It is truly an interesting time for media companies what with the recent reports the Dentsu Aeigis Network [ DAN] and IRS that have both brought to light interesting number and facts.
While media companies and the public at large, have been crying hoarse that print is dying, the IRS has proved beyond doubt that print is still on it’s growth trajectory and shown growth of up to 40 % across.
On the other hand, the DAN report has indicated that digital advertising industry will grow at 32% and touch a humungous figure of Rs.18,986 crores by 2020.
While the growth is encouraging it is equally pertinent that print publishers wake up and smell the coffee…
Action will need to be taken on garnering revenue growth in print as well as make inroads into garnering the digital advertising revenue which currently is being appropriated majorly by Google, Facebooks and soon to follow Whats up and Amazons of the world.
It took print publishers more than 100 years to reach this revenue level and Google and Facebook have managed to do the same in just a couple of years. It is almost certain that at their current growth rates ,they would soon cross the revenue of the large print publishers.
The best part about this is that print publishers spend sizeable amount of money and time to create quality content and the Googles and Facebooks of the world smartly curates this content, monetises it and does a better job.
Google uses smart technology to monetise this contents and transfers a meagre share to the publishers and content creators. This also means, one change of their algorithms can alter future of publishers.
If one were to examine the break up of the digital advertising revenue, social media and search and video account for almost 79 % of the digital business. No mainline print publishers operates in this environment.
It is the 21 % of display advertising where print publishers have an opportunity, which they have allowed erosion as most of the display advertising on most print sites is powered by Google network where the revenue share for the publishers is negligent. Interestingly, the same publisher who are on the 85 % side of the print revenue pie are on the 15 % or even less side as far as the digital medium is concerned.
The larger problem that needs to be addressed is that no print publisher actually knows each and every individual reader by demographic or psychographic profile; both Google and Facebook know their users in far greater details than even what the Aadhar ID captures. These digital giants provide data analytics in far more detail and all in real time which print cannot deliver.
The earliest erosion of revenue as far as print was concerned was the Classified and Appointment categories and it was non-media players who managed to seize this revenue.
Now with Google, Facebook and soon Whats up and Amazon, the core display advertising is being hit and will continue to be under threat unless the publishers decide to wake up and take on these digital giants aggressively.
The biggest weakness of the digital medium is credibility and authenticity of source, which is still the biggest USP of print publishers.
The Indian audience tends to believe in the written word and hence print publishers need to use this advantage, innovate and add value to their offerings, using multiple platforms. It will be increasingly important for them to use the digital platform smartly and step into the revenue shares of the digital giants.
In a nutshell, learn to play the digital game and well.