Mumbai: Bennett, Coleman and Co. Ltd (BCCL), India’s largest newspaper publisher, will increase the price of advertising in its flagship paper, The Times of India, and other group publications by 40% from mid-August as the print media battles rising newsprint costs.
Indian Newspaper Society (INS) guidelines stipulate that any increase in advertising rates can take effect only after a month’s notice is given to advertisers, said Sujoy Ghosh, deputy director at the company, explaining the timing. “There might be slight variations in the 40% hike across some markets,” he said.
INS deputy president Paresh Nath said he expects most member publications to increase ad rates by 30-40% in the near future, citing an almost 50% jump in the price of newsprint over the past year. Some smaller publishing groups have already raised advertising rates, albeit by a smaller 20% on an average. Newsprint accounts for nearly 65% of the cost incurred by most publications.
The increase in cost of print advertising may force firms to look at other media outlets.
“Print is increasingly losing relevance for me as a category,” said Sanjay Tripathy, head of marketing at HDFC Standard Life Insurance. “TV is the main medium for us, and we have been using print as a support medium. With ad spends coming down year by year for most advertisers, I will look at other support mediums such as Internet and radio and advertise extensively on them,” he added.
Abdul Khan, president of marketing at phone services provider Tata Teleservices Ltd, echoed Tripathy. “I think that the print share in the overall ad pie is declining anyway and this will further accelerate it,” he said.
The numbers, however, do not support this argument.
In 2007, the total ad pie was worth Rs17,356 crore, of which print accounted for Rs8,591 crore and TV Rs6,766 crore. Print advertising grew 3.5% in 2007 over 2006; TV advertising fell 0.8% in the same period, as per industry estimates.
BCCL, that also publishes The Economic Times, competes with HT Media Ltd, which publishes Mint and the Hindustan Times.