With newspaper revenues in a downward spiral in the U.S., it’s easy to forget that there’s one area where daily tabloids and broadsheets are still thriving: India. While the NYTimes.com’s new India Ink blog is an online only, it does suggest that western publishers may look to the large Indian market for growth potential, especially as broadband penetration and incomes rise there.
The NYT’s sharper Indian focus comes more than two years after the Wall St. Journal launched its Indian effort. Given the accelerating ad market in India right now, it seems like the NYT should be able to catch the growth that’s happening there.
Earlier this year, Interpublic Group’s Magna Global has forecast India’s advertising market to rise by 21 percent this year. With the ad economy in the U.S. looking more uncertain, it makes sense for the NYTCo (NYSE: NYT) to expand its brand to India. Still, one small blog likely won’t mean much to the newspaper’s bottom line, but it does position the brand well as the Indian market remains in a robust growth pattern.
Beyond ads, the NYTCo sees India Ink as a possible extension of its metered paywall. The press release carefully notes that “initially, access to India Ink will be exempt from The New York Times’s digital subscription packages,” suggesting that free period won’t last forever.
The blog will be edited by the NYT staff in India and the International Herald Tribune in Hong Kong, led by lead writer Heather Timmons, who has covered business in India for the NYT for the last four years.
The move is also one of the first big decisions to come out of the NYT under executive editor Jill Abramson, who replaced Bill Keller this week in the position. Keller announced his decision to step down as executive editor back in June, opting to writing a column instead.