The newspaper industry took a battering during Covid, seeing sharp falls in readership and ad revenue.
But perhaps not all is lost. The second half of 2021 saw a in print advertising. And the volume of ads only went up during the festive season of Diwali – similar to what we saw in .
An examination of advertisements published in four major English newspapers – the Indian Express, the Times of India, Hindustan Times, and the Hindu – from October 31 to November 8 revealed a from both the government and private companies.
The Times of India got the most ads: 43 pages of government ads and 87 pages of private ads splashed across its pages. The Hindu fared the worst: 22 pages of private ads and 15 pages of government ads in total. Major contributors to government ads were the state governments of Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand.
Before we break it down: We examined the Delhi editions of all four papers, and counted both full-page and half-page ads to calculate the total pages of ads.
, for the editions we scrutinised, Express charges Rs 1,560 per square centimetre of ad; the Hindu charges Rs 750 per sq cm; Hindustan Times Rs 5,467 per sq cm; and TOI Rs 5,000 per sq cm.
The Indian Express
Express is India’s sixth most read English newspaper, according to the Indian Readership Survey or the IRS, with a total readership of 16 lakh. The newspaper did not print an edition in Delhi on November 5. During the other six days, it published 13 pages of private ads and 29 pages of government ads.
The highest volume of ads was seen on October 31 and November 1. October 31 had 11 pages of government ads and four pages of private ads, while November 1 had four pages of private ads too. The fewest ads were carried on November 8.
Ads from governments included these from the Arvind Kejriwal government: a campaign against dengue and a “worshipping Ram” event.
The Uttarakhand government, meanwhile, published ads thanking prime minister Narendra Modi for his , and another thanking Modi for setting up an AIIMS satellite centre in the state. Others included an advertorial on Russia celebrating National Unity Day and a full-page advertorial on how Uttarakhand is a “divine destination”. Uttar Pradesh also stepped up with ads on Adityanath and Modi’s tributes to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.
Did any pages not have ads, you ask? Seven pages each on October 31, November 3 and November 6; 11 pages each on November 1 and 2; nine pages each on November 4 and 8; and 10 pages on November 7 were devoid of full-page or half-page ads.
It was ads galore for Hindustan Times as well in Delhi: 26 pages of private ads and 10 pages of government ads across six days. The breakup was 51 private ads in total and 37 government ads.
The government ads included Delhi’s dengue campaign, Delhi police’s “pollution-free Diwali” campaign, Modi and Adityanath on Vallabhbhai Patel, Delhi police on Vallabhbhai Patel, a campaign against overspeeding, Modi’s Kedarnath work, the AIIMS satellite centre, National Unity Day, and the Haryana government’s campaign on “say no to crackers”.
Private advertisers included Skoda, Honda Prestige, Reliance Jewels, Nissan, Philips and Rolex.
Twenty-four pages of ads appeared on October 31, including an “HT media marketing initiative” on Uttar Pradesh’s “one district, one product” scheme. Another advertorial on the same day was on Uttar Pradesh’s “transformation” after the inauguration of the Purvanchal and Bundelkhand expressway, as well as a half-page ad on the state being a “cultural paradise”.
November 6 had the fewest ads: just two half-pages of private ads and no government ads at all. The number of pages in the Delhi edition also declined from 20-24 on and before Diwali to 16 pages on November 8.
As for pages without ads: three on October 31, five on November 1, seven on November 2, six on November 3 and 4, eight on November 6, 10 on November 7, and five on November 8.
The Times of India
Diwali week was definitely a bonanza week for TOI in Delhi, with 40 full pages of private ads and seven of government ads. That’s 87 private ads in total and 43 government ones. Before Diwali, the paper also printed jackets with at least two full pages of private ads.
November 2 had 25 pages of ads in total – while the newspaper itself comprised 34 pages.
Most government ads were from Uttar Pradesh: an advertorial on a water pledge, the state government’s “multi-pronged” strategy to tackle water issues, Modi and Adityanath on Patel, how nine lakh diyas would be lit in Ayodhya, and more. The usual suspects – National Unity Day, Delhi police’s pollution-free Diwali, and multiple ads from Uttarakhand on Kedarnath, AIIMS satellite centre, and more – also made an appearance.
Private advertisers included Whirlpool, Skoda, Amul, Onida, Pigeon, Big Basket, Omega, Vishal Mega Mart, PhonePe, Reliance Digital, Sony, Big Bazaar and Croma.
On pages without ads: October 31’s paper had 28 pages of which only six didn’t have ads. Eight pages were devoid of ads on November 1; four pages out of 34 on November 2; and five out of 30 on November 3. November 6 had 18 pages in total with five pages with no ads.
The Hindu fared the worst out of the four national papers we scrutinised in Delhi. Over Diwali week, it published 22 pages of private ads and 15 of government ads.
The highest volume of ads were printed on November 1 and 3. These included ads on Kedarnath, Adi Shankaracharya’s Samadhi, National Unity Day, the Election Commission’s registration of new voters, nine lakh diyas in Ayodhya, and the Rajasthan government commemorating Indira Gandhi’s death anniversary. The Kejriwal government also ran ads on “welcoming Lord Ram” and dengue.
On October 31 and November 1, the Hindu’s Delhi edition had 18 pages of which 10 had no ads at all. November 2 had 16 pages in total with 10 pages devoid of ads.
Update on Dec 6: This piece has been updated to make it clear that the 'pollution-free Diwali' ads were issued by the Delhi police.
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