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INMA South asia conference 2010
Revivifying business for better tomorrow

Bharat Kapadia, INMA board director and director, Lokmat; Jacob Mathew, INMA board director and executive editor, Malayala Manorama; Siddharth Kothari, INMA board director and director, Rajasthan Patrika; Earl J. Wilkinson, CEO and executive director, INMA; Ravi Dhariwal, vice president, INMA Worldwide and CEO The Times of India; DD Purkayastha, INMA board director, and CEO, ABP.


he fourth Annual South Asia Conference of the International Newsmedia Marketing Association (INMA) concluded successfully in New Delhi (November 9-10, 2010), under the theme ‘Redefining the newspaper business’. Focused on four broad areas including: revisiting the fundamental mission of the newspaper: to impact the communities positively; exploring the engines of readership and advertising revenues in this fast-changing economic environment; discussing and decoding the business opportunities in smaller yet profitable niches; and celebrating the uniqueness of the print industry and its future opportunities, the two day conference attracted over 200 newspaper executives from various newspapers from India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka: including - ABP Pvt Ltd; Amar Ujala; Century Publication (Pvt) Ltd, Pakistan; Dainik Bhaskar; Deccan Chronicle Holdings Ltd; Eenadu; i next; Jagran; Lokmat; Mail Today; Malayala Manorama Co; Mathrubhumi; Mid-Day Multimedia Ltd; Prabhat Khabar; Rajasthan Patrika; Sakshi; The Daily Prothom Alo, Bangladesh; The Siasat Daily; The Times of India; and Wijeya Newspapers, Colombo, Sri Lanka, etc.

There was a refreshing change in format, with each session offering a keynote address, three short format ‘brainsnacks’ (an innovative concept) apart from an in-depth and successful case study, relevant for newspaper CEOs, owners, publishers and top executives. The presentations by experts coming from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Brazil and the United States offered practical applications for the related organizations, apart from excellent opportunities to network with peers. The welcome and overview address was made by Tariq Ansari, president- INMA South Asia and managing director- Mid-Day Multimedia Ltd. Presenting introduction of INMA and motivating newspapers for INMA membership at nominal cost, he also announced INMA – South Asia Circulation Workshop to be held in Jaipur (March 2011) and the fifth INMA South Asia Conference to be happened in Bangalore (August 2011).

The first session was on ‘making a difference: how newspapers initiate positive change in our society’, which revisited the fundamental mission of the newspaper: to impact the communities positively and serve as a vehicle to articulate the concerned countries’ aspirations. In the keynote address on the challenges faced by Indian newspapers, Ravi Dhariwal, vice president, INMA Worldwide, and CEO, The Times of India mentioned that he does not believe in the newspapers going to die. For India, it is on rise like a bright sun–rise. Literacy is a major factor bringing tremendous scope in the country. According to him, in virtual circle, ad growth, higher circulation and readership growth, and bringing more and more investment within newspaper industry.

In the second session focused on ‘the challenge of growth: increasing readership and advertising revenues in challenging times’, the keynote address was given by Rajesh Jain, executive director and head of media & entertainment, KPMG, Mumbai on ‘outside-in view of newspapers and growth opportunities’. He shared his perspective on the engines of readership and advertising growth. In a session on ‘publishing in profitable niches’, it was endeavoured to decode the current and future business opportunities in smaller yet profitable niches. In his keynote address on niche opportunities for newspaper publishers, Maheshwer Peri, president and publisher, Outlook Group, New Delhi pointed out that real journalism is getting affected due to different types of advertisement trends. His presentation included invaluable learnings on publishing in niches from a successful niche publisher and entrepreneur.

The fourth and last session was on ‘what’s good about print’, examining what is right about print and business models that will ensure longevity of the core mission. A panel discussion was organised in this session, in which the moderator was Amit Ray, president and CEO, Lintas Media Group and panelists included Joseph Eapen, CEO, MRUC; Jacob Mathew, executive editor, Malayala Manorama Co Ltd; I Venkat, director, Eenadu; and Sandeep Kaul, chief executive, Personal Care Products SBU, ITC. It was greatly expressed that newspapers will live definitely.

Under an innovative concept of presentation known as brainsnacks, Zaheeruddin Ali Khan, managing editor, The Siasat Daily, Hyderabad; Neville Bastawalla, head marketing, Mid-Day Infomedia Ltd, Mumbai; and Matiur Rahman, editor, The Daily Prothom Alo, Bangladesh talked about ‘social initiatives’ adopted by them. Other speakers in brainsnacks sessions included: Sundar Kondur, head response & brand, Vijay Karnataka, Bangalore; Bharat Kapadia, director, Lokmat Group, Mumbai; Arvind Kalia, national head marketing, Rajasthan Patrika Group, Jaipur; Hormazd Sorabjee, editor, Autocar India; Anurag Batra, chairman & editor-in-chief, Exchange4media group, New Delhi; and Salil Tandon, national head and editor, CityPlus, Delhi.

The case studies featured during different sessions were another attraction of the event. The outstanding case study of ‘Aman Ki Asha’, an initiative of The Times of India and Jang Group (Pakistan), which has caught the imagination of not one but two nations showcased how newspapers can impact the policy as we serve our communities. The speakers were Rahul Kansal, chief marketing officer, The Times of India, New Delhi, and Shahrukh Hasan, group managing director, Jang Group, Karachi (Pakistan).

The case study of Sakshi, Hyderabad was featured as a new publishing company who launched a number of editions in a very short time. Presented by KRP Reddy, director advertising and marketing at Sakshi, the story was an inspirational one for the entire fraternity. Another featured case study was of HT-Mint presented by Sukumar Ranganathan, editor, Mint, New Delhi. HT-Mint had created waves in the Indian publishing firmament by launching into what many considered a crowded niche, yet made a profitable space for itself. It was constructive to learn from their strategy that has set the bar for the entire industry.

In concluding address, Earl J Wilkinson, executive director and CEO, INMA focused on ‘Newsmedia outlook: driving value through content, platforms, and audiences’. In his exclusive presentation, he talked about the strategic direction of the news industry in the next three years as the transition from newspapers to newsmedia companies and fuse content, platforms, and audiences to generate new revenue and create new value for shareholders and customers; and where South Asia fits in this global revolution.


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