Digital subscription survey of Indian and South Asian news media

IppStar launches paywall and digital subscription survey


The continued reluctance to put up paywalls by Indian news media is in spite of suggestions a year ago that it was an inevitability. “Anybody who tells you in the news media industry that they won’t be taking the subscription route is either lying or soon going to be bankrupt,” said Rajiv Bansal, head of the Hindustan Times’ Digital Streams to exchange4media in May 2018.

Shy of paywalls, there are some signs that Indian newspapers, magazines and web news platforms are figuring out other ways to monetize the internet. They are resorting to referral revenues for services to monetize the internet, such as dining out and investment.
However, it is inevitable that paywalls and subscriptions will have to play a role. This is in spite of some feedback that IppStar has already received about the reluctance of most news organizations to bite the bullet. Some say that they will continue to rely on ad revenue, others that the market is not ready to pay for news, and still others that say they have plans that they cannot yet talk about.

Dailies such as The Hindu and Business Line have begun by setting up subscriptions for their ePaper while Business Standard is monetizing its premium content with a dynamic paywall. Looking for these stories shows the headline and a couple of sentences followed by, ‘Key stories on are available to premium subscribers only.’ The Caravan magazine has put up a dynamic paywall and has already gathered more than 3,000 digital subscriptions.

The new platforms on the web seem bolder since they don’t have any print revenues to lean on. The Ken is a subscription-only site, The Scroll has launched an ad-free subscription and Newslaundry has moved some of its content behind a paywall. The Wire is trying out an interactive banner asking for donations similar to The Guardian.

Meanwhile, IppStar, the leading organization for detailed primary research of the Indian publishing, printing and packaging industry, has initiated a quick snapshot survey of digital subscriptions of South Asian newspapers, magazines and news platforms. While seminars, conferences and webinars on digital subscriptions are all the rage, it seems that South Asia is lagging behind on the monetization of digital content.

Purva Dwivedi, analyst at IppStar asks, “Where are we on this critical subject in South Asia? While publishers keep repeating that they have to produce content that is worth paying for, what is holding them back from building paywalls? And, we are keen to share the initial results of the few who have put up paywalls, and kept them up.” A snapshot of the results will be published on our platforms, including our print monthly Indian Printer & Publisher. The survey is also available on

Or you can fill out the Paywall survey online by simply click here.

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

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