Conference
Publish Asia 2016
in Manila perceives positivity amid huge falls

Indicating radical transformation from traditional
single print support to multiple digital platforms
Being the annual meeting platform for professionals from Asian news media companies, every edition of Publish Asia brings an update on what’s new and trending in the industry. The 16th edition of the conference, organised from March 29-31, 2016 at Manila in Philippines, converged more than 300 media executives from 80 leading news media firms from 24 countries, giving an insight of fresh developments and big achievements across the region.

Organised by WAN-IFRA, with mutual supports from a host of big brand newspapers, namely, Manila Bulletin, The Philippine Daily Inquirer, Philippine Star, Manila Times and Business Mirror, Publish Asia 2016 was eventfully inaugurated by Filipino president Benigno Aquino III and all delegates to the three-day conference were received with a glamorous welcome at Manila Hotel, main venue of the conference, which overlooked the picturesque Manila Bay.

Geoff Tan from The Straits Times was among the elated lot at the opening of the conference, which was a big oneof- its-kind news media industry events in Manila in nine years. In a follow-up session, a programme titled ‘Around Asia in 60 Minutes’ set a view on media trends in a series of presentations from a string of prolific speakers viz. Pichai Chuensuksawadi, group editor-in-chief of Post Publishing, publisher of Bangkok Post; Azrul Ananda, chairman, Jawa Pos Group; Datuk Mohd Noordin Abbas, group managing director, Utusan Melayu, Malaysia; David Lu, external affairs director, Guangzhou Daily, China; and Barbie Antienza, president, UPMG, Philippines.

Big opportunity

Talking about the fresh transformations surfacing in the industry, Dr Emilio Yap III, VC, Manila Bulletin Publishing Corp, asserted that the execution of Publish Asia in Manila this year is a unique opportunity for Asian newspaper publishers to exchange information and collaborate to each other in order to address the tremendous technologies and business challenges the news media professionals in the continent are facing today. In the similar tone, Sandy Prieto-Romualdez, CEO & president, The Philippine Daily Inquirer, mentioned that news media professionals are in need of constant updating themselves to the latest media trends.

For The Philippine Daily Inquirer, according to Sandy, hosting of Publish Asia in Manila allows them to expose themselves to the most innovative media companies from Asia and the rest of the world and to disseminate new ideas and a culture of change.

Updated trends

Participants at Publish Asia 2016 unpacked a spectrum of latest projects in the field of newsroom transformation, content discovery, print and digital advertising, newspaper production, investigative journalism, revenue diversification and multi-screen publishing strategies. Divulged in a session on workflows and processes in today’s newsrooms were substantial ‘case studies’ from HT Media and The New Zealand Herald, discoursing on the latest tools and techniques for producing and distributing viral content.

Business models for newspaper production, presented by News Corp Australia and The Times of India, in a session dedicated to ‘The Resilience of Print’, unearthed news prospects the industry is now gradually embracing. In addition, the three days of the conference brought opportunities for advertising, sales and marketing directors a chance to take a peep into The New York Times’ T Brand Studio and MediaCorp’s programmatic video, powered by SpotX. On digital trend, Sanat Hazra, technical director, The Times of India and WANIFRA deputy chief executive Manfred Werfel, talked about digital advertising and newsroom transformation.

Print survival

Unfolding the ideas in need to keep print ads alive, Singapore Press Holding (SPH) and The Newspaper Works stretched upon new prospects and provisions in a session hosted by Unruly, one of the leading programmatic platforms for social video advertising. On the digital and online front, media companies such as Google, PhilStar, ABP News Network, among others revealed their success stories, giving instances of new content formats, such as mini TV series, distributing them as online videos on social media platforms. Ashok Venkatramani, CEO, ABP News Network Pvt Ltd, optimistically recounted his company’s triumph on this front.

Amid the discussions on certain uncertainties of where the news media industry is heading to, particularly the print newspapers, some encouragement emerged from the fact that News Corp Australia has spent an eight-figure sum on replacing 25-year-old mailroom systems in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne. In turn, the leading Australian media house has been securing production of weekend editions which carried valuable preprints, supplements and commercial inserts, but productivity benefits are expected from decoupling the press in the buffered Ferag systems.

Yet the positivity rather came from Sanat Hazra of The Times of India as he articulated happily for the company’s investment in print in order to amplify quality, efficiency and productivity of the India’s leading English daily. On the other side, Shayne Currie, editor, The New Zealand Herald, sounded digital publishing uppermost in his mind, but the expectation is to create better print editions from their integration projects. “Print is not dead, and we have to manage the decline,” he pronounced adding that it (print) is a great solution for advertisers and long may it continue so. Moreover, Best in Print Awards, as part of the International Newspaper Colour Quality Club Competition this year, will be presented at WAN-IFRA India Conference 2016 to be held in Kolkata on September 21-22.

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