In 59 BC, the Romans introduced a groundbreaking concept that laid the foundation for newspapers—the “Acta Diurna,” meaning “daily doings.” These daily records, created by the governing administration, provided valuable information to the public, including event updates, births, deaths, and daily activities. Initially, these news reports were carved in stone or metal. As time progressed, people started handwriting and circulating news in public forums or having town criers recite them from scrolls. However, these methods of news dissemination changed drastically with the invention of the printing press by Johannes Gutenberg in 1440.
Gutenberg’s printing press revolutionized the world of publishing and brought about significant changes in the history of newspapers. With movable-type printing, Gutenberg enabled the high-quality reproduction of printed materials at an incredible rate of nearly 4,000 pages per day—1,000 times faster than what could be achieved by scribes writing by hand. This groundbreaking machine dramatically lowered the cost of printed materials, making them accessible to a mass audience for the first time. The printing press propelled the newspaper industry into new heights, paving the way for modern-day journalism.
In India, the first newspaper, Bengal Gazette or the Calcutta General Advertiser, was founded in 1780 by James Augustus Hicky. Since then, India has seen a remarkable growth in the newspaper industry, with approximately 144,520 publications (newspapers and other periodicals) registered until March 31, 2021. The number of daily newspaper readers across India also witnessed a substantial increase, reaching around 430 million in 2020, up from approximately 295 million readers in 2014.
As the newspaper became an integral part of people’s lives, businesses recognized its potential as an advertising medium to reach a wide audience on a daily basis. Newspaper advertising and newspaper inserts emerged as effective ways for brands to establish their presence, connect with news readers and subscribers, and build localized brand recognition. The newspaper continues to be a vital platform for businesses to engage with their target audience and promote their products and services effectively.