The 50 Fastest Growing Newspapers in India

The 8th Annual Indian Printer and Publisher and IppStar Survey of Indian newspapers


In the past year most of the top Indian daily newspapers have suffered a decline in circulations not with standing the new 2017 IRS figures that are, on the whole, inflationary. (Although average issue readership was also calculated, the numbers have been widely and publicly brandished as Total Readership or TR, which means the number of people who have read a particular newspaper at any time over a month.) In fact, it is difficult to get
the Indian newspaper industry to invest in proper audience research even in comparison to
the Indian television industry as was pointed out at the recent INMA conference.

The only reason that we can say that our list describes the 50 Fastest growing is that these
dailies have added new editions and new printing plants and in some cases they have added towers for printing more color pages. Thus, although there is a stagnation in
newsprint consumption growth, there is in some cases a marginal improvement in yields such as revenue per page because of more color pages with color advertising and increases in newspaper cover price.

Yield has increased because of four of the largest circulated Hindi dailies decreasing newsprint consumption by buying new presses with a slightly smaller cutoff of 533 mm versus their older presses with cutoffs of 546 mm. Yield has also improved because of improved automation in prepress with the increased use of optical punch and bending machines, automation of register controls on press, and automation of the mailrooms even for 2 x 1 presses using locally manufactured conveyors and stackers.

At the recent INMA South Asia Conference in Delhi, the deputy managing director of the Bhaskar group Pawan Agarwal said that the Indian newspaper industry had been showing a top line compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5% over the past ten years, which is probably better than most other industries over a similar period. In a year in which industry was recovering from the demonetization of November 2016 and the new GST tax regime
instituted in July 2017, the key dynamics seem to be aggressive competition of the leading Hindi dailies in setting up new plants in tier-2 and -3 cities across the Hindispeaking states and extending this competition eastward to Bihar, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh.

Election 2019, newsprint prices and the devaluing Rupee

The upcoming general election likely to be held in May 2019 is seen by many publishers as the next revenue milestone to gear up for. However, as newsprint prices have shot up to US$ 800 and US$ 850 a tons, most of the expansion plans have moved to the back burner. Adding to industry woe is the depreciation of the Rupee in mid-August to Rs. 70 to the US dollar. The Indian Rupee was at 63 to the US$ in February 2018, which means that newsprint imported in that month at US$ 680 a ton cost Rs. 42,840 a ton. Now the US$ 800 ton (with reports that it is headed to US$ 850) would effectively cost Rs. 56,000 a ton, an increase of 19.5% in six months – effectivly in Rupee terms an increase of 30.7%.

Our figure for newsprint price increases from November 2017 to May 2018 was 26.23%, which means that from November 2017 to November 2018 we are looking at an increase in the price of this input of anywhere from 50 to 60% even if the Indian Rupee is not devalued further of which there is no guarantee considering oil price buoyancy, the
increasing imbalance in Indian trade and the depletion of reserves being used to shore up the Rupee.

In 2024, we are looking at full recovery and growth-led investment in Indian printing

Indian Printer and Publisher founded in 1979 is the oldest B2B trade publication in the multi-platform and multi-channel IPPGroup. It created the category of privately owned B2B print magazines in the country. And by its diversification in packaging, (Packaging South Asia), food processing and packaging (IndiFoodBev) and health and medical supply chain and packaging (HealthTekPak), and its community activities in training, research, and conferences (Ipp Services, Training and Research) the organization continues to create platforms that demonstrate the need for quality information, data, technology insights and events.

India is a large and tough terrain and while its book publishing and commercial printing industry have recovered and are increasingly embracing digital print, the Indian newspaper industry continues to recover its credibility and circulation. The signage industry is also recovering and new technologies and audiences such as digital 3D additive printing, digital textiles, and industrial printing are coming onto our pages. Diversification is a fact of life for our readers and like them, we will also have to adapt with agility to keep up with their business and technical information needs.

India is one of the fastest growing economies in nominal and real terms – in a region poised for the highest change in year to year expenditure in printing equipment and consumables. Our 2024 media kit is ready, and it is the right time to take stock – to emphasize your visibility and relevance to your customers and turn potential markets into conversations.

– Naresh Khanna

Subscribe Now


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here