Print circulation in India bucks global trend, grows 4.87% in past decade: ABC

The Audit Bureau of Circulation (ABC) data shows 23.7 million copies have been added to the circulation of Indian newspapers and magazines over past 10 years


Print circulation in India has grown at a compounded annual growth rate of 4.87% between the end of 2006 and the end of 2016, to 62 million copies a day, the ABS has said. Photo: Mint
Print circulation in India has grown at a compounded annual growth rate of 4.87% between the end of 2006 and the end of 2016, to 62 million copies a day, the ABS has said. Photo: Mint

Mumbai: The circulation of India’s print publications grew at the compound annual growth rate or CAGR of 4.87% between the end of 2006 and the end of 2016, to 62 million a day, the Audit Bureau of Circulation (ABC) announced on Monday. “This is remarkable growth for print at a time where most countries are seeing a decline in print”, I. Venkat, chairman of ABC, said.

ABC is a non-profit that audits circulation figures of newspapers and magazines.

Over the past 10 years, ABC data shows, 23.7 million copies have been added to the circulation of Indian newspapers and magazines. The organization released these numbers at a conference in Mumbai and, on the strength of these, sought to make a case for print media as a preferred advertising medium. To highlight this, ABC launched a print ad campaign under the tagline “Newspapers are growing” .

ABC data from 2006 to 2016 show that it is regional language newspapers that have contributed the most to the growth story with Hindi, Telugu and Kannada being the top three language publications that grew at a CAGR of 8.76%, 8.28% and 6.40% respectively. English media publications grew at a CAGR of 2.87% in the same period. In terms of regions, the north zone including the Hindi heartland saw the highest growth at 7.83%, followed by the south (4.95%), west (2.81%) and east (2.63%).

India has among the highest growth rates for print in the world, according to data from ABC. Between 2013 and 2015, the circulation of Indian dailies grew 12%, while that of those in markets such as Australia, France, Germany, the US, and Japan all saw a 3-6% decline. The UK saw the highest decline of 12% in this period, according to ABC.

ABC predicted that print media advertising revenue would grow at 8% CAGR to Rs29,600 crore by calender year 2021. TV ad revenue is expected to grow 14.4% to Rs39,410 crore, and digital by 30.8% to Rs29,450 crore in the same period. According to media buyer Group M, print advertising is expected to account for Rs18,258 crore of a total advertising of Rs61,204 crore this year. TV advertising is expected to account for Rs27,378 crore.

A report by KPMG and industry lobby Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry on the media and entertainment industry put the size of India’s print media business at Rs30,330 crore in calendar year 2016 and estimated that it would grow to Rs32,500 crore in calendar year 2017.

“The key reason we are here is to address a misconception whether print media is growing or not. If you just look at last 10 years, growth in circulation of ABC members is from 39.1 million to 62.8 million, that is 50% growth. No other market in the world with such a base has witnessed growth like this. Digital is growing but its base is very small and it is free, not paid for. We are convinced that the future is bright for print,” said Shashidhar Sinha, member of the council of management of ABC.

Mint’s publisher HT Media Ltd has interests in print, radio, and digital media.

A HT staff writer in Mumbai contributed to this story.

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