Wan-Ifra’s Chartbeat analyzes Q2 digital audience data

The calm before the storm

A screenshot of just one of the several interesting graphics in the Chartbeat for Q2 of audience engagement of digital media

WAN-IFRA’s Chartbeat has issued an analysis of its audience engagement data and from around the world for the second quarter of 2020 in an article by Nick Lioudis. It’s best to read Lioudis’ report, which you can get by clicking here, but as an intro, I will attempt to summarize some of the South Asia highlights.

Lioudis states, “A significant rise in reader engagement driven by the global pandemic was front and center in our latest analysis for the quarter ending June 30. Across the globe, we saw increases in Engaged Time and referrals, yet the challenge for publishers was (and remains) translating those increased site visits into returning, loyal readers.”

If I can summarize his summary, reader engagement time varies from 36 seconds to 29 seconds. Latin America is on top at an average 36.3 seconds of audience engagement, and Central and Eastern Europe readers are at the bottom at 29 seconds. For Latin America, it’s consecutive quarters at the top. Southeast Asia is in the middle of the pack at 32 seconds tied with North America and Southern Europe.

Social referrals in Southeast Asia still far above rest

Lioudis writes, “Publishers hoping to get the attention of audiences in Southeast Asia may consider strategies around social media platforms, which referred 32% of traffic in the past quarter. Combined with their 76% of traffic referred from mobile devices, the data suggests there could be a compelling reason to experiment with audience engagement on mobile-first social platforms.”

Southeast Asia presents the dilemma of attracting readers through social media and getting them to come back, spend more time on the sites, commit to the site, and ultimately to present opportunities to turn into reader revenue. Audience loyalty also seems down in Asia in comparison to Europe.

Impact of coronavirus

Last quarter’s data summary was described as the ‘calm before the storm.’ Lioudis says this is still the situation with traffic and engagement continuing to be up at unprecedented levels. He concludes, “However, it will likely take several quarters to have a clearer idea of whether this vast increase in audience engagement can translate to greater loyalty, and ultimately, reader revenue opportunities.”

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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