the other hand, generates 40 million tons of waste every year, of which only 20-25 % is recyclable.

Paper is trustworthy
In a recent study conducted in North America, people voted for newsprint as a trustworthy medium of news. World over the regular cash flow of publishers is coming from print. Citing an example of how the printing industry is evolving, Ahola said, “A chef from Netherlands had a small business who gave a small supplement with the daily newspaper which later became more popular and was developed into a magazine, thus lending it a longer shelf life and a finite product.”

2023 promises an interesting ride for print in India

Indian Printer and Publisher founded in 1979 is the oldest B2B trade publication in the multi-platform and multi-channel IPPGroup. While the print and packaging industries have been resilient in the past 33 months since the pandemic lockdown of 25 March 2020, the commercial printing and newspaper industries have yet to recover their pre-Covid trajectory.

The fragmented commercial printing industry faces substantial challenges as does the newspaper industry. While digital short-run printing and the signage industry seem to be recovering a bit faster, ultimately their growth will also be moderated by the progress of the overall economy. On the other hand book printing exports are doing well but they too face several supply-chain and logistics challenges.

The price of publication papers including newsprint has been high in the past year while availability is diminished by several mills shutting down their publication paper and newsprint machines in the past four years. Indian paper mills are also exporting many types of paper and have raised prices for Indian printers. To some extent, this has helped in the recovery of the digital printing industry with its on-demand short-run and low-wastage paradigm.

Ultimately digital print and other digital channels 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. For instance, there is no alternative to a rise in textbook consumption but this segment will only reach normality in the next financial year beginning on 1 April 2023.

Thus while the new normal is a moving target and many commercial printers look to diversification, we believe that our target audiences may shift and change. Like them, we will also have to adapt with agility to keep up with their business and technical information needs.

Our 2023 media kit is ready, and it is the right time to take stock and reconnect with your potential markets and customers. Print is the glue for the growth of liberal education, new industry, and an emerging economy. We seek your participation in what promises to be an interesting ride.

– Naresh Khanna

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