“It all started five years ago, when I made a quick visit to one of INMA’s representatives – The Times of India – in Mumbai,” began Earl J Wilkinson, CEO, International Newspaper Marketing Association (INMA), as he traced the Association’s journey in India, and India’s growing importance in the INMA state of affairs, in an exclusive conversation with exchange4media.
Five years hence, INMA has a South Asian board that had met for the first time in Delhi on August 26, 2009. BCCL’s CEO Ravi Dhariwal has been moved from his position as President, Asia for INMA to Vice President, INMA Worldwide, while Mid-Day’s Tariq Ansari is now President, Asia. Wilkinson informed that on June 1, 2011, Dhariwal would become the President of INMA Worldwide for a period of two years. Dhariwal is the first Asian to hold the position.
Elaborating on this, Wilkinson said, “It is common practice at INMA for a regional president to head on to the worldwide position. Previously, it has been an American President or European President or Latin American President, and in this case, it was an Asian President. The great thing about Ravi is that he is not just an ambassador for The Times of India, but for India. He is encouraging us to get growth stories, even if it is a competition growth story, on the international forums. He is the right person for the job.”
For Dhariwal, INMA has proved to be a strong platform for the Indian newspaper industry to get together and learn more of the global best practices and share more of their own experiences. Both Dhariwal and Wilkinson reiterated India’s participation and growth in INMA.
Wilkinson said, “So far, it was a relaxed, viral manner in which INMA has grown in India. We started here five years ago, when following that quick trip to The Times of India in Mumbai and presenting to their management team. I came back the next year and was introduced to several other key publishers and they started speaking to other people. So, it really was one thing leading to another. But at this point, we have begun to take inventory of the interest here and of INMA here. We have the top 20 companies with us now, and we are beginning conversation on what we can achieve in India. A broad South Asian board was another step in that direction.”
Wilkinson emphasised that in India, there was creativity in newspaper marketers beyond the big publishers, and the challenge was to now take these stories to international audiences. He said, “On the one hand, it is on our agenda to get global best practices here, but because of the growth and positive development in India, we are slowly beginning to introduce Indian growth stories to the rest of the world. We would like to take the Lokmat presentation out of India, or Malayala Manorama or The Hindu for that matter. For us, it is how we can facilitate a conversation in India, and how we integrate India with the rest of the world.”