“Newspapers continue to be the big daddy of media”

While print media is giving way to digital in the West, it is firmly ensconced as the media of choice, especially in the Indian Sub-Continent, say experts

e4m by Niraj Singh
Updated: Feb 25, 2013 2:15 AM
“Newspapers continue to be the big daddy of media”

While print media is bowing out to digital media, especially in the West, it is firmly ensconced as the media of choice, especially in the Indian Sub-Continent. However, print media, especially newspapers, need to learn some new tricks to navigate through the new media eco-system.

 

As affirmed by Sarmad Ali, President, All Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS), media is the largest growing industry all over the world. He, however, felt that media needs to change its focus to tomorrow and create a healthy environment.

Ravi Dhariwal, CEO, The Times of India observed that the new media ecosystem is constantly changing, but newspapers need not be apprehensive about digital platforms. “It will only boost readership, rather than eating into the print’s share of the pie,” Dhariwal said, adding, “Newspaper is a growing opportunity, and new media is helping it and not harming it.”

 

He further said that newspaper publishers are either afraid of new media or use it as a “sidekick” to reach the audience. “New media is an additional help for print media; it should be combined with print. As long as the newspaper caters to its readers, it is fine. That’s the reason why we give readers’ agenda and judgment with views and counterviews,” Dhariwal added.

Sharing his views on ‘Challenges & expectations from the media across borders’, Javed Jabbar, Author & Former Federal Minister for Information of Pakistan, said, “I know that both India and Pakistan are facing challenges while deciding on policies for media with respect to its neighbours. “Media is so powerful in both the countries that it can reduce the distances and differences between the two,” Jabbar remarked.

 

He praised the Aman ki Asha initiative by Pakistan’s Jang Group and The Times of India Group and called it a positive step towards reducing the distance between the two neighbouring countries. Adding further, Jabbar said, “Media has been the fourth pillar of democracy, but now it has become the first pillar of the State.”

Redefining the role of newspaper
Mitrajit Bhattacharya, President and Publisher, Chitralekha Group stressed that the role of newspaper in the society is very important. The new newspapers being launched especially in the Hindi heartland is a positive sign. However, at the same time one of the biggest challenges face by newspapers is reducing dependency on ads. He also pointed out the growing competition from digital and other mediums.

 

Reacting to Bhattacharya’s statement, J GopiKrishnan, Special Correspondent, The Pioneer affirmed that despite these challenges, newspapers continue to be the big daddy of media.

Agreeing with him, Umar Shami cited a study to state that 2.5 billion people across the globe read newspapers. At the same time, batting for digital media, he noted that Google is one of the biggest publishers in the world. Pointing out that while mobile phones have become new means of information, Saadia Sharif, Director - Marketing, Jang Media Group, Pakistan maintained that they have not become replacements for print media.

 

Newspapers banking on innovative advertising
Advertisements have been the staple means of revenue for newspapers so far, but it’s time to bring about some innovations in the way newspapers display the ads. “Innovation is the demand of the times,” said Masood Hashmi, CEO, Orientm McCann, a point agreed to by Masood Hamid, Director of Marketing, Dawn Group of Newspapers and The Times of India’s Ravi Dhariwal. Dhariwal added, “Readers like to see innovations in ads. Innovation is our premium property.” Taher A Khan, Founder & Chairman, Interflow Communications added here that apart from an advertising revolution, there is also needed to change the editorial section. “Now, the copy writers are expected to write headlines that catch the readers’ attention,” he noted.

The speakers were sharing their views at the first South Asia Media Summit (SAMS), organised jointly by All Pakistan Newspapers Society and exchange4Media Group in Islamabad. The two-day event, held on February 20 and 21, 2013 saw some well-known names in the media industry in India and Pakistan discuss the future of newspapers in the new media eco-system. 

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