Why does Newspaper Advertising Work in India?

A newspaper is a piece of paper that is published periodically, delivering news, informative articles accompanied by advertisements that generate revenue for the publications.

In simple terms, newspaper advertising refers to publishing print advertisements which can be a broadsheet or even a tabloid. Newspapers have been the most preferred medium of advertising in India since ages and are still the first platform selected for advertisements by most businesses. The popularity of every newspaper is based on a set of specific qualities incorporated in them.

We all know that Newspapers are highly popular among readers. But, as an Indian advertiser, you must be aware that why does Newspaper Advertising work in India. There are several essential factors that ensure the effectiveness of Newspaper ads to drive results.


Newspaper Reach in India cannot be beaten by any other source of advertising. It is equally diverse as it is vast. In India, a newspaper is the most suitable medium for receiving as well as providing information as its audience is not limited to only the urban or tech savvy Indians. Newspapers reach out to about 33 crore readers across the entire country which ensures that for every 3 individuals, there is at least 1 newspaper.

  • India is proud to have an English newspaper with the largest circulation in the world namely Times of India with a circulation more than 49 lakhs alone
  • Regional language newspapers like the Hindi daily Dainik Jagran has a higher circulation than the most popular English daily, of about 1 crore 64 lakhs. This figure proves that the audience for regional language dailies is higher in number, specifically because the Internet presence of regional newspapers is not strong enough.
  • Newspapers are read by people belonging to different age groups starting with teenagers to senior citizens, and across different professions, which include, house-makers, professionals and students.
  • Newspaper reading is a habit that is inculcated seen in children between the age of 3-12 years. This which has led to initiating special children’s supplements like Telekids by the Telegraph and Times NIE by the Times of India.
  • Newspapers have access to several remote or rarely known areas of India, where the Internet or even Television has not been able to enter yet.

These are some of the things that make the reach of newspapers undoubtedly the vastest and effective way to communicate with different target audiences.

Language Diversity

India is a culturally very rich and diverse country. It has almost 18 regional languages spoken within it in different dialects making them unique to each region. To cater to so many languages there are around 80 official regional language newspapers published daily. The regional language newspapers published in India have a much circulation than their English counterparts.

  • Indian newspapers are published in languages that cover Hindi, Marathi, Malayalam, Kannada, Tamil, Telegu, Assamese, Odiya, Urdu, Bengali, Gujarati, Punjabi, Marwari and much more
  • The vast number of languages in which newspapers are published ensures that the reach of newspapers is further enhanced as even those who are comfortable with reading in their mother tongue, can do so
  • In India, the most widely read newspaper is a Hindi daily, namely Dainik Bhaskar, while the English  newspapers start competing from the 3rd position which establishes the necessity for publishing newspapers and ads in regional languages
  • Targeting the audience belonging to a specific region becomes much easier with regional newspapers

There is a constant demand for regional language newspapers. Almost every literate rural and semi-rural household receives one newspaper which is either in Hindi or printed in their own regional language. While every educated household receives 2 newspapers, one of which is a regional language newspaper and the other is an English daily.

Growing Literacy Rate

India is a country that emphasises heavily on literacy which is evident from its literacy rate of about 74.04%. This figure is a drastic improvement in comparison to the literacy rate post-1947 (year Indian Independence) which was only 12%. Gram Panchayats and municipal corporations with support from the Government are taking initiatives to educate farmers, house-makers and of course the children of the villages to help them create a better future for them.

  • With an average increase of 9.2% in literacy rate means a considerable rise in the number of newspaper readers in the country, since reading and gathering information from newspapers is a basic need in education
  • Increasing readers means increase in the number of target audiences for advertisers, from regions or households which were earlier inaccessible
  • Most schools, colleges and coaching institutes encourage students to read newspapers, thereby making it easy to target the specific age-group of adolescents, youngsters along with adults

To sum up, the growing literacy rate in India is simply contributing to the growth of Newspapers and newspaper advertising in India.


The cost and availability are one of the most important factors for Newspapers to thrive in the Indian Economy. The subscription fee is not the main source of revenue for newspapers which is what keeps the rates affordable.

  • Newspapers in India are priced really low (not more than Rs.5.00) to ensure affordability for all classes in the country
  • It is the cheapest medium of mass communication and information making it a primary source for deriving news and information over television or radio
  • The low price also helps in retaining the readers of a newspaper as these rates are not really affected by inflation or any other price rise for a considerable period of time
  • The main source of revenue being advertisements for newspapers, it has managed to keep the readers from different financial backgrounds quite satisfied.

This factor is a great advantage for advertisers as they can reach out to different sectors of the society.

Accessible to All advertisers

After pricing of a newspaper, the next most important factor is the budget of advertisers. Any advertising medium needs to compliment the specified budget of an advertiser. In this factor too, Newspaper Advertising is way ahead of other mediums as it works for all kinds of advertising budgets

  • It caters to advertisers with a limited budget of even Rs.1000/- within which a classified ad can be easily published under personal advertisements like matrimonial, obituaries, legal notices, change of name, lost and found etc.
  • Both individual and business advertisers who have different kinds of budgets can choose to advertise on any specific pages of a newspaper and make their ads prominent
  • Advertisers who can afford to spend lakhs and get the highest number of eyeballs for their ad can conveniently opt for newspaper advertising

Newspapers do not disappoint any advertiser with any kind of budget constraints. It caters to business and personal advertisers alike, always keeping their requirements as the priority.

Trust & Effectiveness

The effectiveness of a newspaper advertisement is guided by the trust, readers express in the news content delivered.Editorial teams have for worked for decades to ensure quality and unbiased content for newspapers. So when you place your advert alongside such quality news content your ad or brand name too becomes eligible for the trust of the readers. Apart from this, the percentage of newspaper readers is growing at a steady rate of 8-9% every year.Newspaper Classified Ad

  • In newspapers, the intended effectiveness can be moderated by the advertisers based on the type of advertisement they prefer to publish.
  • Even in case of classified advertisements, each advertisement is viewed by its relevant audience as per their requirement as in case of Matrimonial, Recruitment, Name Change and Property ads
  • In case of display advertisements, the effectiveness is intended for the masses which demands advertisers to concentrate on the content and design of their ads
  • The reason readers subscribe to a particular newspaper is the trust that they have in that specific newspaper.

Above all, newspapers are the one stop medium for targeting the most versatile audience, a variety of locations, region specific languages as well as different age groups in India. This is why newspaper advertising works in India even today and the publications have only been gaining readers and revenues with time unlike the newspaper market of the USA and UK.

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