Printing and Publishing Industry

An Expert's View about Printing and Media in India

Last updated: 24 Mar 2011


India, with a population of 1.2 billion, is the fastest growing English language market in the world, comprising of 350 million English users. This strong readership base, coupled with the retail revolution and entry of global brands, provide huge potential for growth and investment in the printing and publishing industry in India.

In recent years, the printing industry in India has seen record levels of growth, owing to liberalized regimes, globalization and progress in automation. The industry has grown leaps and bounds due to the latest technology and machinery, quality standards and production capacities.  

The literacy rate in India is nearly 68 percent and is increasing. Although literacy levels are much below the world standard, the absolute number of literate people will be higher given the large population. More than 8000 daily newspapers are published in India, including a large number of weekly and biweekly periodicals published in all Indian languages. International exposure, increasing awareness and India’s growing consumer class are factors that drive the demand in the printing and publishing sector.  

Market Demand  

The Indian printing and packaging industries have collectively witnessed a compound annual growth rate of 16.2 percent since 1989 and outpaced the GDP growth rate of 8.9 percent. The industry is also poised to achieve a cumulative growth rate of more than 60 percent in 2011-12.  

The printing industry in India is slowly progressing from the heavy machinery using industry to a more softwarecentric business. The Indian printers are today equipped with the latest computer controlled printing machines and flow lines for binding, while state-of-the-art digital technologies are used in pre-press. UV digital printing and inkjet technology are also on the rise in India. The advent of global brands, rising consumerism and growth of the pharmaceutical industry have seen an increase in the scope for package printing. Printing for the packaging sector is on the growth path with a 17 percent growth, commercial printing 10-12 percent and digital printing 30 percent. Industry projections estimate the Indian digital printing industry to achieve a compounded annual growth rate of 85 percent in 2011-12.  

The printing industry in India is scattered across the country and the hubs are predominantly present in the North (New Delhi, Amritsar, Faridabad), West (Mumbai, Ahmedabad) and South of India (Chennai, Bangalore, Coimbatore, Sivakasi). Almost 75 percent of the printing presses are family owned and hence, closely held. The technology used in smaller towns is still conventional, but the bigger cities use the latest technology. Consequently, technology, research and training are other areas that offer opportunities for foreign collaboration and joint ventures.  

The newspaper industry is the sector that is predominantly driving the demand for printing machinery. News reporting from even remote areas has been made possible due to the developing telecommunication and transport services. This speedy dissemination of news and a growing awareness among people have resulted in the wider circulation of newspapers. According to published sources, 53.2 percent of the approximately 333 million literate youth in India consider newspapers as a major source of information compared to any other media and 63.4 percent prefer newspapers with regards to news and current affairs over other media.   With the economy recording 8-9 percent GDP growth and the increase in advertising expenditures across media platforms, including the print medium, the print media is expected to grow at 9-10 percent during 2011-2015. The print classifieds market is worth $300 million. This growth is mainly driven by not only domestic publishers but also by foreign publishers that are interested in entering the Indian market. The liberalized foreign investment policy has given the industry leverage to expand further and there has been an inflow of nearly $150 million of foreign investments during 2009-2010.  

India is the sixth largest book publishing country in the world and third largest publisher of English titles after the United States and the United Kingdom. In addition to English, the Indian publishing industry publishes in 24 regional languages to meet the local needs of the population. There are almost 16,000 publishers registered in India, publishing 80,000 titles annually in 24 languages, 18 of which are prominent and used by millions of people. Although the registered number of publishers is high, the majority of them are inactive and low volume players.   Some of them only publish their own institutional titles, or are not currently publishing at all. Although the average number of publications is very low, the absolute number of titles indicates the potential of the Indian publishing market. Therefore, the Indian publishing market is being increasingly recognized by the global players. India has been the guest of honor at the 2006 Frankfurt Book Fair and Beijing International Book Fair 2010, and Graph Expo 2007 in Chicago had an India Day.  

The magazine/periodical market in India is expected to grow at 12 percent annually. With a number of international magazines expanding operations in India, the market is expected to grow fast, in spite of the growth of online and social media. Some of the major Indian players are: The Times of India Group, Dainik Jagran, Lok Satta, The Hindustan Times and The Hindu. Some of the foreign magazines that have already entered the market include Vogue, GQ, Conde Nast Traveler, Cosmopolitan, Elle, Autocar, Harper’s Bazaar, Esquire, Wall Street Journal, International Herald Tribune, The Economist, Forbes, Fortune, BBC Knowledge, Time Out, Maxim, Hello, People, Rolling Stone, Entrepreneur, Car and Bike, and Marie Claire.

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Posted: 23 March 2011, last updated 24 March 2011

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