I was quoted recently in an Agencyfaqs cover story on whether Indian newspapers are losing out on the web.
I have earlier written about noteworthy social media initiatives from Indian news and media companies. Here’s my take on why we haven’t seen more such initiatives so far and why I see it changing over the next 2-3 years.
Newspapers in the US are rushing to build business models for the web because the print business is in trouble. Newspaper readerships and advertising revenues continue to fall and more young people are reading news online than in print.
In India, the newspaper business is in much better shape. Only one-third of Indians read newspapers, which means that there is a lot room to grow readership. Advertising spend in India is low at half a percent of GDP, compared to two percent in most developed countries, so there’s also room to grow advertising revenues, even after factoring in the increasing influence of TV and digital. Finally, the internet user base in India is only one tenth of the newspaper reader base in India, so the numbers don’t always add up for building an online business model.
However, even though newspapers aren’t in a do or die situation today, they do need to build a strong digital business for tomorrow.
Searchable multi-media content, user participating through rating, commenting and sharing, journalist blogs, and presence on social networking platforms like Facebook and Twitter are already standard for several Indian newspapers. I won’t be surprised if Indian newspapers also adopt consumer generated content, two way conversations between journalists and readers, customizable home pages, and even social networks and APIs over the next two years.
If they don’t stay ahead of the wave, it will be a do or die situation for them before they realize it.
As CEO of 2020 Social, I build and nurture online communities for Indian and international clients, connect their customers, partners and employees, and help them achieve their business objectives. Ask us how we can help you.
- Newspapers Are Not Dying Because Reader Won’t Pay For Them
- On Why Newspapers are Dead
- The State of Online Journalism in India