South Asia’s biggest publishers discuss the future of journalism and news media business, at Hyderabad.
WAN-IFRA hosted its 26th Annual Conference in Hyderabad this year, with over 350 publishing executives from over 25 countries, to discuss the future of news publishing business, and print media trends.
The conference, held on September 26 and 27, was co-sponsored by The Indian Newspaper Society and has two parallel summits – the World Editors Forum South Asia Summit and the World Printers Forum Conference.
Vincent Peyrègne, CEO, WAN-IFRA, France, started-off the conference with a keynote address on World Press Trends, summarising the worldwide trends in print circulation numbers and digital revenues and advertising.
“While trust in some news brands has increased because of good and more engaged quality journalism, skepticism about the veracity of what the public reads remains a growing concern,” he said. “High levels of trust pay off for both, audiences and revenues.”
On the challenge of digital advertising, Peyregne said, “It’s time for publishers to join and form advertising alliances.”
The conference kicked-off with a string of workshops on September 25th as a precursor to the event. Steve Yelvington, from Consulting and Training Services in the USA, talked about ways to bring together ideas and strategies to maximise the benefit of social media platforms and how the growing power of social media should be harnessed by news publishers to increase the reach.
In the digital era, innovation plays the right cards for the printing and newspaper industry to compete with other media platforms. The workshop on ‘Innovation in printing’ discussed strategies to be successful as a newspaper publisher and how innovation helps achieve the right product for the business goal.
The Google Lab workshop on ‘Digital security’ taught participants about how they can protect their accounts and fight fake news in the newsrooms through time-saving online tools.
The conference was peppered with invigorating panel discussions and debates on newsroom transformations, print media trends and distribution models where leading media minds talked about storytelling ways to change the media landscape.
The opening session of the conference included a panel discussion by Mukund Padmanabhan, Editor, The Hindu; Sandeep Gupta, Executive President, Dainik Jagran, India; Shriram Pawar, Editor – Director, Sakal, India; Sharad Saxena, Executive Director – Operations, HT Media Ltd, India on the requirement to bridge the gap between an organisation’s editorial, technical and business functions. The session was moderated by KN Shanth Kumar, Director, The Printers (Mysore) Pvt Ltd.
“Each vertical in an organisation has a different priority, and I’m not sure if bridging the gap is necessarily the right way to bring their functions together for accomplishing company goals. These different priorities need to be respected,” said Mukund Padmanabhan, Editor, The Hindu. “Any newspaper should accept that there will be a degree of creative tension between different verticals. What’s important is to keep the conversation going.”
“An important issue to take note of is independence vs inter dependence. What is the point of having a great product that doesn’t reach your readers on time? We need to look at the common goal between these verticals – profitability, quality of the product, etc.,” said Sharad Saxena, Executive Director- Operations, HT Media Ltd. “Creative tensions will exist, but it is important for every link in the chain to have a clarity about what the organisation is doing and align with the common goal. Flexibility and stability cannot be achieved at the cost of one another.”
The event included an expo with over 25 suppliers from both, India and abroad displaying their products and services for the newspaper printing and publishing industry.
The event concluded on September 27 with a panel discussion by CEOs of leading news media companies on print growth, how it can co-exist with digital platforms and how news media companies cannot depend on a “One-Size-Fits-All solution.”
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