With technology compressing the gadgets we use everyday – mobile phones, laptops, etc. – it is also changing the way we consume news, which is increasingly becoming news on the move. What impact will it have on the newspaper industry? With nearly all major publishers introducing compacts, the industry is trying to adapt in its own way. In order to understand compacts, impact organised a Roundtable on the Compact Newspapers in Mumbai on August 28. The event was presented by Yuva.
The moderator for this Roundtable was Aakar Patel, Director, Hill Road Media. The panellists included Manajit Ghoshal, CEO, Mid-Day Infomedia; Meenal Baghel, Editor, Mirror - BCCL; Abhay Desai, CEO, Yuva; Nandini Dias, COO, Lodestar Universal; Sandeep Lakhina, MD India – West, Starcom Worldwide; Premjeet Sodhi, EVP, Lintas Media Group; Rajneesh Chaturvedi, National Director, MEC Access; Sabina Solomon, GM, MRUC and Manish Bhatt and Raghu Bhat, VPs and ECDs, Contract Advertising.
The Roundtable delved on issues such as whether it was time for the broadsheet newspapers to think of smaller formats, and consider the compact route? Is compact really the future of newspapers as many media owners tout? Are advertisers and media planners thinking the same too?
A compact future?
The panel was clear that the compact was nothing but a format, and the future was not just about formats. It is the content that mattered. The format lends itself to the content, and that is where it made the difference. Panellists saw a role for compacts in the new age communication, which involved the crafting of strategies where aspects like content integration had a role to play. They said that the future was about micro-segmenting. In an age, where advertisers were growing and newer categories were spending, compacts had a part that broadsheets couldn’t play.
An interesting point that came from the panel was that somewhere broadsheets had “rendered themselves irrelevant”. Raghu Bhat pointed out that unlike the way he waited for the morning newspaper after the 1983 World Cup, to soak in the win again, in 2008 even before the newspapers could’ve come out after the T20 World Cup, there was enough news coming from everywhere. “But the compact is still something you can look forward to, because you just cannot predict what they would write or what the headline would be,” said Bhat.
Some experts argued that the broadsheets may always remain the first choice of readers, and that the compacts would take the place of a second newspaper. Some were of the opinion that from a content point of view, broadsheets were failing to differentiate or even add to what was available on television news channels. Everyone though agreed that the compact format was skewed towards the younger generation, and that broadsheets suited the serious-news readers.
Aakar Patel summed up this side of the discussion to state that the differences between the two formats would certainly exist.
impact Roundtable on Compact Newspapers: Format lends to content, and content matters