Indian government hikes print ad rates by 25%

More government support to print media

ad rates

The Indian government has announced a 25% hike in the ad rates for the print media including newspapers and magazines just in time to keep the media happy before the general election expected in April-May this year. “The decision will be of great benefit especially to the medium and small newspapers, including a large number of such papers in regional and vernacular languages,” the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting said in a media statement. “The decision takes place with effect from today and will be valid for a period of three years.” The statement says that the increase takes into account various factors including the rise in cost of  newsprint.

The new rates go into effect in a general election year when political parties spend considerable amounts of money on newspaper and wide format signage advertising. The last revision in government ad rates was in 2013 just before the 2014 general election. At that time, the ad rates were revised upward by 19%.

According to an answer to a query in the Rajya Sabha last week on government ad spending in the media, it was stated that Rs 1,857 crore was spent on print advertisements in the last three years by the the Indian Bureau of Outreach and Communication. The IBOC which is the nodal agency for advertising by various ministries issued 11,798 release orders for a total ad spend of Rs. 648.82 crore in the financial year 2017-18.

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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