South Premium Publishers launch combined digital ad pack

South Indian language dailies take on the digital challenge

Four major language dailies of South India combine the digital ad sales efforts into the South Premium Publishers platform
Four major language dailies of South India combine the digital ad sales efforts into the South Premium Publishers platform

Four major language news dailies in each of the four South Indian states have put together the South Premium Publishers digital advertising platform. Their newly launched SPP offers the digital media of Dinamalar in Tamil, Eenadu in Telugu, Manorama in Malayalam, and Prajavani in Kannada with a single digital advertising plan and package to reach premium digital users in one of the most vibrant news consuming regions in the world. 

With a reach of 37 million unique visitors and 715 million page views, and an average time spent on the news sites from 3.36 to 8.09 minutes, the four news organizations have combined their digital marketing and sales efforts. They seem to have understood that the best way to monetize their growing digital audiences is to collectively sell the digital possibilities to brand owners and advertising planners. 

The SPP news platforms’ combined audiences include 73% in the 18 to 44 age group, from young consumers to high net worth individuals (HNIs) whose primary source is digital news. As reported by Exchange4Media, the SPP digital advertising package delivers a stunning three billion ad impressions each month. (Source: GA report, Combined Monthly Average, April 2020 – September 2020). The newly launched consortium website,, contains the relevant information.

Mariam Mammen Mathew, the CEO of Manorama Online, the Malayalam news platform, says, “South Premium Publishers offers advertisers credibility, digital brand safety, and increased awareness, with more control and ease of access to premium digital inventory from all major publishers of South India. This is the only premium digital publishers’ network that delivers. At Manorama Online, we are happy to be part of this pioneering platform in Indian Digital Publishing.”

While SPP’s single digital advertising package offers what is claimed to be “a robust value proposition which makes a good business sense for the advertiser,” each advertiser will get a customized digital ad solution based on each of the digital news platform’s reach and performance. The idea is to target and leverage a compelling value proposition with a single release order.

Single digital ad package with a single release order

“We are the market leader in the Tamil digital market,” says L Adimoolam, director of Business and Technical of Tamil daily Dinamalar and its digital platform. “In 2019-20, of the total Indian ad market of more than Rs 70,000 crore, 21% has been contributed by digital. Given the current digital growth prospects, its important that we give the best and the most convenient platform to the advertisers and agencies to connect with South Indian digital audiences.”

Arpan Chatterjee, COO – Digital of The Printers Mysore, publishers of Kannada daily Prajavani and, said, “South Premium Publishers has its own uniqueness in enabling advertisers to target quality digital audience across South India through a single interface for brand and content campaigns. With more than three billion ad impressions every month to a very engaged audience in their own language, it is a strong value proposition from SPP. Prajavani is glad to be a part of SPP.”

The combined SPP digital ad platform offers flexible advertising packages with sales support across India providing a media mix with CPD/CPM options. Digital advertisers can choose from roadblock ads, display banner ads, and native advertising to reach their target groups. Speaking about the fundamental idea behind launching the alliance and combined digital ad platform, I Venkat, director of Telugu news daily, Eenadu says, “Our group is known for value creation and value innovation. This combination is a step towards creating value for our esteemed digital advertisers. We need to recognize that the market dynamics are evolving, which demands innovation in our existing business model, and collaboration is one of the solutions. This combination will help advertisers to reach out to Southern Indian premium digital audiences in a very credible, secure, and highly engaged environment.”

It is about time that the Indian news platforms confront the digital opportunity more seriously for subscriptions and digital advertising, especially after their digital investments for more than two decades. Digital advertising is still new. The most comfortable paradigm so far has been to surrender to the big tech companies. The revenue share is not commensurate with the cost of news gathering, publishing, and reaching one of the most enthusiastic and tech-savvy audiences in the world. The four South Indian language newspapers, each a strong brand in its own right, have grasped that this is an opportunity that will require combined investment, creativity, and learning. 

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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