In India, the coronavirus is triggering a replacement crisis for Indian media, the Indian Newspapers Society (INS) has urged the govt to supply a robust package to the newspaper industry. The industry has lost over Rs 4,000 crore and is probably going to lose further up to Rs 15,000 crore within the next six to seven months if proper assistance is not provided.
Newspapers are already battling the lockdown and unfounded rumors of helping spread coronavirus through them but the most important problem remains the nose-diving ad revenues.
In a letter to the knowledge and Broadcasting Secretary, the INS said the newspaper industry is among the worst affected activity in India. Dwindling advertisements and a significant disruption within the circulation of newspapers has engulfed the whole industry.
“The newspaper industry has already lost Rs 4000-4500 crore within the last two months. Since economic activity has nearly collapsed and there’s no likelihood of advertising from the private sector, the losses are expected to continue at an equivalent rate for subsequent 6-7 months (implying a further loss of Rs 12,000 – 15,000 crore over subsequent 6-7 months)” unless a robust stimulus is implemented by the govt at the earliest, the letter signed by INS president Shailesh Gupta said.
They also requested the govt to withdraw five per cent customs on newspapers.
According to the last Registrar of Newspapers for India (RNI) report, there are 17,573 newspaper and 1,00,666 periodicals in India. and that they provide almost 9 to 10 lakh people and over 18-20 lakh people direct and indirect employment respectively.
But the Covid-19 crisis has been so sudden and severe that it’s made difficult for the owners to pay salaries to their employees on time.
INS also urged the govt to supply two years tax holiday for newspapers, a 50 per cent increase in advertisement rate of Bureau of Outreach and Communication and a 100 per cent increase in budget spend for medium .
“There are no such advertisements,” the source said. “This has particularly affected the tiny and medium scale newspapers because bigger newspapers still produce other sources of income.” The industry requires a hand .