New Delhi: Association of Indian Magazines (AIM), the apex body that represents leading Magazine publishers across India, has pressed the panic button and seek the urgent intervention of the Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to save the Indian Magazines industry from extinction.
R Rajmohan, The President of the Association of Indian Magazines (AIM), in his letter stated that the Magazine Industry has been going through hard times. Advertising revenues have declined as advertisers face the pressure to reduce marketing spends, due to the prevailing macro-economic conditions. Coupled with this, is the rising input cost, resulting in low or no proﬁtability for magazine publishers.
COVID-19 and lockdown have now cast its shadow on magazine publishing and has thrown the business completely out of gear. Though classiﬁed as ‘essential services’, distribution of magazines has been severely hampered during the lockdown. Most magazines are printed in one city and transported to other states through the Railways network and it is the postal and local courier services that they rely on for delivery of subscription copies. Both are currently not happening.
“Due to the economic impact of COVID-19, businesses have deferred their advertising spends, depriving magazines of their major revenues. This has forced magazine publishers, across country, to take drastic steps like slashing the number of pages and skipping issues. However, given the severity of the problem, these measures will not suﬃce and survival of magazines will be diﬃcult unless Government steps in with a bail-out package” added Rajmohan.
AIM has request Finance Minister to consider the following requests to salvage the magazine publishing sector:
- Remove the remaining 5% Customs Duty on Newsprint. (Before the Union Budget 2019-20, there was no Customs Duty on Newsprint.)
- Withdraw the GST on Newsprint or at least make the GST on LWC (paper used by magazines) on par with SNP/ GNP (used by newspapers) at 5%. As per PRB Act, both newspapers and magazines come under the deﬁniRon of ‘Newspapers’. (Prior to the introduction of GST, LWC up to 70 gsm had no dues or taxes, whatsoever, for end-users.)
- Tax holiday for two years.
- Allocate 10% of the BOC (DAVP) budgets to Magazines.
- Sok loans for two years at 5% interest, with a moratorium for 6 months
- Bring down the GST on Digital Content Writing to 5% from the existing 18%. (Content writing is our core business and to supplement income, magazine publishers have entered into Digital Content Writing)
- Reduce GST on Events, conducted by magazine publishers, to 5%. (Our Events are an extension of our Content and we have created them to engage with our readers further.)
Magazines play a very important role in society, by serving millions of readers by providing insights, analysis, chronicling trends, and marketing of goods and services. Magazines are not just content but experiences. Taking into account this role-played by the magazines in the dissemination of knowledge, our constitution has provided many concessions to magazines and is always treated on par with Newspapers.