“Media Spend to increase in the process of re-building Kerala”
When it comes to Kerala market, Print is not just a king but the emperor amongst all forms of media. Leading media house Mathrubhumi is in the hearts of every Malayalee household through various engaged entertainment platforms mainly print, radio (Club FM), television (Mathrubhumi News & Kappa TV), online (Mathrbhumi.com) & digital. However, Print is the major revenue contributor for the organization.
Kamal Krishnan P S, National Head- Media Solutions (Print), The Mathrubhummi Printing and Publishing Co, in an exclusive chat with TVNews4u on the print readership in Kerala, recent trends in terms of media convergence and the plans of Mathrubhumi across all verticals.
What is your view on the statistics telling print is still growing and how much does print contributes to your organization revenue?
Yes. The Print is here to stay for a while, the recent IRS report reaffirms that it continues to grow in India. In Kerala Print continues to lead vis a vis Television, thus proving to be the most preferred medium to reach the Malayalee audience. The print is still the highest revenue earner for the group, contributes to 80% of our total revenue.
What are the key industries that spend your daily and are you getting enough ads from national brands too?
Automobile sector, retailers (especially the gold) and BFSI are the industry verticals that are generating maximum revenue for us. If you ask me, the presence of the brand, we have an almost equal share of regional brands and national brands advertising with us.
Convergence is trending everywhere. Do you think, your alternative media properties like portal, FM radio compete with print?
In a way, yes. However, as an organization with multiple media platforms like Print, TV, Radio, Digital, Events and more, we have a strong value proposition to Client requirements. Our Integrated solutions through cross-media platforms offer all possible solutions a client would want from Kerala, ranging from brand building, network strengthening, sales, research and various engagements with trade and consumers. Therefore instead of competing between various media options, we complement each other to provide value-packed solutions for our clients.
Aren’t you seeing the trend where the new-age companies are ignoring print and prefer digital?
While that is what we thought initially. However, it is not so in reality. The relevance of print comes from the credibility it carries vis-à-vis any other medium. Nothing still is more impactful and credible than a full page ad, could be in the form of a jacket, in a newspaper as the imagery it gives to the brand is huge. Print ads complement the new-age companies to boost-up their sales from time-to-time, therefore adding to the bottom-line. For example, if you notice the recent ‘sale-day’ or ‘offer- day’ by large e-commerce giants, they are present on the first page of the dailies. And the sales and inquiries go high when they do campaign on such occasions. For any tactical offers, the print is still the preferred choice for advertisers and it delivers.
What are the brand building activities you do for retaining your readerships?
At Mathrubhumi, we take conscious efforts at grass root level to encourage reading and thereby retain the relevance of Malayalam. Our environmental education program called SEED, has a network of over 8 Thousand schools across the state which regularly engages with children on issues related with the environment. Similarly, our annual debate programs held over 800 campuses are quite popular among the youth. Among the latest in this series to regain the importance of Malayalam language in the context of growing multi-linguistic aspirations, a literature festival called MBIFL (Mathrubhumi International Festival of Letters) was organised where 150 plus authors and speakers across the world participated. The logo of the festival was designed with the Malayalam letter ‘Ka’ which was widely appreciated by the audience. Therefore when we confidently say that the Print is here to stay, it is a result our ongoing efforts to stay relevant with our readers.
Apart from that, we undertake various social initiatives that impact the lives of people. In the recent floods in Kerala, apart from the extensive editorial coverage, our team was physically present in flood-affected regions leading relief work. We organised several medical camps at the relief camps for flood-affected victims. We collected relief materials from people across the country and distributed to the needy. All this and more ensure we are integral to the lives of every Malayalee in all their ups and downs.
How were the media spend during Onam 2018? We see the spending were not as predicted.
The flood was unpredicted and it ruined all prospective advertising spends that were planned for Onam. It had a bigger impact on the economy as well. However, the resilient Malayalee is back on his feet now. The Govt has already undertaken to rebuild the state, and various relief measures have been implemented. While there is a lot more to be done, there is a pent-up demand for construction, paints, home-appliances, retail, consumer electronics and more. Categories such as automobiles, BFSI and few other categories are already in full swing. We are hopeful that the economy will bounce back as every resilient Malayalee comes forward united as we saw them during the flood.