Visionary Talks with Ashish Pherwani, media and entertainment leader, EY LLP
GN Bureau | September 10, 2020
The print media has faced severe challenges of late, especially after the Covid-19 pandemic breakout; but it has survived and has potential to grow in the years to come, believes Ashish Pherwani, media and entertainment leader at EY LLP.
When authorities imposed a lockdown to contain the spread of the virus, newspapers were not delivered at home in late March and April, but soon they made a comeback and the reach and circulation of regional print media is back to almost 85% of their pre-Covid circulation levels except in larger cities for English newspapers, he said,
Pherwani was talking in a webinar Wednesday with Kailashnath Adhikari, MD, Governance Now, as part of the Visionary Talks Series.
To see the previous episodes of the series, click here: http://www.governancenow.com/visionary-talks-series
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Pherwani, however, said that monetizing digital subscriber from the subscription point-of-view and convincing an advertiser to pay the same rate for physical subscriber and digital subscriber is a challenge, and emphasized on clubbing of databases of physical and digital subscribers.
“There is need for fundamental change in how advertising is sold in print and how we can club databases of physical and digital subscribers to grow revenue. To me, it’s an opportunity lost in a big way. Something needs to be done fundamentally for print to grow in future in terms of ad revenue, otherwise circulation will be a challenge,” said Pherwani.
He also said that print is going to get its circulation going and spend the next year or two in building up circulation. “We saw many people trying digital newspapers for the first time, even those having smart phones. Some people will continue with that mechanism and some will come back to reading physical newspapers, some will move to digital medium for the quality offered,” he said.
Asked if television will get back its ad-ex to pre-Covid levels now that the original content is back, he said that TV will recover 100 percent and not get dethroned for several years from its place. It has a reach of 800 million people in the country and apart from radio it is too big a sector apart. It is the least expensive mode of entertainment in the country and growing well.
Pherwani said that it is not as much Covid impact on genres but the double whammy that it has faced due to NTO and Covid where certain sectors have been impacted. “I am hoping it will recover by end-2021. In India, we have seen that it’s very tough to bring back rates once they have gone down. For broadcasters who have done discounting in a big way it will take them longer than usual six months or so in Covid situation to climb back.”
He also said that Covid has brought in golden opportunity for news. The need to know what is happening in the world today has grown and customer acquisition cost has come down and people have switched to news channels. While many were bang on in content creation, others will have to relook at their marketing and customer data strategy to build engagement with customers and monetize.
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