Hindustan tries to make an impact during lockdown

Hindustan Times
Hindustan took the lead in fighting the menace of fake news

One of India’s leading Hindi dailies, Hindustan — which has a reach of 51.3 million readers across Delhi, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, and Jharkhand — has played an important role in encouraging readers across geographies to stay safe during the pandemic.

According to a blog published by Saurabh Sharma, HT Media’s head of marketing, on the INMA website, the newspaper has tried to address a lot of issues that have cropped up due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The spread of fake news has been the biggest concern. As lockdown started, fake news started spreading which led to fears and unrest, leading people to take actions detrimental for themselves and their families. Hindustan took the lead in fighting the menace of fake news.

“We released a communication for our readers to help people understand that their favorite newspaper continues to invest time and energy to ensure that every printed word is ratified by experts and specialists before it is published. The campaign reinforced the core need for trusted news and accurate information in these tough times,” Sharma said.

Hindustan also addressed the rumor that was spreading that urged people to stop newspapers because they could carry the virus went viral. “We reassured our readers their newspapers were safe and shared an informative video on the precautions and measures being taken to ensure the safe delivery of newspapers. The video garnered more than 2.2 million views and was shared over 10,000 times,” Sharma added.

The biggest question in readers’ minds was how to stay safe from coronavirus. As per Sharma, Hindustan tried educating readers on various safety precautions to keep them secure and healthy. The newspaper carried full-page stories in all its editions and locations to educate readers on multiple fronts, offering precautions they should take to ward off the threat of infection.

Due to the prolonged period of complete lockdown beginning March 25, Hindustan realized it needed to connect with the readers and engage with them emotionally and physically to help spread calm and positivity.

Hindustan rolled out the Suraksha Chalisa (Safety Poem), using a traditional format of prose writing and expounding the benefits of keeping oneself safe. Through “shlokas” and “dohas,” it integrates useful communication in the local dialects in a format that resonates with the readers to educate them on various aspects of staying safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The newspaper also started a high-impact campaign, Hindustan Ghanti Bajao, in which reporters visit different localities every day, ringing the bell of households to understand their on-ground challenges, issues, and problems. Hindustan then got in touch with the local administration and helped these households get immediate relief.

Celebrating its partners

Hindustan has also tried to celebrate the contribution of people who have chosen to step out and make life simpler for others. The newspaper created awareness of the contribution of these people and their services, expressing gratitude for them through a series of articles and advertisements.

The newspaper raised awareness among readers and expressed its appreciation for the trade community that distributes the newspaper through regular digital and print ads, educating readers on the need to acknowledge their contributions and to honor and pay their dues to the newspaper vendors on time.

“To create awareness among trade on good practices, Hindustan put up several banners and conducted various training sessions of sanitization protocols at newspaper distribution centers, advising the trade to take all advised precautionary measures,” Sharma said.

In the fight together

Besides creating awareness and educating the trade and public, Hindustan supported the government initiative of providing necessary essential gear to help people stay safe. Hindustan distributed over 50,000 free masks and gloves, and 2,000 liters of free sanitizer among the trade and general public. Hindustan also sanitized carriers used for plying essential goods and services such as fruits, vegetables, and newspapers.

“Now is the time for publishers to act. Through endless hours of work, in these trying times, we have done more work than ever, enabling India to rid itself of the coronavirus with the least amount of possible damage to our people and economy. Hindustan, true to its brand commitment, will continue to offer a new take on progress and safety, and will do every bit to contribute to an informed and healthy society,” Sharma concluded.

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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