Monday, August 1, 2011

Eleven days ago I played N. Ravi 's honest letter of resignation from the editorial of The Hindu, one of India' s largest English newspaper.

An important section to read:

"It is shocking that some members of the Supervisory Board should want a media institution as a company that plastic bucket with a purely commercial considerations and unethical practices overwhelming editorial interests and values."

Mr. Ravi, left, director of the paper is 's Press, Kasturi & Sons, has now sent me an article that elaborated on the theme of his writing.

Under the heading Creative destruction in the Indian newspaper industryIt has a universal resonance, despite their specificity, are so pleased I 'm wearing it in the original ...

Existential concerns over changing values, loss of readers and advertising and falling profits seem to have gripped the newspaper industry in the western world.

It is no surprise therefore that my remarks over attempts to run a media institution like a company manufacturing plastic buckets hit the target in places far removed from where I had aimed.

The focus of the debate lies the question: Is traditional journalism more and more untenable, and on the way to extinction?

Unlike in Europe and north America, the newspaper industry in India is not in decline, with a readership base of 250m that is growing.

Buoyed by rising incomes and education levels and increased advertising spending, the newspaper industry grew by 10% in terms of revenues in 2010 and is expected to get the growth in the next five years.

A positive trend - Newspaper readers are growing

Readership and growing up mainly in the Indian language segment, but also an increase in English-language newspapers readership of 3% in the 12 months December 2010.

One would assume that the players would not be seen in a healthy market with the kind of pressure in Western markets. Nevertheless, it appears to be a sort of Schumpeterian creative destruction at work in the Indian newspaper industry with a lot of flux and uncertainty and the search for higher profits.

Media companies have revised their business strategies in line with the changing tastes of consumers. The pursuit of higher profits have business models that the line between advertising and news tend blur produced.

To take over with the pure business approach, the public interest in the newspaper business segment to the point of non-existence has been reduced.

Older, established newspapers, which had a monopoly in their towns and regional markets face challenges of national newspapers that extending their reach with new editions and new entrants with deep pockets.

The innovations of the new comers, who are well-managed business organizations are very low prices, less than two pence a copy in some cases, low-rate packages for advertisers and fine-tuning the content in a way that appeals to specific markets.

All the papers seem in this situation of intense competition and such a mutation is not changed in regions where the entry of new players are really disturbed the market is limited.

Schumpeter 's main finding that competition "disciplines before it attacks" seems relevant here. Not only the actual competition, but to change the very threat of entry of larger and very successful media groups forcing existing players.

While innovation is usually not the progress that changes in the newspaper industry have been all for the good and three large negative trends evident.

One negative trend - the dependence on advertising revenue

The first is the growing dependence on advertising revenue and the declining share of revenues from newspaper sales, which coincide directly from the very low prices in many regions.

For many large newspapers, advertising revenue already accounts for 85% and more of the total revenue. To gain entry into new markets, they are not averse to lowering the cover prices further, increasing their dependence on advertising.

More and more websites are dedicated to content of interest to the advertising industry and lifestyle, cinema and entertainment and celebrities. In the process, there was a relative devaluation of the traditional serious content that is of historic significance, including democratic deliberation about the policy and livelihoods have been issues.

More insidious, however, has been the increasing dependence of the advertising in the press as a whole to large advertisers soft in dealing with issues of integrity, environmental protection, the larger public interest and corporate performance.

Another set of issues arises when the advertiser is the government. Governments exert considerable clout, given the substantial dependence of newspapers - small newspapers in particular - on state advertising.

Executives in the United States government have transformed the advertising in a system of patronage, to gain influence on the media. However, it is a matter of satisfaction that has such patronage is not in a completely subordinate and less powerful than push out.

In normal times, have newspapers not been reluctant to grant small favors in return - the publication of photos and interviews, for example - but in reporting on critical issues such as corruption in the allocation of radio frequencies for mobile operators, where their own credibility is on the game, they have not pulled their punches. Of course there are exceptions to the display of such independence.

In addition, advertising is only one of the instruments used by governments. The Supreme Court of India catalogs the methods in a sentence: "secret cash payments, open monetary grants and subsidies, grants of land, post-concession, state advertising, awarding of titles to editors and owners of newspapers, recording press barons in the closet and the internal political bodies, etc. are a method for influencing the press. "

Two negative trend - in the competition for the 'average reader'

The second trend is the competition for the "average reader", with stronger newspapers on both the upper and lower ends to the middle of the quality scale.

Such tabloidization is in the changes in design that the readers need to quickly and bulleted summaries and should not into reading a report from the start to be taxed to the finish of it clearly.

It is also the inclusion of more snippets and short pieces and the whole tenor of the reports, be smart and snappy seen as thoughtful and analytical goal.

The traditional separation of news and comment is often deserted, with strong headlines with critical comment on the assumption that the new reader said strong views that she agrees with reports rather boring rather constricted. There are touches of theater, pushed to the point of view, which is not so much out of conviction than marketability.

Negative trend three - selling news space

The third and perhaps most disturbing trend sheer venality in such practices as a "paid news" seen. This practice came to the fore three years ago when it was found that were published in election coverage identical reports in praise of certain candidates in several newspapers in the state.

Investigation by a committee of the Press Council of India showed that the newspapers had news sells space for the candidates and the copy of them available as "News" published.

Going back to the existential question of journalistic quality, unfortunately, seems not to be very lucrative. This seems to be true, how much of a decline still growing market like India newspaper as the newspaper markets.

The search for viable models that contribute to the quality of journalism is still on.

Roy Greenslade ? Guardian News & Media Limited 2011 | Use of this content is subject to our Terms and Conditions | More Feeds


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