COVID-19 has kicked dying newspapers in the gut

Indian print executives have been buying time to turn digital into a real business. Their runway just got a lot shorter.

Rajeev Talwar, chief executive officer at DLF Ltd. Alok Tandon, CEO at INOX Leisure Ltd. Vijay Shekhar Sharma, founder and CEO at Paytm. Motilal Oswal, managing director and CEO at Motilal Oswal Financial Services. Amit Burman, chairman at Dabur India Ltd.

These are just a few of the many names of Indian business leaders who, in the past week, have popped up in videos on social media to say how they are missing their newspapers, particularly The Economic Times. The campaign, carried out by journalists and employees of India’s most-read financial daily, has pumped nostalgia for all its worth.

The past two weeks haven’t been easy. With the coronavirus outbreak, newspaper deliveries have been disrupted, advertising revenue has gone for a toss and, worst of all, the papers must convince their readers that they are safe from the virus. The Economic Times is not alone in that pursuit. Hindi dailies like Dainik Jagran and Dainik Bhaskar and the Malayalam daily Mathrubhumi have all been putting out messages about both the safety and the credibility of print media.

The COVID-19 pandemic and the fallout of governments’ attempts to contain it have hit almost every industry in India and around the world. Travel, hospitality, retail, etc. But unlike these, print news has been dying for a while now—the coronavirus has just sped up the process.

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