World Association of News Publishers

WAN-IFRA India 2020 - Printing eSummit - Newspaper distribution strategies and co-sharing distribution resources

WAN-IFRA India 2020 - Printing eSummit - Newspaper distribution strategies and co-sharing distribution resources

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Deepak Pandey, Senior Vice President of Product Sales and Marketing, Dainik Jagran.

Newspaper distribution has been gaining more importance as the publishing houses try to ensure the last mile reach of newspapers on time. The ongoing pandemic has exacerbated the situation due to the lockdown announcements from the government to prevent the spread of COVID virus. But it has manifested the importance of a strong distribution network to keep the business functions alive.

“This recent pandemic is the best example of VUCA and what it will do to businesses across the world,” said Deepak Pandey, Senior Vice President of Dainik Jagran, in his speech delivered virtually in the WAN-IFRA India 2020 – Printing eSummit. The session was chaired by Oliver Lessly, General Manager – Circulation at The Printers (Mysore) Pvt Ltd. Mr. Pandey explained each element of VUCA – Vulnerability, Uncertainty, Complex situations and Ambiguity – and how to attribute it to the then existing situation.

He stated that even when the essential supply chains collapsed, newspaper distribution remained uninterrupted for even a single day despite the reduced circulation volume. It made them realise that distribution is the backbone of newspaper business and that it is important in realising the money back.

Pandey has shared his experiences of how he and the team at Jagran worked to manage the situation through various strategies. Jagran has implemented thoroughly analysed precautionary steps at pre-press, printing and post-press level. Reel storage area, office premises and printing facilities were sanitised regularly. Staggered working shift arrangement for the pressman was implemented and proper statutory arrangements for the smooth flow of employees and the published newspapers were brought in place.

At the post -press level, vehicles were sanitised, and the newspaper copies were moved into the vehicle without any contact through special arrangements and the staff were given gloves, face masks to ensure the copies are free from any possible contamination.

At the distribution centres and vendor points, hygienic standards were maintained, and they too were given masks and gloves. Going a step ahead, for the wellbeing of traders, Jagran has distributed more than 50,000 packets of dry ration goods to them. 

Challenges and the distribution strategies: 

“We can print as much as we want, but to close the financial cycle and the only way to ensure the cashflow was to ensure the products were sold out in the market as the advertisement revenue had hit the floor even in April itself,” Pandey said. Traders were advised not to stop distribution under any circumstances.  More importantly to get the payment from the readers, pamphlets containing all possible modes of payments were stapled with the newspaper. Readers were convinced through several video links embedded in QR codes which explained the importance of distributors. This helped to get subscriptions well in advance, as much as two to three months before the month of actual subscription that helped the vendors during the crisis.     

The first page of the newspaper also contained the QR codes to the video links which explained the safety of newspapers and the precautionary steps being taken. This educated the readers and encouraged them to continue their subscription. Non-conventional CSPs were set up to sell the copies in case of delay, and Resident Welfare Associations (RWAs) were educated through meetings, webinars, social media and WhatsApp messages consistently.

Co-sharing of distribution resources:

To sustain and secure our future, rationalising our distribution resources is important and co-sharing them will play a key role in that, said Mr. Pandey. He explained the three ways Jagran practices in co-sharing their resources.

  1. Jointly work with other news publishers
  2. Non- newspaper industry clients
  3. Traders

1. Jointly work with other news publishers:

Jagran has teamed up with leading publishers such as BCCL, HT Media, The Hindu and Amar Ujala after the COVID-19 crisis, to discuss the market situation and to create joint strategies through daily conference calls. This has brought them to a common ground which has yielded a lot of benefits, for instance, how one sanitising station could be effectively used by other publishing houses instead of setting up their own. Such measures helped to reduce costs.

Also, the group was open to share the market intelligence and the best practices and joint campaigns were organised in collaboration. These initiatives helped them in several ways, such as to cut down the cost of taxi bills as much as 30%, that too within the first 15 days of the implementation of the lockdown.

When the spread of the virus led to the closing down of a printing facility of a publishing house, Jagran stepped in with a quick turnaround time of 1-2 hours helping them to continue to print until the facility was reopened. There were also instances when to control the printing cost the entire printing was carried at Jagran’s facility.

2. Non-newspaper industry clients

Pandey explained the possibilities of offering solutions to other non-newspaper industry clients and assisting the management in decision making. Also, he mentioned how Jagran has helped a blue-chip company by providing the distribution resources to move their stocks, the best storage facilities and ideas related to monetary issues.


He said that the crisis has also presented new opportunities to sell FMCG products directly to homes where the company has a strong direct subscription market. They helped the trading company by branding campaigns which was a win-win for all.

In a nutshell, Jagran is trying out a new revenue model, is on a new learning curve and has gained new trade perspectives. With non-industry clients, the company is deepening the industry penetration through new products that brings new opportunities and ensures the capacity utilisation with high yield. In terms of trade, it discovered new opportunities and realised better ROI for the same distribution setup.


Jaiganesh M's picture

Jaiganesh M


2020-09-29 16:24

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