2012 Media Trends: Impact of E-Publishing to the Indian Readership

The trend of e-publishing is picking up in India. Still, many traditional publication houses seem reluctant to have a significant online presence.

The recent IRS Q3 results, however, might now serve as a wake-up call as they vouch for the fact that the readership of publications having an online presence are far, far better than those missing out.

Some important trends:

  • If we look at the IRS Q3 literacy and media consumption habits, the internet, cable and satellite segments seem to have registered the maximum growth. This is a clear indication on the changing demographics, that the Indian audience is going through.
  • Another statistic that advocates the rising scope of e-publishing in the country is the addition of 49.65 lakh users in the past six months through the digital medium. In spite of having a massive reach of 34.99 crore, print has shown a meager growth of 3.1% as against the drastic growth of 42% in the digital – considering a humble reach of 3.08 crore readership, last year.
  • If we talk about magazines, they have been a disappointment in the context of readership – India Today being one of the biggest losers, followed by Filmfare and Femina. Hindi magazines like Saras Salil, Cricket Samrat, India Today Hindi, Grih Shobha, Grehlakshmi, and Champak have all lost a significant number of readers.
  •  Given the increasing literacy stats and the knowledge orientation of today’s urban folk, there has been a marginal improvement in General Knowledge category.

While the reasons behind these fluctuating trends are far from clear, the fact that most of the dipped readerships are of those publications not having a sufficient online presence.  Moreover the changing psychographics of the Indian readers have made it indispensable for a publication to have an online presence, in order to get the urban audience hooked. Talking about the need for e-publishing, it becomes necessary for us to look at the benefits of e-publishing for print veterans.

  • Wider, filtered reach: Contrary to the restrictive reach of the print subscriptions, online has an unlimited reach potential and attracts massive traffic via people finding.
  • Credibility and link building: You can consistently publish content related to your organization which will ultimately help you become an expert on that topic, generating backlinks by article marketing. Also there are many SEO-ed ways to improve your search engine rankings and attract sustainable traffic over a long term.
  • Better archival longevity: Unlike the print subscriptions that can be tampered with or destroyed, online content has better sustainability for a longer span of time.
  • Better comprehension engagement:  By adding the audio component to your content, you can make it even more intriguing and interactive. Its even possible to receive instant feedback on your work.
  • The big savings (money and time): As opposed to the traditional publishing model, it costs nothing to submit an online journal, skipping past the ‘stamping and enveloping’ stage.

Despite the huge market potential and IT boom, India is still faced with some e-publishing challenges

  • Internet penetration is still very low in the country.
  • The concept of e-reading is still in its nascent stage. People prefer grabbing a newspaper copy and reading the morning news over a cup of tea.
  • The recent launch of 3G services might be a catalyst, but as long as net access charges remain on the higher side, it’s still a wasted opportunity.

So while comparing the benefits and challenges, the former supersedes the latter here. But we can only hope that the conventional publication houses will look at the fairer side of the e-publishing scenario and extract the maximum out of 2012.

Written by Sana Baig for Image Management

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