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Publish Asia 2009: ‘The future will be shaped and not predicted’

26-September-2009
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Publish Asia 2009: ‘The future will be shaped and not predicted’

The three-day Publish Asia 2009 concluded in Chennal on September 25. Day three saw Henrik Palsson, VP and Head of Consumer Lab, Ericsson, address the gathering. His talk focused on thinking about consumers as networks and communities. He said that consumers were willing to pay depending on content, applications and habitats, and as long as it was fair deal.

According to Palsson, “The change that media industry is going through is the biggest change in 500 years. No one really understands what exact future we are heading to but we are jointly shaping it. The worst thing you can do is stand at the side while others are doing it. It is much better to start in small scale, learn by mistakes and then grow bigger than suddenly saying that you have arrived.”

“It is so fundamental that you will have to rethink everything you do. Don’t take anything you do today for granted. You will have to think about what is our core business? What are we actually delivering to the community that we serve?”, he asked while speaking on ‘Mobile Publishing – Opportunity for Publishers’.

He noted that back in his native Switzerland, two of his daughters didn’t read newspapers nor watched TV. They consumed news online. Palsson further said he traveled too much to read a physical paper, so the only person who read a newspaper at his home was his wife. But even she had discontinued reading after realising they could not get the local edition of the newspaper. However, coming to India meant that he could once again read newspapers during his half-hour commute in a car with a driver. His point was. “Local context is enormously important when it comes to how we consume media.”

Earlier, speaking on the topic ‘eReading Devices – World Trends’, Jochen Dieckow, Research Manager – Emerging Digital Platforms and Business Development, WAN-IFRA, spoke about the pros and cons of a variety of eReaders during the closing session.

He pointed out, “Packaging and service plays a large part in eReading. While there are other technologies being developed, eReading developments are predictable in the next one or two years. People can expect colour eReaders in the next two years. In eReading devices, touch screen is a must for user interface and also for eReading purpose.”

He pointed out that eReading was not a multi-media device but a reading device. “People who are used to iPhones might miss some colour and moving images in the eReading device, but it is good for reading compared to mobile phones,” he said, adding, “The development for eReading Devices has just started. Many telcos also want to enter the eReading market and launch their own eReading devices in Germany, France, the UK and other countries. So, things will be changing.”

According to him, “The Netbook industry is looking at this area very seriously and will launch a device end of this year or beginning of next year, which will have dual screens. Early adopters of eReading Device won’t be tech savvy people, but people who want to read and want to have an effective economic tool.”

Commenting on the content on eReading, Dieckow said, “You should think much more than just thinking which content should be put into eReading from your editorial system. We should also think of whether it’s a one-day publication or whether it would be updated regularly.”

Talking about the revenue model in eReading, he said, “While newspaper revenue is based on circulation and advertising, on the Web, at the moment, we have mainly advertising space. But as far as eReading is concerned, the content is the only source of income. So, the content needs to be very strong.”

At the end of the conference, the organisers announced that Publish Asia 2010 would be held in Bangkok on May 11-13, 2010. Next year, Publish Asia will also be celebrating its 10th anniversary. So, one can expect bigger and better things.

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