Zee Media Group-owned DNA shuts Mumbai and Ahmedabad print editions

The newspaper will turn fully digital

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DNA shuts its Mumbai and Ahmedabad editions
DNA shuts its Mumbai and Ahmedabad editions

Daily News and Analysis (DNA), the Mumbai-based broadsheet newspaper, said on 9 October that it will be shutting down the Mumbai and Ahmedabad print editions. The announcement about the shutting down of the two print editions was made by the editor of DNA in a note published on the front page of the newspaper.

The newspaper was launched in 2005 and is published in English. In February this year, the Zee Media Group-owned daily closed down the Delhi edition, which was launched in 2016. Following the closure of the Delhi edition, the newspaper’s Jaipur edition too was shut down in the same month. DNA’s Pune and Bengaluru print editions were shut in 2014. With this the newspaper has turned fully digital.

“We write this to seek your support and continued readership as we are advancing in to a new and challenging phase. DNA is turning digital. Over these past few months, DNA has grown multifolds in the digital space,” the editor of the newspaper said in the note.

“We thank each one of you for the print readership over the past 14 years. The print publication for Mumbai and Ahmedabad will be ceased effective 10 October 2019, Thursday till further notice,” the editor said.

To strengthen its presence in the digital space, DNA said it will be soon launching a mobile application with more focus on video-based original content.

“In this rapidly evolving market, a very thin line remains between print and digital. There’s duplicity in print and digital readership and the trend shows that our readers, especially the younger audience, prefer reading us on their mobile phone than in print,” the editor said.

The news of shutting down of the DNA’s Mumbai print edition comes just a few months after the closer of the iconic Mumbai tabloid, The Afternoon Despatch and Courier, which was started in 1985 by Behram Contractor, also known as Busybee. This newspaper, which shut down in June this year, served as a launch pad for several well-known journalists in India.

Commenting on the news of closure of the Mumbai and Ahmedabad print editions, Paritosh Joshi of Provocateur Advisory, an independent media and communications consultancy practice, says that this points to a sad trend and is another nail in the coffin of the Indian news media industry.

“There is a completeness that a well-edited newspaper delivers as it covers a wide variety of subjects and topics. When a newspaper goes digital, there is a danger that it may lose that character,” Joshi argues.

However, he says that physical newspapers will continue to thrive in India. “The optimist in me believes that the projected demise of newspapers is a bit of an exaggeration. However, newspapers will need to create a product that will appeal to the younger audience,” he says.

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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