Covid 19 forced Print Media industry to close its sub offices

Covid 19 forced Print Media industry to close its sub offices

Kanwar Inder Singh/ Chandigarh

Covid 19 has impacted every business, worldwide. The businesses are grappling tremendous uncertainty about the future.

Indian Media industry, among the few thriving in the world — with its crores of readers , which is one of the largest business industries in India, is also affected by Covid 19 pandemic. Out of total media industry Print Media, which is the largest, is the hardest hit, due to dwindling ads and disruption in circulation, with myths and coronvirus spreading through newspapers only adding to problem. The readers stopped reading the newspapers, with this the circulation reduced significantly.

With negligible commercial advertisements and a serious disruption in circulation of newspapers,  have forced media houses to take drastic steps, from April onwards-from slashing the number of pages and shutting printing to lay-offs, salary cuts and leave without pay for employees, shunting of employees and many more.

With this uncertainty about the future, some of the media houses is going to curtail their expenses by closing down their sub offices in pan India .Leading newspaper Hindustan Times, Times of India are amongst this. They had ordered the local staff to operate from their residence and close the offices.

Like in this part of the region-Hindustan Times have its offices in Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Amritsar, Bathinda, Patiala, Shimla, Jammu etc., besides Mohali .Similarly Times of India has its offices in Ludhiana, Patiala etc along with Chandigarh.

Covid 19 forced Print Media industry to close its sub offices- photo courtesy-internet

Now Hindustan Times, Times of India has decided to close their sub offices in this part of the region also, along with other pan India offices to curtail their expenses.

“Both Hindustan Times and Times of India launched their Chandigarh editions on April, 19,2000.After that Hindustan Times opened its sub offices in different locations in Punjab,Haryana, HP, J&K, besides Chandigarh. Later Times of India follows this. But this type of grave situation never came in Print Media history , which forces the media industry giants to close its office in pan India and in such a large numbers. Earlier in a cost cutting move HT closes its Jalandhar printing unit in this part of the country. Few years back Tribune group also closes its Bathinda printing unit for few years, but later resumes it. Few years ago, Indian Express had already closes its offices, in a cost cutting move” said Gurjit Singh, who worked in a print media industry, for a long time.

As per a print media expert” this is just the first step to curb their expenses, as the prime minister has asked all the industrial houses to not to sack the employees . With the extension of lockdown period, circulation and advertising both dropping sharply during the lockdown. Advertisements, both from the commercial category as well as the government segment are still the biggest revenue sources for media houses. With the economic slowdown, ads from private advertisers were anyway getting tougher to come by. The print industry has been hugely dependent on advertisement revenue. After the opening of lockdown, these organizations might sack the off role, probationary employees in one go and on role employees in phased manner as they have to serve the required one-two-three months notice ”

Recently The Indian Newspaper Society (INS) has urged the government to provide a strong stimulus package to the newspaper industry which it said has lost over Rs 4,000 crore and is likely to suffer further losses of up to Rs 15,000 crore in the next six to seven months, if relief is not provided.

May, 26, 2020

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