The Publish Asia Conference and the WAN-IFRA India Expo 2013, held in Bangalore from September 11 to 13, brought together 600 participants from 25 countries.
Organised by the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN- IFRA), the conference saw industry leaders discuss how digital is shaping the Indian industry, especially the media landscape. The event was co-sponsored by the Indian Newspaper Society (INS).
Numerous workshops were conducted during the three days of the Conference, wherein Indian and international speakers shared their insights on topics such as Digital Story Telling, HTML vs App in News Publishing, and 3D Printing, among others.
While speaking on Digital Story Telling, Robb Montgomery, a digital consultant from Germany, spoke on enhancing user experience for digital products, while focusing on mobile devices.
Sandeep Singh Arora, Vice President - Marketing, The Times of India and Mirror spoke about how social campaigns carried out by media brands can bring about a positive social change. Listing out some of the campaigns conducted by The Times Group, Arora cited the examples of ‘Teach India’ and ‘Aman Ki Asha’ campaigns and attributed the success of the campaigns to the huge reader base that the Group has in the country.
Giving an example from Sri Lanka, Saranga Wijeyarante, Director - Marketing, Ceylon Today said that augmented reality is a wonderful innovation.
Smitha Vasudevan, Senior Manager - Advertising, Malayala Manorama opined, “Online is instant, exhaustive, and enhancing. Real estate is one market that can tap the growing online usage.” According to her, classifieds suit digital media better than print media. She talked about the business model and the success story of the Group using digital media and also promoted the concept of digital using print to build a brand extensively. For a newspaper like Malayala Manorama, Vasudevan felt that technology is an enabler and print can win the new space.
Omar Ali, Production Editor, Gulf News, Dubai spoke about his company’s shift in the editorial system in the transition from print to online media. He said that it was not just the change in technology for them, but a change in culture as well. During this transition period, Gulf News adopted training programmes to change the mindset of the staff regarding the concept of news delivery, which had a positive impact.
Along with the shift to digital editions comes the adoption of new business models such as the growth in online subscriptions, noted Thomas Jacob, COO, WAN-IFRA. He also stressed on the importance of e-commerce and how it can be advantageous for news agencies.
PD Sundar, Assistant VP and Business Head, Kasturi & Sons highlighted The Hindu’s official Android mobile app and how it was received by the consumers. He said that the app saw out more than two lakh downloads within the first two months of its launch and claimed that the app has been performing “extremely well”.
Meanwhile, Jose Martin Tharakan, National News Editor, Mint spoke about the digital strategies employed by the business daily in the last couple of years. He said, “Unlike other newspapers, Mint has not resorted to "common techniques" for increasing page views, rather we offer advertisers a set of premium readers. The average CTC for Mint subscribers is around Rs 15 lakh per annum, hence, we sell better.”
James Sogoti, Commercial Manager, Nation Media Group spoke about how his company has been providing cross media advertising solutions across its presence in print, online, TV and radio. “The key lies in collaborating with two or more media and optimising results,” he concluded.