India is the second-most populous country in the world. It’s astounding diversity of religions, languages and cultures is unparalleled. It also has a flourishing media scene, with thousands of outlets operating in multiple languages. The mainstream media has more freedom that even before. Alongside this, the use of social media has grown hugely. As a result, the media industry in India has expanded tremendously, so now is the time to focus on public relations and secure some great coverage.
Types of Media
Let’s take a look at the media landscape…
In India, there are around 197 million homes with TV, many of them using direct-to-home satellite and cable services. Only public radio can produce news programming, however; these stations reach more than 99% of the population.
India's press is lively and there are around 17,000 newspaper titles. Driven by a growing middle class it has the second-largest newspaper market in the world.
The Times of India is the third-largest newspaper in India and largest selling English-language daily in the world. It has a large education section. The other major papers include; The Hindu, a Chennai-based daily and The Hindustan Times, a New Delhi-based daily.
There were 560 million internet users by March 2019, the second largest number of internet users in the world after China. However, internet use has been slower to take hold in rural India.
Facebook is the leading social network, with around 300 million users. Twitter is used by celebrities, journalists and politicians. Some of them have a mass following.
Censorship of the media
While the Indian government has been restricting access to the internet since 2010, especially during so-called periods of unrest, authorities sometimes temporarily shut down telecom networks during riots and protests, claiming the measures were needed to stop the spread of rumours and disinformation that was inciting violence against minorities.
Freedom House in its "Freedom of the Net 2018" report noted a large rise in "local internet shutdowns" and "the proliferation of misinformation and fake news across social media".
While there is no systematic filtering of the web, the authorities have clashed with leading social networks over censorship of content deemed to be offensive. Yet important coverage or education news and coverage form universities does not seem to have been affected.
Tips for securing media coverage
So, know we know some background of the media in India, here are my top tips for securing coverage.
- Distribute a press release. This is the fastest way to generate mass journalist attention. Make sure your release has a strong and catchy headline, interesting content and is sent to the right journalists. You can submit a press release through local Indian platforms that we have on our internal database.
- Get to know Indian journalists and the topics they cover. Familiarise yourself with local publications, TV channels and media, beyond the names of each outlet. Identify topics of interest and current news trends. Follow key journalists on Twitter and LinkedIn and find out what they’re writing about.,
- Work with local time zones. It might be 4pm for you in London, but its 9pm in New Delhi, so perhaps not the time to be trying to sure up last-minute press requests or arrange the final details for a meeting
- Be wary of the language barrier. It goes without saying that language barriers can be the core problem with effectively engaging with media overseas. Whilst the vast majority of the world seems to speak at least some degree of English, it pays to ensure that the media you’re reaching out to can understand your communications fully if you do not speak the local language. If in doubt, consider having a translator on hand. Locally-based alumni make for great interpreters and can also provide an additional interviewee for the journalist to draw information from.
- Make sure your pitches are relevant for Indian journalists. Your pitch must hold an element of local and individual relevance to stand the best chance of success. This can be quite easily to provide. For example, if MBA students are taking lectures from local businesses leaders during a study trip, your faculty could discuss the vital lessons to be learned by the next generation of CEOs and entrepreneurs by getting to grips with grassroots businesses in their country.
Do you need help tackling the Indian media? We are able to help.