Main Story
Dialogues on growth and innovations echoed at
WAN-IFRA India 2015

Indonesian daily Kompas honoured
with World Young Reader News Publisher Award

Once again, WAN-IFRA India arrived in Mumbai with a host of activities, including back to back summits, parallel expositions of latest newspaper printing technologies and more. Co-sponsored by INS, around 600 delegates from more than 30 countries rushed to the global event that chose the city again after 12 years, during which a handful of growth and innovations is being progressed. SK Khurana, editor and SM Dutt, technical editor, All About Newspapers recount a brief account of the three-day conference and expo that pulled a league of South Asian news media stalwarts to the influential confluence of innovative ideas and technologies.

Ever since the WAN-IFRA India Conference & Expo was last organised in Mumbai around a decade back, the industry has embraced tremendous changes. These changes were what all discussed and demonstrated by a multitude of news media leaders from South Asia during the WANIFRA India 2015 Conference and Expo held from September 02-04 at BEC, Mumbai.

Of the perceptible changes is the change developed in the reading habit of people as well as the emergence of digital news media. The latter includes smart-phone, which is considered as new revenue source and innovative news dissemination route for news media houses these days. Onset of the conference and expo was marked with a common inaugural session to all forums/summits, in which Magdoom Mohamed, managing director, WAN-IFRA South Asia, India delivered a welcome address, followed by the opening address from K Balaji, chairman, WAN-IFRA South Asia Committee and director, Kasturi & Sons Ltd, India.

For youngsters only

A big ovation at the opening session was for the World Young Reader News Publisher of the Year Award conferred on the Indonesian daily Kompas. “The newspaper has had a major role in creating new citizens capable of sustaining their own freedom of expression and peaceful change of government—two basic elements for any democracy,” announced Jacob Mathew, past president of WAN-IFRA and executive editor of Malayala Manorama, who presented the accolade of the prestigious award to the Indonesian newspaper. He added that Kompas is also at the forefront of connecting to young audience via social media with actions that serve the public, create good fun and teach them about journalism. Kompas provides a sustained and committed effort to not only promote brand loyalty among young people but also to engage and teach them about how to be more civically active democratic citizens. The World Young Reader News Publishers awards are clustered into seven categories: teaching freedom, digital first, brand, editorial, enduring excellence, news in education and public service. Among the winners, Kids' News, a children newspaper from Denmark, bagged the silver award in the ‘teaching freedom’ category. The whole three days of the conference were sub-divided into World Editors Forum (Newsroom Summit), World Printers Forum (Printing Summit) and Crossmedia Advertising Summit, with a common closing session for all. Also featured on the sidelines were three learning workshops titled Energy and power quality management; Increasing revenue in classifieds; and Integrated newsroom.

Day One

Print and digital go hand-in-hand
In his common keynote address on the opening day of the three-day conference and expo, Patrick Daniel, editor-in-chief, English and Malay Newspapers Division, Singapore Press Holdings Ltd (SPH) affirmed that South Asian newspaper publishers continue to increase their print business and they are also undergoing a digital revolution. Addressing the importance of print and digital together he spoke of being relevant for a technology savvy population while keeping print alive and kicking. Till 2003, SPH engaged in production of five magazine titles; but the count has reached 100 today, which include both fully-owned and some licensed ones. They also produce a special weekly newspaper for Indian communities residing in Singapore. On revenue generation, Patrick said there’s no free product at all in the news media business as cover prices must be relevantly tagged. “Audience engagement is another important aspect as one needs to reach,

connect and engage to readers round the clock from morning till bedtime using news alerts via SMS, WhatsApp, Twitter, Facebook or others,” he advised.

Adaptation to digital age
Speaking at the Newsroom Summit, Thomas Jacob, chief operating officer, WAN-IFRA Germany revealed that the trend of news publishing in digital age is catching on. On what publishers can do, he urged to understand the disruption patterns first and master the digital eco-system. Of the important points he specifically pointed at was the role of a chief content officer who understands the various platforms and capable to optimise the audience engagement. Among the other keynote speakers at the session included Nicholas Dawes, chief editorial officer, HT Media Ltd, India, who indicated ‘integrated newsroom’ as the way forward to improve efficiency.

Among the others in the pool of speakers in the summit comprised Marcelo Rech, executive director of journalism, Zero Hora and president, World Editors Forum, Brazil; he talked about the increasing importance of professional journalism in the world of digital age. Then sharing the growth story of ESPN Cricinfo’s in-house digital video production teams and editorial teams, Gaurav Kalra, senior editor-video, espncricinfo, India, recommended the effective role of high-quality videos in storytelling.

Going for lower gsm newsprint
On the other side, Printing Summit hosted a series of valuable discussions, among which Benedicte Gercke, category directorpaper & energy, News UK and Ireland (UK), presented provocative ideas and concepts of newsprint procurement as well as operational excellences in the session on ‘Excellence and Innovation in Newspaper Production’. She imparted a case study on optimisation of paper and energy from one of the largest printers in the world. In the similar tone, Thomas Isaksen, CEO, Procurement Association of Danish Press, Denmark appealed everyone to stay together, win together. The association serves as a single newsprint source to all newspapers in the country. Pointing out the emergence of exceptionally formulated newsprint of 40 gsm with specific opacity, Thomas related his talk to the policies and programmes the association has taken up to keep the cost of newspapers low in Denmark.

Procurement Association of Danish Press has been in close association with a number of paper mills over the last 95 years in Denmark; and they facilitate a technical support group consisting of managers from the country’s leading printing houses. When it came to counting overall newspaper production cost nowadays, Thomas revealed that newsprint occupies 50 percent—which was higher earlier— and rest increasingly goes for charges of inks, software upgradation and manpower. The discussion continued as Mohanraj P, AGM-production, The Hindu, contributed his share to the maintenance of excellence and innovation in newspaper production, explaining the systematic approach they follow to standardise production using lower gsm newsprint.

Advertising facts and trends
‘Ad strategies for changing media landscape’ was the topic of discussion at Cross Media Advertising Summit. The day-long summit covered a range of topics related to advertising facts and trends, ad innovations, new native called digital and revenue generation in major verticals, in which the keynote speakers were Thomas Jacob, chief operating officer, WAN-IFRA, Germany, who opened the day’s summit with his talk on ‘Global media trends’ along with others including Kadar Gavane, VP, comScore Inc, India; Anand Chakravarthy, managing partner, Maxus, India; Shantanu Bhanja, chief digital officer, HT Media, India; and Peter Zollman, founding principal, Advanced Interactive Media Group, USA.

Day Two

Welcome to the club
The second day dawned on a significant session on ‘Colour Quality’ at Printing Summit. Anand Srinivasan, research manager, WAN-IFRA India, opened the session with the announcement of advantages of enrolling into the International Newspapers Color Quality Club (INCQC) 2016-2018, which is open to all. He explained how publications of all sorts—dailies, weeklies, monthlies and fortnightlies—could use the competition in the club to improve their process in achieving consistency in print quality. The competition covers four technical categories: coldset ink on newsprint, heatset/UV inks on newsprint, semi-commercial printing with SC or LWC; and extra ordinary printing condition for digital, flexo, coloured newspapers and newspapers that prefer their own in-house quality standard.

Seconding what Anand narrated about the INCQC in the preceding session, PT Bhasi, GM-production and maintenance, Mathrubhumi, explained what it took for them to win the membership to the club wherein they have won in the 2014-2016 batch in their first attempt. He presented a case study on the Malayalam daily’s print quality control that eventually led them to the hard-earned club membership.

Advantageous FM screen
Followed-up next in the session on ‘Color Quality’, Anjan Majumdar, vice presidentquality & EHS, HT Media Ltd, India, narrated the systematic approach to implement FM screening in newspaper production, a relatively new subject. Reasons for the selection of FM, according to Anjan, are set for: smooth dot renderation, strong spots on plates, easy control of dot gain, ease of ink control on press, RIP and system speed, among others. As a result, he said Hindustan Times has successfully brought 60 percent of paper consumption to 40 and 42 gsm; saved upto 5-10 percent of ink and advertisers are elated to the print production on FM. Revealed in his narrative included the company’s initiative in DM screen as well.

New age journalism
As the summits were organised back to back, on the other side of the conference hall on the second day was a session titled ‘Challenges and opportunities facing journalism’ in the World Editors Forum where a host of eminent media personalities shared their views and activities in the new age journalism. Rohit Khanna, executive editor, The Quint, India, rationalised how editors and journalists would approach new story telling techniques. In the session, Najia Ashar, senior anchor, Geo News Television, Pakistan, underlined safety training and guidelines for media persons as she picked up the instances of online visualisations to train journalists reporting from dangerous zones.

More on the other side of the conference, Crossmedia Advertising Summit brought on stage a host of eminent speakers materialising the advantage of connecting brands to the audience. Among the speakers were Rahul Kansal, executive president, Bennett, Coleman & Co Ltd, India; Mark Hollands, CEO, The Newspaper Works, Australia; Shailesh Amolkar, chief marketing officer, Sakal Media Group, India and others.

Day Three

Innovations that work
On the third day of the conference, a session titled ‘Trends in print production’ at the Printing Summit witnessed a line of speakers talking in length about the newly set trends. Opening the session, Snehasis Chandra Roy, associate vice president-technical, ABP Pvt Ltd, India, shared some innovations which ABP has so far adopted to impress readers and advertisers alike. Unable to attend the conference, but directly streamed live online from Dubai to interact with the audience, Samer Sabri Abdel Qader, director-digital & prepress, Masar Printing & Publishing, UAE, presented his share of ideas on the adoption of new technologies for sustainability and new business.

Masar Printing & Publishing boasts a stateof- the-art production facility of half a million sq ft in Dubai where equipped technologies of all sorts, including web-offset, commercial web-offset and digital presses—certainly a mega portfolio comprising Kodak NexPress, Kodak Prosper, manroland CROMOMAN and so on. Samer encouraged everyone to go for the mixed combo of new technologies, in which digital presses are vital to play around innovations. He communicated that the pre-calculated AMC costing and sevenyear life span of the digital presses helps determine the input costs correctly.

Going ‘green’
In the follow-up part of the session, Neeraj Mahajan, vice president-technical, Lokmat, India, precisely elaborated the newspaper’s focus on ‘green’ technologies in their overall production process. With a quick flashback of the newspaper, established in 1971 with its first Marathi edition, then English edition in 1987 and Hindi in 1989, what Neeraj revealed was their eco-friendly production process. Their adoption of renewable energy, minimisation of non-recyclable liquids, reduction in carbon footprints and such other strategies eventually helped Lokmat reap unmatched advancements in using ‘green’ and sustainable technologies.

New revenue stream
Newsroom Summit, common with the Crossmedia Advertising Summit, on the third day opened up discussions on ‘New revenue streams’. Of the three speakers imposingly holding the session, Ashwin Sridhar, global head, Digital Products Revenue, The Economist Group, UK, shared their thriving journey into the programmatic advertising through challenges and opportunities. In the similar tone, Dr Dietmar Schantin, founder, Institute for Media Strategies, UK, discussed and demonstrated about virticalisation and communities of interest for new revenue growth. Switching the discussion to the topic on revenue beyond advertising, Arpan Chatterjee, assistant vice president and business head, KSL Digital, India, narrated about new and innovative ways to diversify consumer streams.

Closing session
At the closure of the three-day conference and expo, Manfred Werfel, director, Word Printers Forum, WAN-IFRA, Germany, presented business model for sustainable print in which he stated that the printing industry is innovating and experimenting to come up with solution best suited to challenges. He observed the cost of printing is coming more and more into focus, those who don’t adapt will lose their market position. Moreover, he pronounced ‘print is part of the newspaper’s future.’ In the session, Shrijeet Mishra, chief operating officer, Bennett, Coleman & Co Ltd, India, conveyed that the companies that continue to invest in their innovative capabilities during the tough economic times are those that fare best when growth returns.

The ultimate closing note from Rainer Esser, CEO, Zeit Online, Germany, opened up with his story of a long road traffic he experienced in Mumbai as his first impression (laughing) of the city on his maiden visit to India. Key factors of success, he then changed the topic, consisted of steady improvement in layout and editorial designs, winning and keeping the best and most diverse staff, and most importantly the use of ‘big data’ to keep in touch and engage with young readers by embracing digital opportunities. A focus on cooperation between management and editorial staff was what he mentioned is yet a key to success.

Eventful expo

Winners of World Young Reader News Publisher of the Year Awards
The expo organised in parallel to the three days of WAN-IFRA India Conference 2015 hosted a group of 65 exhibitors from India and abroad showcasing their machines and services, which include printing presses, prepress equipments, editorial systems, archiving systems, digital media management and mobile app developments. Prominent among the exhibitors were ABB, Alpap, Cadgraf, CCI, 4C Plus, FUJIFILM India, GOSS International, Kodak India, Krause, manroland web systems, Manugraph, Memory Repro, Mosca, Newstech, Poddar Global, ppi Media, PRAKASH Web Offset, QuadTech, SLKCG, Technicon India, TOYO Inks Arets, WRH Global, among others. Eminent sponsors of the conference and expo comprised: Atex, CCI, DIC, Google, Huber Group, Kreatio, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, ppi Media, TechNova and The New York Times (News Service and Syndicate).


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