India's print media industry is likely to report revenue growth of 20 percent in the next fiscal year, . The likely growth in revenue from Rs 18,600 crore in fiscal 2021 to Rs 27,000 crore will be driven by recovery in its two major revenue streams – advertisements and subscriptions.
The report, released yesterday, cautioned that this "won’t be enough to reclaim the pre-pandemic highs of over Rs 32,000 crore". The higher cost of newsprint will also "tear as much as 300-350 basis points" off the operating margin, according to an analysis of print media companies accounting for 40 percent of the sector's revenue.
, newsprint accounts for 30 to 35 percent of operational costs for print media organisations.
The Crisil report noted that ad revenue "should rebound" as economic activity improves, as will subscription revenue now that offices are reopening and people are returning to their work locations. The latter has allegedly "recovered to a large extent for Hindi and regional language newspapers, but remains impacted for English dailies".
But the "shift in reading preference" to digital media will keep subscription of print newspapers "below pre-pandemic levels". Yet the report said this dip in print subscriptions helped newspapers weather the pandemic since "it kept a leash on the volume of newsprint consumed".
It should be remembered that in the early days of the pandemic, several newspapers were struggling under shrinking readership and ad revenues, rising costs, waning credibility, and an onslaught of digital and social media.