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
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.
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.
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.
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.