NEW DELHI: India's vibrant newspaper industry that reaches tens of millions of readers daily has been ravaged by declining advertising revenues due to a nationwide lockdown to fight the coronavirus, pushing leading titles to slash jobs and salaries.
Advertising revenues at some top dailies published by market leader The Times Group and publisher ABP Group have nosedived as businesses slash ad spending to conserve cash, senior executives said.
"Our print advertisement revenue, which is 80 to 85 per cent of our total revenue, is almost zero post lockdown," said D. D. Purkayastha, chief executive of ABP, which publishes English-language daily The Telegraph and top Bengali language newspaper Anandabazar Patrika.
The Times of India, among the world's largest circulating English-language dailies, has shrunk to around 16 pages with supplements, compared with 40 plus pages previously, as ads from companies have stopped, said one Times employee.
The Times this week laid off some staff on its Sunday magazine team, a move two journalists told Reuters had sparked fears among staff about further job losses.
"There is tension and people are only praying. Who knows what will happen, but everybody is expecting pay cuts," said one Times Group business journalist, who declined to be named.
The Times Group did not respond to a request for comment.
India has extended a nationwide lockdown to May 3 to fight the coronavirus that has so far infected more than 12,000 and killed over 400 people. India has said it will allow opening up of only some industries after Apr 20.
The Hindustan Times, another leading publisher, on Thursday said it was moving between 5 and 15 per cent of salaries to variable pay linked to the company's performance, an internal memo seen by Reuters said.
Indian companies last year spent nearly US$9 billion on advertising, including about US$2.6 billion on print media, according to Pitch Madison advertising report this year.
The Indian Newspaper Society, which represRead More – Source