Indian PR & Communications industry and operative media environment vis-à-vis the global matrix

First things first, it is not easy to understand the Indian PR & Communications industry and the operative media environment vis-à-vis the global matrix in a single article. Yet, it is important to understand some key tenets of such an overview, especially with reference to Europe and US.

India’s PR industry has witnessed remarkable growth. According to the Public Relations Consultants Association of India’s (PRCAI) annual Study of Public Relations Insights, Nuggets, and Trends (SPRINT) 2022-23, the Indian PR industry expanded by about 13% in 2022-23 and fuelled by a burgeoning economy, stood tall at ₹2100 crore.

This robust growth reflects both inspiration and aspiration within the Indian PR ecosystem. India’s PR industry now accounts for 8.5% of the Asia-Pacific market and 1% of the global PR industry.

The PR industry in India and Asia is a dynamic tapestry of cultural nuances, economic shifts, and technological advancements. As globalisation accelerates, PR professionals find themselves at the crossroads of tradition and innovation.

India boasts a vibrant media industry, comprising broadcast, print, and digital media. However, it’s essential to recognise that the Indian media landscape is fragmented, with a strong regional focus. The media’s high level of polarisation adds complexity to PR strategies. In contrast, some other Asian countries like China and North Korea tightly controls its media, emphasising state narratives.

India’s competitive markets require robust PR efforts to differentiate brands. Here digital transformation has revolutionised media consumption.

Studies suggest that crisis handling, public affairs/advocacy, and internal communication are the top services provided by Indian PR firms. South India has emerged as a hub for IT, pharma, Ed-tech, and health & wellness firms. The Southern region recorded a 44% growth rate from 2017 to 2022, outpacing the North and West regions. In terms of size, Mid-tier PR companies have seen impressive growth, with revenues increasing by 71% from FY16 to FY22.

As the communication industry evolves, consolidation becomes a prevailing trend. Mergers and acquisitions reshape the competitive landscape. While global PR firms adapt, India’s PR industry navigates its unique challenges. Talent acquisition remains critical, and technology complements strategic consulting.

The media landscape in India presents a stark contrast to that of the United States and Europe shaped by cultural, economic, and technological factors.

In India, there is a higher tendency for media consumption on mobile devices, with internet speeds being faster and more far-reaching. Here, a significant portion of the population accesses news through smartphones, facilitated by affordable cost of data. The number of active internet users is staggering, with figures close to 700 million. This mobile-first approach contrasts with US and Europe where desktop and traditional media were the primary sources before the transition to mobile.

The work culture in India leads to a higher demand for Video on Demand (VOD) due to late working hours and social activities post-work. This is different from the western countries, where there is still a significant preference for linear TV, although VOD is gaining traction.

Some Asian countries like China and North Korea have stringent state control over media, whereas the US enjoys a more open and free press environment. India falls somewhere in between, with a mix of state-owned and private media entities.

India’s media landscape is incredibly diverse, with content produced in multiple regional languages. This diversity is less pronounced in the US, where English dominates the media space. However, respective native languages are critical in Europe.

Despite the digital boom, print media still holds significant sway in India, with some newspapers boasting millions in circulation. In contrast, the US and Europe has seen a steady decline in print media circulation as digital platforms gain prominence.

Indian media is deeply rooted in local culture, with a strong focus on regional entertainment, news, and issues. The US media, while also diverse, tends to have a more national or global focus, with less emphasis on regional content.

The legal frameworks governing media in India and the US differ significantly. India’s media is regulated by a combination of laws and self-regulation, whereas the US has a more liberal approach, with an emphasis on freedom of speech protected under the First Amendment.

The US and Europe media markets are highly commercialised, with substantial revenues from advertising. Indian media also relies on advertising but has a different structure due to the varied economic status of its audience.

India has seen a surge in the use of home-grown digital platforms, which cater to the local population’s preferences. The US market is dominated by global tech giants that offer a range of services, including media consumption.

In the ever-evolving world of PR, India stands at the forefront of change. As PR professionals, we must blend data-driven insights with cultural sensitivity. Our role extends beyond media outreach; we are strategic partners shaping narratives in a globalised era. So, let’s continue to celebrate diversity, and elevate PR and Communications to new heights.

The views and opinions published here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the publisher.

Raja Ghoshal
Raja Ghoshal is a Business Journalist turned Senior Corporate Communication professional who is presently looking after corporate communications at the diversified Apeejay Stya & Svran Group. He was earlier working as a Deputy Director (Corporate communications) with industry chamber CII. An MBA in Marketing, Raja’s hobbies include creative writing, public speaking and writing poetry.

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