‘Know what your readers or viewers want':
DD Purkayastha

The world of news media is now undergoing a stringent phase when print and digital keep steadily collaborating. In this imperative phase, ALL ABOUT NEWSPAPERS exclusively talks to DD Purkayastha, MD & CEO, ABP Pvt Ltd, to oversee the operational plans and policies of this leading news media group, known for their multi-language and multi-channel newsrooms.

We know that you have struggled a lot to bring the WAN-IFRA India Conference to Kolkata. How often would you like to bring the conference to the eastern Indian city?

Venue of the conference is distributed among five different cities across the country—New Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chennai and Kolkata. This means that we have to wait for another five years or so, to bring the next or second Kolkata edition of the conference.

What is your aim or significant intention of bringing the conference to Kolkata?

Introduction of the iconic international news media conference in Kolkata is not about an overture focusing only upon the city, but the whole eastern Indian region. Our aim in this endeavour is to update the news publishers and professionals in the region about the latest trends and technologies in the industry, viewing from a global angle. In fact, such international conference helps our industry people understand what others are doing at both national and international levels.

Will this conference be an advantage to the Indian neighbours in the east?

Yes, of course! What I mean ‘eastern region’ here is a vast geography that consists of North-Eastern part as well. And in addition, publishers from the neighbouring countries like Bangladesh come down to attend the event, which is filled with topics relevant to the news media industry of any kind.

ABP Group being a multi-channel platform, what are the challenges you face to manage all your printed publications as well as the others in digital formats?

ABP Group is no longer concentrated only on a specific domain. We have diversified our news media into television covering a spectrum of channels in different regional languages—Bengali, Hindi, Marathi and others. And we keep observing the areas where we have not yet properly explored, and we penetrate into it; for instance, we are introducing Punjabi news channel this year. After all, we equally maintain our age-old value and tradition of physical newspapers.

What is your focus on print innovations for your newspapers and magazines, even during festive seasons?

In this, we have a very clear approach. While we are now moving ahead to expand our television channels at pan-India level, covering more regional languages, our print media will linger only around the eastern Indian region, making them (printed newspapers) deeper penetration in terms of local news coverage and advertisements.

Any festive time is the time for us to celebrate and innovate our page layouts.

What is the unique trait of ABP Group, which you think other conventional news media houses don’t have?

I think it could be our multi-language and multi-channel newsroom system. There are a few news media houses in the country that simultaneously operate television channels. Now, we are in the era of print-digital transition, so our aim in this respect is to penetrate into the digital world in a bigger and broader way. We will be going for the digital multimedia platform, which is defined to be a confluence of written words and visual world, to reach across a wider audience.

What is your viewpoint on the ‘shrinking of printed newspapers’?

Yes, it’s shrinking! No doubt, printed newspapers are shrinking. But it doesn’t mean ‘an end’. News media houses must handle the situation wisely, diversifying their activities to new routes, such as digital.

What is your decisive message to those in the country’s news media industry?

We are in a transition phase; so, it’s time to precisely know our audience and every news media publisher around must focus on readers experience, and we must understand what our readers and viewers want.

Quick facts about ABP Group

Headquartered in Kolkata, Anandabazar Patrika (ABP) Group was established in 1922 as a four-page evening daily sold at two paisa. As on today, the group is on a multi-channel platform, publishing nearly a dozen of premier publications alongside digital and television channels airing in varied languages. Printed newspapers, online news sites and televisions form the group’s essence that has been touching the lives of millions of readers and viewers.

Newspapers: Anandabazar Patrika (Bengali daily), Ebela (Bengali daily), The Telegraph (English daily).

Magazines: Anandamela, Unish-Kuri, Sananda, Anandalok, The Telegraph in Schools (TTIS), Desh, Boiyer Desh and Fortune India

News Channels: ABP Live (English news channel, formerly STAR Live), ABP News (Hindi news channel, formerly STAR News), ABP Ananda (Bengali news channel, formerly STAR Ananda); ABP Sanjha (Punjabi news channel), ABP Majha (Marathi news channel, formerly STAR Majha) and ABP Gujarati (Gujarati news channel).


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