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Matthew Gwyther Says Indian Newspapers 'Thriving'

21st July 2011

Management Today editor and charismatic keynote speaker Matthew Gwyther compares the vigourous Indian newspaper industry to the UK press. He tells of his trip to India on the MT website.

“Just got back from India – my first trip after a 20-year absence. There was a Rolls Royce dealership close to my hotel where they proudly told me they have sold 35 cars in the last year, for up to $500,000 US dollars each. Indira Gandhi-style import duties and tariffs at outrageous levels on luxury goods don’t deter the Indian super-rich, of which there are now many. Down at the other end of the social scale the deprivation one encounters remains disturbing. Around a fifth of Indians continue to live in what their own government describes as ‘absolute poverty’ and half of Indian women are illiterate. (China’s literacy rate is 90%, by comparison.) Corruption afflicts the country from top to bottom and seriously holds back its economic and social development.

“But it remains the most wonderful country – maddening and delightful in equal measure. The energy and optimism there should be bottled and imported to Blighty along with a few Tata Nanos. I cannot think for a second why it has taken me two decades to go back.

“The talk of le tout Delhi, however, was Rupert and the phone hacking. The extra significance which is lost on many Indians is that newspapers are a dying industry in the UK. By contrast all over India they are thriving. The average circulation of daily paid-for papers in India went up by 39.7 % from 2005 to 2009. Indian newspapers are terrific: beautifully written in precise English, shot-through with energy and vigorous opinion to suit all comers. Most media owners there are raking it in."

You can read more about Matthew's adventures – including attending the final of the Diageo World Class International Bar Tender competition – in the October edition of Management Today.

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