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WAN-IFRA 2009: ‘Do what you do best, link to the rest’

03-December-2009
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WAN-IFRA 2009: ‘Do what you do best, link to the rest’

Day 3 of the ongoing World News Paper Congress and World Editors Forum in Hyderabad was jam packed with several interesting sessions. The session on ‘Newspapers: A Multi-Media, Growth Business’ saw a few changes in terms of panelists, nevertheless gave some insights on newspapers from three different parts of the world and how they have embraced technology to expand growth.

Panelists for this session included John Paton, Chairman & CEO, ImpreMedia LLC, USA; Bharat Gupta, Director, Jagran Prakashan Ltd., Alexandra R Prieto-Romualdez, President & CEO, Philippine Daily Inquirer/ inquirer.net. The session was moderated by Siddharth Kothari, Director, Rajasthan Patrika.

Paton shared the story of the evolution of ImpreMedia LLC from an idea to mediate between the Hispanic community in North America to a multiplatform, diversified media company. He highlighted that as a media company they were providing more content to their audience, but they were not doing it effectively. “We did not understand the ecology of news at that time,” he said adding that the solution lied in working with news aggregators and not against it. They revamped ImpreMedia on the premise of doing more with less at higher quality. They invested in content, platforms, digital systems, editorial and sales centralisation and sales. “We created different content and media verticals and instead of print first we started to think print last,” he added.

Bharat Gupta of Jagran Prakashan then shared the journey of the brand since the time of its inception to the largest read newspaper in the world. “In our effort to being local, we launched sub-editions every 25 kms of a region as the dialects changed,” he said, while explaining the company strategy of respecting the competition, starting afresh in every market, thinking local and always having feet on the ground. He shared how they gradually embraced technology and added other services like OOH, radio and BTL solutions divisions.

Alexandra R Prieto-Romualdez made a presentation on embracing the fastest growing technology in The Philippines, ‘mobile-texts’. The country sends about 1 billion text messages everyday and the Inquirer daily adapted this medium along with online medium and is hoping to increase their revenue pie from this medium.

“At present, 92 per cent of our revenue comes from print, 5 per cent from our free paper, 2 per cent from online version of the newspaper and one percent from mobile texting,” she said, adding that she expected this to change in coming years with further penetration of technology in the country. She also voiced her concern that telecom companies in The Philippines were taking over content providers and that would pose a threat for newspapers, however, they had their history and credibility to bank on.

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