Feature

World Media 2007: India

The world's largest democracy is set to rival China in growth terms. Its media industry is buoyant thanks to rising literacy, a growing middle class and the relaxation of foreign investment rules.

It is widely accepted that India is the new China. With a population of more than one billion, the world's largest democracy is not far short of its neighbour and its rapid economic growth, which started in the 90s, looks set to continue. Since 2003, there has been annual economic growth of 8 per cent.

The signs are there that India is booming. There are more than six million new mobile phone connections a month, 450 new shopping malls under construction across the country and George Bush has improving relations with India high on his agenda.

However, the majority of the rural population is illiterate and is still dominated by the Hindu caste system. And around 360 million people live on less than 50 pence a day.

The National Congress-led United Progressive Alliance coalition government will be looking to make reforms which might sustain levels of growth, before it faces re-election in 2009. Two obvious needs are the upgrading of the country's infrastructure and a focus on education, addressing a shortage of skilled labour.

The media scene is buoyant. Rising literacy, a growing middle class and the relaxing of rules controlling foreign investment all encourage expansion. Advertising is expected to maintain growth of 14 to 16 per cent to 2009.

Big changes are under way in the radio market, after station licensing was liberalised by the government. The number of FM stations is rising from 50 to nearer 400 in 2007. Favourable policies are also encouraging internet use and cinema is undergoing a revival.

There are more than 47,000 registered magazines across India and, in the next few years, several international heavyweights plan to enter the market, including Vogue, Fortune and The Economist. Many regional players in print media have expanded their territories. The leading regional publisher, the Bhaskar Group, now has a national presence.

There is a thriving newspaper market with hundreds of daily titles. There were three English language launches last year in Mumbai alone and the International Herald Tribune, the Financial Times and Metro all have ambitions in the country.

There are hundreds of TV stations and plenty of pirate operators, but that hasn't deterred the broadcaster TV18 from expanding from its flagship channel CNBC to launch three further channels. Disney also increased its investment in India in 2006 and Rupert Murdoch launching a direct-to-home joint venture, called Tata Sky.

ADVERTISING EXPENDITURE
USdollars million at current prices. All years based on US$1 = Rs
47.19 *Estimated
Total News- Maga- TV Radio Cinema Out- Online
papers zines door
2000 1,623 795 - 637 41 8 136 6
2001 1,868 732 172 757 51 7 141 8
2002 2,025 793 162 848 59 14 141 8
2003 2,532 1,195 157 950 65 15 143 8
2004 3,181 1,343 119 1,375 54 80 201 10
2005 3,668 1,519 137 1,638 75 60 215 24
2006 4,248 1,795 152 1,880 84 66 238 34
2007* 4,883 2,064 168 2,124 125 74 272 57
2008* 5,603 2,332 185 2,422 181 91 306 86
2009* 6,323 2,558 193 2,719 190 126 379 158

Adspend notes 1) Includes production costs to 2004, excludes after. 2)
Includes agency commission. 3) Includes classified advertising to 2004,
excludes after. 4) After discounts. 5) TV includes non-terrestrial. 6)
Newspapers include magazines until 2000. 7) Internet figures are IAMAI
estimates from 2004.

FACTFILE
HIGHEST CIRCULATING TITLES
Newspaper: The Times of India (daily, 2,439,000 copies)
Business magazine: Business World (weekly, 147,000 copies) (2004)
Consumer magazine: Reader's Digest (monthly, 476,000 copies) (2004)
TOP TV SHOWS
Most-watched TV programme: Kaun Banega Crorepati 2 (2004)
Best new TV format: Duniya Goal Hai, comedy format shown during the
football World Cup
MAJOR MEASUREMENT TOOLS
Circulation: Audit Bureau of Circulation
Readership: National Readership Survey, India Readership Survey
TV viewing: Media Xpress
MAIN MEDIA OWNERS
Newspapers: Bennett Coleman & Co, Bhaskar Prakashan
Magazines: India Today
TV: Doordarshan (public), News Corporation, Zee

THE LOWDOWN

- Media topic du jour

With the launch of social networking websites, the talk is of user-generated content and how to make the most of them.

- Reigning media guru and why

Vineet Jain is the son of Indu Jain, the matriarch of Bennett Coleman & Co. Now controlling the company, he has been building media assets, including the news channel Times Now.

- Media mogul to be seen dining with and why

Ronnie Screwvala, the chief executive of UTV. In 2006, UTV was behind the first film hit of the year and sold its children's channel Hungama TV to Disney. Screwvala is one to watch.

- Car to drive: Honda CRV.

- Phone to carry: Moto Q.

- Whatever you do, don't say: When you get Big Brother, why not invite Jade Goody into the house.

BUZZ MEDIA IDEA OF 2006

WT's Blue Billion campaign for Pepsi, aiming to bind Pepsi and cricket fans together. Launched towards the end of 2006, this major multimedia campaign includes websites, television ads and a Pepsi-branded train, the Blue Billion Express.