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Old 21st March 2011, 06:29 AM
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Indian newspaper sales jump with rising literacy rate

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/busi...-1226025384792



India's rising literacy has boosted newspaper sales while print media struggles in other countries. Source: AFP



ALFAJ ALI smiles as another customer approaches his newspaper stand, close to Kolkata's swarming central train station.

"It's a good business," he says, passing over a copy of the Bengal Post and tucking the proceeds - about 2.5 rupees (5.5 cents) - into a sock. "Every year I sell more. These days everybody wants a newspaper."
In other countries, the print news trade may be struggling as circulations fall and readers flock to the internet and television for news - but not in India. Here, the industry is enjoying explosive growth, propelled by rising literacy rates, a growing population and a red-hot economy that is expected to expand by more than 8 per cent this year.
New figures published this week by the Indian Readership Survey showed that the top five national daily newspapers had all gained readers at the end of 2010.
"It's a very good time for the industry," says Varghese Chandry, senior general manager of the Malayala Manorama Group. Malayala publishes a daily newspaper with 9.9 million readers in the southern state of Kerala.
"Newspapers are going into virgin territory, places where distribution and printing facilities had not existed previously...India's economy is growing and people have more money to spend. The growth will continue."
India's bestselling title, the Hindi-language Dainik Prakashan, gained an extra 120,000 readers in the last three months of 2010 to hold on to its No1 slot with an average issue readership of 16.07m. Yet it is not only readership that is growing: Since 2005, the number of newspaper titles in India has swelled by 40 per cent to 2700, with most of the growth in new dailies and weeklies published in one of India's 29 regional languages with more than 1m speakers. Bengali, for example, is the first language of about 250m people, more than the number who speak Russian and twice as many as Japanese.
English-language papers, too, are enjoying rapid growth as aspirational readers seek to brush up their command of a language considered essential for entering business or politics. The Times of India has an average readership of 7.42m, making it the world's biggest-selling English-language newspaper.
With a total of 325m readers, India's newspaper industry generated $US3.8 billion ($3.82bn) in sales last year, according to the World Association of Newspapers. Moreover, KPMG says that figure is set to rise by 9 per cent every year over the next four years to $US5.9bn, helped by a rising literacy rate, from a present 68 per cent (compared with 99 per cent in the UK) and a rising population of 1.2bn that is expected to increase by a further 100m people by 2020.
Low cover prices, a fraction of those charged in the West, are a further draw. Mr Ali sells a copy of Dainak Bashkar, a Hindi title with a readership of 13.49m, for two rupees. Buoyant advertising revenue, which grew by 30 per cent between January and March 2010 alone, helps to keep prices down.
So what of the internet? Mr Chandry, whose Malayala Manorama has gained 100,000 readers over the past six months, dismisses concerns about it being a threat to the printed newspaper: "In India, the internet has not really affected circulation. The internet may be the future but not for a very long time."
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Old 21st March 2011, 08:00 AM
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Re: Indian newspaper sales jump with rising literacy rate

"The internet may be the future but not for a very long time."

Famous last words.

But it is clear that local languages are the future.

And the advertising revenue available is huge and growing rapidly.
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Last edited by Rubber Duck; 21st March 2011 at 08:02 AM..
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