World Association of News Publishers

Operational Efficiency Benchmarking for the Newspaper Industry in India, January 2015

Operational Efficiency Benchmarking for the Newspaper Industry in India, January 2015

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The newspaper industry is under pressure globally. While in the West, decline of the newspaper has been rapid, in the East, newspapers will probably survive for longer. However, there are several pressures on the newspaper industry in the East as well – competition from digital readership, increasing input costs, reducing advertising spends, and so on. In such a scenario, it is important for newspaper industry players to collaborate to improve internal operational efficiencies across the industry. Through such an effort the overall industry will stand to benefit. With this objective in mind, an industry-wide benchmarking exercise was carried out to identify specific improvement opportunities across players. The result has been extremely encouraging. This report details out the methodology and findings of this benchmarking exercise.

The newspaper industry has been the traditional source of news for generations. However, the industry has been facing several challenges – (a) invasion of electronic media (TV and Internet) which has resulted in a steep decline for newspaper readership in the West, (b) increase in newsprint costs and uncertain fluctuations in exchange rates, (c) declining advertiser interest especially in the context of increasing popularity of digital media and (d) internal operational inefficiencies. While several of these challenges are ‘external’ and generic to the industry as a whole, solving ‘operational inefficiencies’ is much more under control of individual players. Newspaper companies have ongoing initiatives to improve their own operational performance, however they have never had a way to know “how good is good”. Should an improvement in sales productivity by 15% be considered good or is there a lot of room for further improvement? Should production waste of 3.5% be considered enough or is it possible to bring it down further? These questions have never been answered. The root cause for this has been the lack of an industry-wide benchmarking exercise of typical operating parameters for newspaper companies. It is in this context that a holistic business-system encompassing benchmarking exercise was launched. The objective of this benchmarking exercise was two-fold: 

  • Identify improvement areas for participating organizations across the entire business system 
  • Help improve operations efficiency of the industry as a whole 




Prabhu Natrajan's picture

Prabhu Natrajan


2018-12-10 07:14

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