Downfall of the Newspaper Industry during COVID-19
Newspapers that have been the most credible source of information for citizens have faced a downfall in the times of COVID as the fear of transmission is keeping the readers away from hard copies of newspapers. Even though the media has been declared as one of the essentials by the government itself, and the government has been sending constant messages that Corona cannot be transmitted through the newspapers. Despite that, readers are avoiding to read hard copies and are limiting the entrance of newspaper vendors in their areas. The newspaper industry has faced major problems due to the same including sales and revenue.
ISSUES FACED BY VENDORS:
Across many societies and colonies in India residents have unilaterally decided to stop the entrance of newspaper vendors in the colony to avoid any transmission. Also, many vendors have been facing issues of mobility due to the unavailability of public transport in cities like Delhi and Mumbai which has caused them huge losses.
Madhab Pandey, a newspaper vendor in Noida said “We are incurring heavy losses as very few people are buying the newspapers that we are buying from the depot. Many households have called me to tell me not to deliver newspapers”. He also mentioned out of the 18000 to 20000 copies he purchases only 3000 to 4000 get sold and he has been facing losses since the lockdown has happened in India. (Source: The Print)
Like Madhab Pandey many other vendors are also facing regular problems and Information and Broadcast Minister Prakash Javedkar also tweeted “ Do not believe in the rumors. You will not get infected by reading newspapers. There is just one rule to follow — wash your hands after doing any work” but still, there is a situation of fear in the people.
AD REVENUES ALSO HIT BY COVID:
Advertisements are the major source of revenue for newspapers and since the lockdown, the newspaper has faced a fall back on the ad revenues too. As the businesses standstill, very few brands or no brands have been putting out advertisements in the newspaper and this has made it difficult for the newspaper to keep up with the production too.
For instance, The Hindustan Times has cut down almost 6 pages from the newspaper and is now printing only 14 pages of the newspaper despite the regular edition of 20 pages. Majorly newspapers are only covering news related to COVID-19. Even The Indian Express has made their epaper available to readers without even a subscription fee which was earlier charged for.
Even many magazines have also suspended production of their magazines and are only producing e-magazines. For example, Outlook has made its weekly magazine available only on its website and has stopped printing the hard copy.
Seeing the crisis of the newspaper industry, newspapers themselves are sending across the message of how safe the newspapers are and they are sending information that is important for readers to read.
Hindustan Times on 19th March said to the readers through a note that the newspaper is making changes in the offering to maintain focus on the current crisis. They also mentioned how the newspaper is safe and the printing press has been sanitized regularly to ensure safety.
Dainik Jagran is one of the issues mentioned that newspapers are as safe as milk and bread.
Times of India also mentioned in its note to readers that rumors about newspapers being unsafe are “irrational and unscientific”- they mentioned the precautions that have been taking place in the printing press and the distribution centers and reassuring the safety of its readers.
Overall the industry has faced major setbacks but the digitalization of the e-papers and magazines has helped the newspaper to maintain the readership and stay connected to the readers. Now that the economy is getting back, the print industry will also work on its bounce back for the coming days and keep on providing people with truthful news.
Despite fallback, brands will continue still using print media marketing to reach their customers and target for better attention. The tangible quality of the medium will always be attractive to readers. We at Creative Thinks Media have a dedicated team that works in creating the most effective in newspapers. We come with the expertise of more than 12 years in Advertising and we assure our clients the best quality and best results.