The 21-day lockdown imposed by the Narendra Modi government on March 25 to combat the #Coronavirus pandemic had an immediate impact on an already beleaguered print media which suddenly found advertising and circulation revenues plummet.
Now, the 15-day extension of that 21-day lockdown, which was to end on April 15, has seen India’s most successful English evening newspaper Star of Mysore suspend publication after 43 years of publication.
#StarOfMysore, which started off as a 4- page tabloid in 1978, was publishing between 16 and 24 pages on most days, flush with local retail and corporate advertising, which commanded a higher rate and response than all mainstream morning broadsheets.
The shutdown of shops and establishments saw SoM advertisements plummet to near-zero.
As an evening tabloid with its own distribution network, delivering the paper became increasingly difficult, as vendors feared contamination, an issue that continues to affect the distribution of the big morning papers.
An unempathetic editorial on the Tabhligi Jamaat issue on April 6 that advertised majoritarian bigotry only worsened matters. SoM apologised quickly but the embers are still to cool.
The extension of the lockdown was probably the final straw, with supply of newsprint and ink held up.
Mysooru Mithra, the Kannada morning broadsheet from the #StarOfMysore stable, will continue to come out as newsprint of that size is more easily available and the distribution network is shared, but media houses are bracing for a review after the extension of the lockdown.