COVID-19: 'Media one of the most adversely affected'

Media one of the most adversely affected sectors due to COVID-19: PHDCCI report

A woman selling newspapers interacts with a customer during a government-imposed nationwide lockdown as a preventive measure against the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus in Mumbai on April 27, 2020. Credit: AFP Photo

Media has been one of the most adversely affected sectors due to the COVID-19 pandemic with a significant decline in advertisement revenues, a research report of the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry said on Saturday.

The report was submitted to Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar, by Dr D K Aggarwal, President, Sanjay Aggarwal, Senior Vice President, Mukesh Gupta, Chairman - Media and Entertainment Committee, PHDCCI.

Media has been one of the most badly affected sectors due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the report said.

"The print media has lost significantly in circulation and also suffered huge advertisement revenue loss.

"Electronic media also lost heavily in advertisement revenues, the outdoor media got all orders cancelled owing to no traffic on roads due to lockdown and the events business drew a blank as there were no events allowed in this period," the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry said in the report titled "Outlook of Media and Entertainment Industry in the COVID Scenario".

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The COVID-19 pandemic has caused mass disruptions to the nation's economy, its trade, industry and the lives of citizens, the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry said.

There is no industry or sector of the economy that has been left unaffected by this wave, it said.

PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry appreciates the government for undertaking continuous reform measures to support industry, trade and economy to break free from the grip of COVID-19 crises, said Dr D K Aggarwal, President PHDCCI.

COVID-19 has created opportunities and the Chamber urges the minister to undertake immediate reform measures based on the stated recommendations, the PHDCCI statement said.

The report suggests that one of the major impacts of COVID-19 on the media and entertainment industry is the instability caused and the downfall in the advertising revenues across all media segments, it said.

Radio, television, print, outdoor (OOH) out-of-home media have seen a significant decline in the advertising revenue, said Aggarwal.

This falling advertising revenue trends are expected to pose a significant threat to the industry as advertising is a prime source of revenue for the media, the PHDCCI said.

"We urge the government to make a conscious effort towards ensuring full utilisation of its annual advertising budget in the respective financial year. This deliberate move will help the government receive its due credit by effectively publicising the numerous effective and efficient reforms and initiatives undertaken by the government towards nation-building and at the same time will also ensure that the media sail through these tough times with inflows of revenue," said Gupta.

PSUs, corporates and industry stakeholders should also make a conscious connect with their consumers by reaching out to them through effective advertising campaigns.

"We urge the government to direct all other ministries, DAVP, state governments, PSUs to clear all outstanding payments of the entire media industry, which is a significantly large amount," Aggarwal said.

This move will provide the much-needed relief to the industry, which has played a pivotal role in creating jobs and spreading awareness during the crisis of COVID-19, and yet has been grappling with cash crunch and are unable to pay the salaries to their employees, who have been the frontline warriors, he said.



As a goodwill gesture and keeping the importance of the media industry's role in these critical times, the development of economy as well as socio-political fields, the government must pay salaries for the lockdown period for those employees of media who are registered with the Employees' State Insurance Corporation, Aggarwal said.

"While the media and entertainment sector is currently grappling with various challenging issues, with the economic activities returning to normalcy, we are assured that eventually with the allowance of 100 per cent FDI in the media and entertainment industry and effective hand holding by the government, the industry will bounce back and continue to provide to each citizen the much-needed information and entertainment," he said. 

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