While Indian media groups are starting to invest heavily in online news, Ram said the advertising did not compensate for the sudden losses.
Indian journalists feel they have been badly treated by the panic measures, with wages cut and often paid late.
Many say they have been going out to cover tragic stories on the coronavirus without proper protective equipment. “I came back one day to be told there was a pay cut,” said one at the Indian Express.
“While the media has been facing the strain, the fact that it moved so fast to do these salary cuts at a time when there is extreme uncertainty and anxiety – it’s very unethical,” Geeta Seshu, co-founder of the Free Speech Collective said.
“They have been showing a lack of concern for their employees.”
The main media groups are concentrating more on the future of the business, say analysts.
Consultancy KPMG had predicted before the pandemic that advertising revenue for newspapers would remain stable for a few years.
“Now all that has changed,” said the newspaper editor, speaking on condition of anonymity as he had been told not to discuss company business.
“It was only the over-35s who read newspapers and even they have had to get their news from digital sources and television for more than two months.”
N. Chandramouli, chief executive of TRA Research, said that even before the pandemic, newspapers and television channels had laid off thousands of staff because of an economic slowdown.
“Now it is a pretty grim scenario for the media world” with advertisers scared to spend, and media companies “have their back against the wall for survival”.