Jagran : newspaper distribution in the pandemic

Newspapers collaborate to strengthen distribution in pandemic 

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Newspaper hawkers/Jagran : newspaper
Newspaper hawkers during the pandemic

The Covid-19 induced lockdown has severely impacted India’s newspaper industry primarily due to the disruption in distribution and logistics challenges and the steep drop in advertising in the April to June quarter. Although circulations have improved in recent weeks, they are still significantly down from pre-lockdown levels. However, some newspapers like Jagran utilized the pandemic to innovate on the logistics front and look for new opportunities.

According to Deepak Pandey, senior vice president, Jagran said that the newspaper collaborated with other newspapers such as Amar UjalaThe HinduTimes of India, and Hindustan Times and formed a group to share knowledge during the lockdown. The news publishers shared market intelligence, made joint strategies, and shared costs, and best practices from markets.

“We realized that everybody was doing their own thing, which did not lead us anywhere. So we came together to drive a common strategy into the market,” Pandey said during the WanIfra India 2020 Printing eSummit.

Distribution has been gaining in importance as the news publishers try to ensure the last mile reach of their dailies on time. Pandey stated that even when the essential goods supply chains collapsed, newspaper distribution was not interrupted for even a single day despite the reduced circulation volume. “The pandemic has made us realize that logistics is the backbone of the newspaper business,” he added.

Teaming up with leading publishers helped reduce costs. For instance, they shared sanitation stations that other publishers could effectively use instead of each setting up their own. Also, since the publishers were open to sharing their market intelligence and best practices transparently, joint campaigns were organized collaboratively. Sharing taxis for shipping to the smaller cities and towns from the printing plants reduced costs by as much as 30%, and they were able to make this happen within the first 15 days of the lockdown coming into effect.

When the Coronavirus spread led to the closing down of a printing plant of one of the dailies, Dainik Jagran stepped in with a quick turnaround time of 1 to 2 hours helping it continue to print until the plant was reopened. There were also instances when to control several dailies’ printing costs, the entire printing was carried at the Jagran plant.

New marketing opportunities to reader households

The Jagran group also collaborated with non-newspaper companies to help them in their supply chain decision making. Jagran’s team helped a blue-chip consumer product company identify its distribution channel issues and provided field-level workforce and resources in support.

“We used our vendors and even our personnel to deliver their products directly to the customers’ homes. This helped the company reduce intermediaries and go deeper into their existing markets and enter new locations. We also engaged in brand and promotional activities on their behalf,” Pandey said.

According to Pandey, this collaboration is beneficial to both the consumer goods producer and the publisher if it is seen as a new business opportunity to get better ROI from the same household and increase income in difficult times. “Jagran has a new revenue model and a new learning curve. We are leveraging our distribution strength and creating a positive trade perception,” he said.

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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