Dealing with the rapidly evolving changes in print advertising is one of the biggest challenges news media organisations face today. D.D. Purkayastha, managing director and CEO of ABP Pvt Ltd in Kolkata, shared what his organisation is doing to navigate these changes.
“Print-based advertising is facing strong headwinds, so we have to reinvent ourselves,” Purkayastha said. ABP is doing many different things in reaction to these changes:
ABP sometimes partners with other media organisations, such as The Hindu or Star Alliance, to sell advertising as one entity that they call One India.
“That’s pure collaboration; this helps us a lot,” Purkayastha said. “Our revenue has grown three times over two years, while the market is 7 or 8% growth.”
“Print media is very strong in activation, connecting with the ‘touch and feel.’ TV and other media cannot do it.”
Purkayastha said ABP is doing well in this area with its own in-house unit called ABP One. This acts almost as an agency within the organisation, using a very creative team.
“They go to a customer, understand their problems, and provide them complete end-to-end solutions.” This includes print, activation, events, and sometimes television or other media as required.
“This also has worked wonderfully, and has grown I would say about two-and-a-half times in the last three years,” Purkayastha said.
While these initiatives have been working for ABP, Purkayastha said the company is constantly innovating and discovering new ways of addressing print advertising.
What advice does he have for news media companies trying to prepare for the future? Purkayastha encouraged companies to diversify when possible.
He gave the example of ABP diversifying into television about 12 years ago, which is paying dividends for the company now.
“You must go very strongly to digital business,” Purkayastha added. “We try to prop up [print] with so many things, but print is gradually fading away. We have to find some new ideas to get your revenues from.”