Dr Bhaskar Das makes 4 suggestions for Indian newspapers

Tackling changing market dynamics

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Dr Bhaskar Das at the Wan-Ifra Indian Media Leaders eSummit 2021
Dr Bhaskar Das at the Wan-Ifra Indian Media Leaders eSummit 2021

During the recent Wan-Ifra Indian Media Leaders eSummit 2021, Dr Bhaskar Das of Dainik Bhaskar Group of publications offered four suggestions to the newspaper media companies to tackle the changing dynamics of the marketplace reconfiguration, revenue reconfiguration, cost optimization, and seamless digitization.

Dr Bhaskar Das’s four suggestions to tackle changing dynamics of the marketplace

Product reconfiguration 

By product reconfiguration, Dr Das meant up-gradation instead of mere updation. This includes reader-friendly designs, hyper local news, investigative and research-based articles

He said that instant news channels like television channels and the internet can never do justice to news due to lack of perspective, staff strength, and ability to research and report. Since they operate in breaking news boxes, they lack the time to do deep dives and research. 

Dr Bhaskar Das stressed on the aspect of credibility, which he said, newspapers need to showcase rather than claim. “Every newspaper claims that it is credible, but they have to work on it to show that,” he said. For this, the newspaper needs to undertake fact-checking and in-depth analysis. 

Newspapers also have to offer points of view beyond reporting to empower readers to make meaning out of the cacophony of noise that is masquerading as news. Newspapers also need to focus on community-based coverage. 

Revenue configuration

Dr Das suggested that newspapers need to prioritize circulation in markets advertising spends are higher. He also said cover price increase can be considered for increasing revenues. 

Also, newspapers need to identify micro-markets, geography, and consumer segment-wise, which are underpenetrated, and bundle deals with e-commerce companies, DTH, and OTT platforms. “You need to connect with DTH and OTT platforms because they are also sort of media companies,” he added. 

Talking of ad sales, he said instead of selling space, newspaper companies should try to achieve market ownership and offer comprehensive solutions. Also, newspapers need to invest in the creation of creative communications, especially for Indian language publications

 Dr Bhaskar Das also highlighted the importance of data and said that it is imperative to communicate reach and the profile of the target audience and the level of immersion by page and by subject. 

Cost optimization

According to Dr Das, newspapers can optimize cost by opting for collaboration and sharing services such as HR, purchase, transportation, and IT, among others. “At the front-end, newspapers can compete, but at the back end, they should explore possibilities of collaboration,” he argued. 

Dr Das also said that newspapers should look at automation opportunities in all areas of consumer, content, advertising, and subscription

Seamless digitization

Dr Bhaskar Das emphasized that it is just not enough to have the printed version, but newspaper companies need to also focus on audio, video, and mobile experience seamlessly. He also said that newspapers need to have multi-community brand extension and different products for print and digital

 

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital 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.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

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