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Print medium to add 300 mn readers in coming years: Ashish Bhasin

As per the data released by the FICCI in March this year, print accounted for the second-largest share of the advertising pie and grew 3% to reach Rs 33,000 cr in 2017

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Print medium to add 300 mn readers in coming years: Ashish Bhasin
Ashish Bhasin (2nd from left) speaks at the event on Wednesday
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The India Chapter of the International Advertising Association on Wednesday released 'The Gutenberg Galaxy', a book containing 24 case studies of effective Indian print advertisement campaigns. The book was launched to highlight the print industry's brilliant growth rate despite negative rumours and sometimes even obituaries.

As per the data released by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) in March this year, print accounted for the second-largest share of the advertising pie and grew 3 per cent to reach Rs 33,000 crore in 2017. Advertisers and marketeers who had gathered for this event also shared the same sentiments.

"People were in too much hurry two to four years ago in predicting the death of print. It is clear that the medium is growing and will continue to grow for the next five to seven years at the very least. Many publishers were worried and most rightfully. It is not wise to ignore changes such as reducing attention span, the rise of the digital medium, but it is quite silly to be defensive. The owners of the medium have to strongly start believing in it," observed Ashish Bhasin, Chairman and CEO - South Asia, Dentsu Aegis Network.

"The strength of print is in its credibility. With the menace of fake news spreading on the digital medium and the TV becoming a bit too opinionated, it is the print medium that people turn to after the dust settles and that is what keeps it relevant. The print is trying to be sexy like the TV to stay relevant and even that is necessary to an extent," added Bhasin.

Bhasin also noted that in coming years, as about 200-300 million new readers come up, it will be the biggest opportunity for the medium in India, when other countries will have far lesser readers. "Languages, apart from Hindi and English, will see the highest growth before a part of those readers graduate to English. Also, to tap these readers, some fundamental innovation will be required by publishers instead of gimmicks," added Bhasin.

Experts also opined that advertisers need to relook at how they use the medium effectively for the purpose of storytelling.

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