Published On : Fri, Mar 24th, 2023
Featured News | By Nagpur Today Nagpur News

India’s Mighty Printed Newspaper Market May be on the Decline


India remains the world’s largest printed newspaper market by a huge margin, while many other former strongholds for the industry faded with the rise of the internet and online news feeds. Instead, as the internet picked up in India, inexplicably, so did the copies of printed newspapers and periodicals in India.

As laid out in this Statista report, circulation in copies went from a very strong 308.8 million in 2009/10 up to 610.2 million in 2015/16. However, through 2020/21, there was a market decline to 386.5 million. While still above 2009/10 figures, the report perhaps shows the start of a trend to come in an ever more digital India.

However, interesting data studying social media, in particular, reveals that popular online activities can and do increase hardcopy readership.

Social media continues to boost readership


Source: Unsplash

Most in the world of hardcopy book sales would see the internet, eBooks, and social media as the enemy, but as it turns out, social media appears to be boosting reading interest. According to this PIA blog piece, the second half of 2020 witnessed a 25 per cent in reading among Americans.

Helping to power this was the rise of so-called ‘book influencers’ in social media, who would promote books, detail why they’re worth a read, and even start book clubs. The most notable celebrities to turn into these ‘influencers’ were Emma Watson and Reese Witherspoon.

Social media not only helped to spread the word of recommended books from trusted people but also enabled community building with book clubs. Importantly, while reading apps did help to make this trend very accessible, print books continued to sell well. In the US, 45 per cent of the population purchased a print book in 2021 to 23 per cent buying an eBook and 23 per cent getting into an audiobook.

Social media is becoming a staple of digital lives in India. Between September 2021 and September 2022, per the DazeInfo brief, 97 per cent of all internet users in India went on social media. This marked over 450 million unique social media users in India. If the trends follow the patterns seen elsewhere, perhaps an uptick in readership can be expected as social media personalities grow in influence.

Online readership on the rise in India


Source: Pexels

You can find reports as far back as October 2013 signalling the rapid increase of online news readership in India. In fact, in August 2013, it was relayed that there were 9.4 million more readers year-on-year, marking a 34 per cent bump. Still, the Indian newspaper industry continued to do exceedingly well, even increasing in the ensuing years.

Still, it’s tough to deny the draw of news websites. As one of the top-ranking sites in the news and media publisher category, Aajtak commands 641.8 million desktop visits per month, with around 4.23 pages visited. Next is the Times of India, boasting 192.9 million visits and 2.16 pages visited.

Online news outlets do benefit from convenience, being able to react quickly to breaking news, and having the potential to capitalise on click-bait tactics. Still, the population of India stands at over 1.4 billion right now, and internet penetration is said to be nearing 50 per cent at best. So, that’s still 700 million people without internet access needing to know what’s going on in the country and worldwide.

Due to India’s vast population and landmass, it will take several more years for enough of the nation to be connected to the internet for it to start to truly hurt the printed newspaper market.