US and European Publishers Outsource Editorial to India

30 August 2004

First it was call centres, then credit card and insurance processing. Now an estimated $2.5 billion (€2.1bn; £1.4bn) of global publishing services are being outsourced to India.

Time Warner's Business 2.0 magazine, Thomson Press, Macmillan and interactive content company CNET are among those to have paddled in the Indian work-pool, benefiting from significantly lower costs and the provision of up-to-date research and news enabled by timezone differences.

And business news provider Reuters is so impressed with its network of 300 non-editorial employees in the southern Indian city of Bangalore that it has decided to outsource editorial jobs there too.

Sixty staff will be hired to compile tables, carry out economic polling, analyse data and write stories. Says Reuters' global managing editor David Schlesinger: "These plans are exciting and disturbing for some. They will inevitably have an effect on some peoples' responsibilities, work and jobs."

While a UK Reuters' trainee correspondent receives an annual salary of £25,172 ($45,352; €37,489; Rs 21 lakh), an Indian trainee in Bangalore can expect to be paid just a quarter of this amount. Such cost-saving could entice more publishing companies to outsource, prompting technology analyst Forrester Research to predict that 4,000 British media jobs will be lost over the next ten years.

Other advantages of outsourcing to India are emphasized by US electronic data provider TechBooks, which employs 2,000 people in its Delhi outsourcing centre. Opines ceo Ranjit Singh: "India is a happening place. Advances in technology have made it easy to do editorial and publishing work."

Data sourced from: The Times of India; additional content by WARC staff