Business Today

Jagran Prakashan: The Awakening

Mahendra Mohan Gupta        Print Edition: Aug 5, 2012

The print media is the only industry where the more you sell, the more you lose. One just has to look at its genesis in India to understand why. The industry evolved with the objective of disseminating the voice of the people during the freedom struggle. With this goal, rather than profit making, newspapers were priced at affordable levels. Jagran Prakashan Ltd, which was founded in 1942 during the Quit India Movement, was not an exception. However, the cover prices of newspapers continue to remain much lower than their cost, and even today, the more you sell, the more you lose.

JPL needed to fend off rivals, retain market share and talent, and ride out the 2008 crisis
Differentiated content, offerings and innovation. Controlled costs. Kept team members motivated

Until 2005, we had been expanding the reach of Dainik Jagran across Northern and Central India and losses were inevitable. In 2005/06, we went public. This gave us some funds and allowed us to consolidate our position. Investing early in the business gave us a leading market position, which allowed us to command a good flow of advertising revenue. The time had come to reap the benefit of the investment and hard work done over 60 years.

However, the journey since has not been a cakewalk. With the increasing importance of Tier-II and Tier-III towns, competition has intensified and we face the twin threats of losing market share and talent. The global meltdown of 2008/09 and 2011/12 has compounded the industry's woes.

During this difficult phase, Jagran Prakashan has stuck to the basics, focusing on providing consumer differentiation in terms of content, offerings and innovation. At the same time we have controlled costs, motivated the team to deliver against the odds, and looked after the interests of consumers and other stakeholders. So far, this has yielded results. And I firmly believe that it will be the key to success in future.

The author is Chairman & Managing Director, Jagran Prakashan

 Stories of other companies that faced tough times and emerged stronger, told by the people who were in the thick of things.
 Nitin Paranjpe on HUL Himanshu Kapania on IDEA
 Mahendra Mohan Gupta on Jagran Prakashan Rakesh Jain and Sushil Agarwal on Aditya Birla Nuvo
 Sanjay Lalbhai on Arvind Mills Peter Mukerjea on Star India
 Sanjiv Goenka on CESC Bhavarlal H. Jain on Jain Irrigation Systems
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 Anu Aga on Thermax
 Sunil Duggal on Dabur India
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