The Business Daily boom in the country


A year ago there were six national newspapers or regional dailies in the English langauge business space, including Mint, published by HT Media Ltd, The Economic Times, published by BCCL, the Business Standard, Hindu Business Line from Kasturi and Sons, Financial Express from the Express Mumbai group, and DNA Money from the DNA joint venture of Zee Television and the Dainik Bhaskar group.

Since then, in the Hindi market segment, Economic Ttimes launched its daily on 19 February 2008 and currently has seven Hindi editions. Business standard launched their Hindi daily three days earlier on 16 February 2008. Both publications also have Gujarati editions. Amar Ujala had started a business daily Karobaar in 1994 and discontinued it in 1999. It will enter the market again with a business daily by the end of this year. The Dainik Jagran group and Network 18 have come together to launch a business daily in Hindi and Gujarati. The combined circulation of these vernacular is approximately Rs.13 lakhs (Rs.1.3 million) with a combined ad revenue of Rs.800 crore.

Dainik Jagran, Dainik Bhaskar, Amar Ujala, Deccan Chronicle, Financial Times
Upbeat trend in vernacular business dailies

Survey’s show only 0.4 per cent of the country’s population reads business papers of any kind. According to the Indian Readership Survey (a survey on readership carried out buy Media Readers Users Council, a not-for-profit entity that has representatives from advertisers, advertising agencies and media companies), 38 per cent of the population reads at least one daily news publication.

The advertising revenue generated by the financial dailies and magazines is about Rs.800 crore (US$ 200 million). The financial press reports that The Economic Times generates about Rs.600-crore of advertising revenue currently. The balance Rs.200 crore is apparently distributed between Business Standard, Hindu Business Line, The Financial Express, DNA Money, Mint and the numerous financial magazines and periodicals. Again, launching a business daily is not easy, say experts. It costs roughly Rs.12 to 20 to bring out a copy of a newspaper. If the circulation is one lakh (100,000) copies, the investment works out to about Rs.12 lakh per day. There is still apprehension as to whether the market can accommodate all the papers.

T Ninan the founder-editor and publisher of Business Standard writing about the prospect of financial dailies in Indian languages editorialized on the day of his paper Hindi launch,, “Our market research has revealed a hunger for news on the stock market, on companies and brands, on technological developments and consumer finance, on prices and interest rates. The survey findings reflect a more upbeat mood than many people might have assumed, a desire to grab opportunities, and a strong wish to be better informed on economic issues. It is now getting on to nearly six decades since the first English-language business newspaper was born.

It took about three decades after that for the first of these business newspapers to register paid circulation of a hundred thousand copies. In contrast, it goes almost without saying that the Hindi business newspapers will start off more confidently, with large circulation numbers from the very beginning. There will not be advertising to match, at least initially, but that may change because the marketing world too has woken up to the importance of the heartland. For all one knows, Hindi business readership might overtake English readership in the coming years, just as it has done when it comes to the general newspapers”.

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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