Why do newspaper sellers say extra

Extra sheet! - India's newspaper market is booming

“Breaking News” in New Delhi - dozens of reporters are buzzing around, the cameramen jostle for the best picture, and the outside broadcast vehicles rush through the traffic. In India, there is great competition between media companies. But while the technical development of television and the Internet has led to a crisis in the print media in the West, newspaper circulation has been increasing on the subcontinent for years. India has the largest number of newspapers and magazines in the world - more than 82,000 titles. And there are more.

You can also see them everywhere in the country: Indians reading the newspaper in tea shops on the roadside or in dusty village squares. Often several villagers will share a sheet of paper and the latest news will be read out for those who cannot read. More than 107 million copies are sold every day, as evidenced by the latest available figures from 2009. For comparison: the daily newspapers published in Germany had a circulation of around 20 million per day of publication in the same year - Sunday and weekly newspapers not included. The good economic situation, higher incomes, high advertising budgets of companies and above all the increasing literacy of the population are blamed for the rapid growth of the newspaper sector.

Many Indians are better educated and have increasing demands. That's why they want to be better informed, says Durbar Ganguly, editor-in-chief of the English-language “Millennium Post”. "They are increasingly hungry for the news and subscribe to several newspapers and magazines," he says. Virender Bidhuri is preparing for a civil servant exam. He comes from the country. "Back home in the village, our family only had one newspaper in Hindi." He has now subscribed to two English-language newspapers and several news magazines.

The economic reforms of the 1990s and the rapid technical developments in satellite television triggered a veritable media boom. Television is the leading medium for news. Instead of a state broadcaster, there are now 825 television channels - around 130 of them are news channels. The electronic media are also partly responsible for the newspaper boom, say Indian newspaper makers. TV news made people want detailed information and analysis. Only ten percent of the population have internet access. According to media analysts, there is still little competition for newspapers from this corner.

Newspapers often only cost four or five euro cents - a fraction of the price in Europe. Still, they make a profit. Advertisements and advertising are still good business in India. The sheets are often only a few pages thick - but many cannot afford a television or a subscription for satellite channels.

According to official figures, the number of newspaper titles has risen by almost a quarter in the past five years. Newspapers appear in English, Hindi, or around 40 regional languages. They reach a total of 329 million readers, from India's approx. 1.2 billion inhabitants. The non-English titles in particular are booming. “People are becoming more educated and want to read more about themselves, local issues and politics,” says Shravan Garg, editor-in-chief of the Nai Duniya Group, part of India's largest print group, Dainik Jagran. Younger readers often prefer English titles - knowledge of this language is still considered a basic requirement for a career in politics or business.

India's media are considered independent and critical. Nevertheless, there is growing concern about falling standards and increasing influence from politicians and business people. The media landscape is increasingly dominated by a few big players, says media expert Paranjoy Guha Thakurta. This is a worrying development, says editor-in-chief Ganguly. “Even more than the political parties, it is the corporations that hijack the topic and push their own agendas. Objectivity and the quality of journalism are at risk. "

dpa