India’s newspaper owners demand ‘Maximum Support Price’—200% more government spend on print media, and 50% hike in rates for sarkari ads

Nine months after the pandemic broke the back of the media, the Indian Newspaper Society (INS) has revived its demand for a “stimulus package”.

It includes:

# Removal of 5% customs duty on newsprint

# A two-year tax holiday

# 200% increase in government spend on print media

# 50% increase in rates of government advertising

# Immediate settlement of outstanding dues.

INS says the “industry” has lost Rs 12,500 crore in the last six months. It pegs the overall loss for the year at Rs 16,000 crore.

In April, days after the lockdown began, INS had said the news media, hit by the triple whammy of #coronavirus, collapsing ad revenues and customs duty on imported newsprint, was in real danger of turning “sick”.

The Times group, whose business head Sivakumar Sundaram had said in August that things were on the mend, gives the INS plea the most space in The Times of India and The Economic Times.

Only last week, TOI announced it was shutting its tabloid Pune Mirror and turning Mumbai Mirror into a weekly. It said India was not technically in recession.

Also read: Newspaper industry in danger of turning “sick”

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