‘Reinvent or die’, that was the clear message from the post lunch session at the Publish Asia 2009 conference. Chaired by DD Purkayastha, CEO & Managing Director, ABP, this session had a powerful panel comprising Rajiv Verma, CEO, HT Media; Sam Balsara, Chairman and Managing Director, Madison World; and Juan Senor, Partner, Innovation Media Consulting, UK.
According to speakers in this session, no medium could replace another medium. All the mediums would co-exist and that newspapers needed to reinvent in order to stay relevant.
Setting the tone for the highly enlightening and informative discussing was Juan Senor, who started off by stating that one needed to reinvent the business by focusing on the profit audience. Both Apple and Marvel had reinvented themselves. He stressed that newspapers would stay and would never die, but the business model and content proposition of newspapers had changed.
Speaking on the topic ‘Crisis in developed countries, lessons for Asian publishers’, Senor listed out how the media barons were killing the newspapers today. He said, “We are changing slowly, not taking risks. We are expecting different results by doing the same, lie to advertisers, please politicians, print badly, write long articles, don’t hire talents, pay badly and don’t innovate.”
“The alternative is not a business that value profits and good journalism, but a business where good journalism is business,” he added.
Value creation through partnerships
Speaking on the topic ‘Thinking out of the box: Value creation through partnership’, Rajiv Verma emphasised that the key to a successful company was good partnership. He said, “Companies that had financial discipline and maximised their creativity by enduring brands and customer intimacy, fared better than others during difficult times.” Citing the examples of Hindustan Times, Mint and Fever 104 FM, Verma described how partnerships had help make these companies profitable. “Creating an inclusive environment and sharing knowledge is the only way that companies can make progress,” he added.
Media outlook – The future of print
Speaking on the topic ‘Media outlook – What is the future of print’, Sam Balsara pointed out that the major competitor for television was print, and the major competitor for print was television. According to him, they together accounted for 90 per cent of the ad sales in India. Focusing his presentation on the advantages and disadvantages of print versus television advertising, Balsara said that print was less advertiser friendly than television.
He further said, “Television offers affordable high frequency advertising that helps in brand building, while high frequency print advertising is very expensive and one cannot build brands.” Balsara believes in a holistic solution – by selling television, print and even radio advertising in combination.
In his concluding remarks, Balsara made an observation. He said that when he would go to meet a minister along with N Murali, the minister would get up to greet them, but the same did not happen when he would go to meet a minister with a television baron, implying that print media commanded greater respect than television among the people.