Electronic Media Stealing the Print Media’s Share!

newspaper_trashIn 1998 when I was working in a Karachi based advertising agency, all the time we had to focus on print ads and a rare TVC or intro was produced for a big client like PTCL. At that time, graphic designers were very important and they used to have a prominent value in an advertising company. They even had better salaries. These designers worked day and night and used to tease client services’ and creative departments for not working so hard. However with the ICT revolution and media groom in Musharraf era all that has changed with fast pace and we have seen a new world of creativity and media where the print campaigns and advertising has lost its charm . In this column I have tried to give a quick look of the changes and its main reasons

Today, when it comes to media matters, every thing seems revolving around Television. After remaining under the control of state for around 40 years, electronic media today has its due share and influence . After the end of monopoly of PTV in 2003 with the emergence of the private TV channels in Pakistan, electronic media started expanding and now we have more then 70 channels in the country (though they are mostly news and current affairs channels).

These channels have a very good impact and coverage through out the country. Especially in the urban areas these channels have more then 60% penetration. Other 40 percent is occupied by the foreign channels, mostly the Indian ones.

Another thing which pave the way for the electronic media is the situation of the world especially in Pakistan; as the front line ally on the war against terror.  Similarly, sports like cricket, hockey and football have extended more joy to the fans watching live matches from the grounds.  I would like to mention here the thrill and excitement of twenty-twenty cricket tournaments, fairly fan the fire in TV viewers.

The cable TV mostly claiming 70 to 100 channels are present in the width and breadth of the country and now even reaching the villages and small towns. These cable operators are also trying to earn revenue through local ads. Thus a city by city advertising model is there to support these cable operators.

The burgeoning  TV industry , with its 70 + satellite channels and significant cable presence has become more formidable opponent  to say the least, attracting 10.55 billion rupees advertising revenues in the fiscal year 2006-2007 alone which was touching 13 billion during 2007-2008.

Print Share %
TV Share %

Contrary to this figure, print media which has normally lion share in terms of revenue has not seen the growth in terms of new newspapers and revenue as well. During the last five years print share of advertising has decreased up to 11%, which clearly indicates the trend in advertising.

While looking the above trend, some media analyst predicts that the print media is dying slow but with a certain death. It is a fact that the leading newspapers group has opted for the TV channels and FM stations to remain in the business. This was perhaps another factor which finds the pinch of aggressively increasing bid for the electronic media.

For decades newspapers remained the most credible source of the news, analysis and information. The experts believed that print has more credibility and access to the masses. Most of the newspapers are as old as the country and they have their readership and strength to make an opinion. Compared to this, electronic media has the different mood.

Advertisers and media planners still believe that TV with its reach and potential will remain the dominant medium while print will be used as reinforcement medium. Print media personnel, however, disagree with this point of view.

TV is a fashion able medium that is another reason that advertisers are flocking to it. Further more to some extent TV boom is artificial and at least some of the TV channels will fade away in the next couple of years due to financial crisis or lack of funds; and its matter of fact that we already have seen channel five crisis where employees are facing a tough task to meet their both ends while waiting salaries for the last three months.

If we critically analyze the situation we may say that TV channels are very flexible in their business approach while mostly newspapers and magazines remain sticked to their rates. Some times a news channels starts bidding of an advertising campaign from 10 million and then ok it at the cost which may be 50 % less then the bidding initial rate.
Another thing which should be taken in to account is that mostly  those professional are dealing in the TV channels  who have some print media back ground and experience, so they  enjoying the environment while newspapers have less experience and motivated staff due to low packages.

Now with the recession  impact  this war of business may be even challenging for the print and electronic media.