Digital Media India 2021 to unfold new ideas on digital revenue and technologies

Set to be held from March 2-4 (virtually), Digital Media India will be a platform for updates on the latest media trends, most successful digital monetisation strategies, relevant to the news media industry of South Asia. The three days of brainstorming sessions will par take conversations around an array of contemporary business, editorial and digital topics.

Concise, carefully-tailored and content-rich programmes will be the main forte of the Digital Media India 2021. The main topics at the conference are Digital Subscription, Premium Advertising, Product Strategy, Data Management Strategy, Tech vs. Content, Audience Development, User Engagement and Retention, AI & ML and Future Outlook.

DAY 1 (March 2)

The first day of the Digital Media India 2021 will be unfolded with opening remarks from DD Purkayastha, Board Member, WAN-IFRA and Managing Director & CEO, ABP, India.

In the session, Edward Roussel, Chief Innovation Officer, Dow Jones & The Wall Street Journal (USA), will share about the ‘Five key lessons in digital transformation’, shedding a spotlight on how to pivot to be a digital friendly news organisation.

Pradeep Gairola, Business Head – Digital, THG Publishing Pvt Ltd (India), will take on ‘Digital subscription journey of The Hindu+ won Silver award for ‘Best Paid Content Strategy’ at the South Asian Digital Media Awards 2020. After two year of its flagship site being behind the paywall, their bold approach towards digital subscription has started to pay the dividend. The speaker in this session will narrate how has their business model evolved in the last two years, what are their learning and what are their future plans.

Gregor Waller, Principal Consultant, WAN-IFRA Consulting (Germany), will be the keynote speaker on the topic ‘Digital subscription road map’, focusing on what are the successful models and trends around the world—the key takeaways to plan your digital subscription journey.

Hosted by Google News Initiative, the next session will be a panel discussion on ‘Deep Dive: Building for subscription success in Asia’. With moderator Sheena Bhalla, Data & Innovation Strategy, Google News Initiative, APAC, speakers on the panel will include Vaibhav Khanna, Product Manager, BloombergQuint; Nandagopal J Nair, News Editor, BloombergQuint; Chia Lun Huang, Transformation & Learning Director, CommonWealth Magazine, Taiwan; Yin-chuen Wu, President, CommonWealth Magazine, Taiwan.

Asian news publishers are accelerating their shift to subscription and differences in macro-economic factors, audience channels, available technology, and digital maturity are shaping the journey to sustainable reader revenue growth.

Another panel discussion will be followed, under the topic of discussion ‘Premium Newsletters’. Moderator Pradyuman Maheshwari, Founder, Editor-in-Chief & CEO, MxMIndia, will be accompanied by Siddharth Varadarajan, Founding Editor, The Wire (India). While the daily e-mail newsletters are generally meant to attract readers to sites, premium newsletters attract paying readers and help in digital subscription journey. ‘India Cable’ from is one such premium newsletter that is making the difference. What makes a newsletter premium? shares their experience in this panel discussion.

Consecutively, the next session will be another panel discussion by the same moderator on the topic ‘Subscriber Retention Strategy’ with speaker Daniel Mussinghoff, Head, Product Management Premium, BILDplus, Axel Springer. The discussion will revolve around the learning from roduct-lead strategy to keep the digital ‘paying’ readers ‘loyal’. There will be case study from BILD.

The third in the row of three panel discussions will be on the topic ‘Is digital subscription the holy grail of digital news business?’ Are Indian news media companies ready for it? How technology partners and alliances help build it? Continuing with moderator Pradyuman Maheshwari, Founder, Editor-in-Chief & CEO, MxMIndia, panellists in the session will include Puneet Jain, CEO, HT Digital News, Ragamalika Karthikeyan, Editor – Special Projects & Experiments ,The News Minute Priya Bubna; Co-Founder & CEO, The Morning Context.

Hosted by Piano, the next panel discussion will be on analysis of key trends in subscription and how your business should adapt to the end of third party cookies. The largest news media groups in India have a very diverse approach to building a holistic digital tech stack while trying to prepare for the end of third party cookies. Join Piano’s SVP of Strategy, Michael Silberman for a discussion on subscription trends in the market, how publishers are planning to solve for a cookieless future and how Piano can help solve both of those problems. Speakers on the panel will include Michael Silberman, SVP Strategy, Piano and Alex Chapko, GM, Ukraine.

DAY 2 (March 3)

The second day of the conference will start with keynote address on five ways news media has changed forever – how to adapt to the new ab-normal. There will be key insights from Innovation in News Media World Research. With moderator Pradyuman Maheshwari, Founder, Editor-in-Chief & CEO, MxMIndia, the panellists in the session will include Juan Señor, President, Innovation Media Consulting Group (UK).

The next panel discussion session will be on the topic ‘What is brand studio all about?’ How they enable connect with the customers. Listen to how Media24 develops native advertising campaigns and what worked well for them, with moderator Pradyuman Maheshwari, Founder, Editor-in-Chief & CEO, MxMIndia, accompanied by a panel of speakers comprising Jerusha Sukhdeo-Raath, Head of Brand Studio:, News24 (South Africa).

Subsequently another panel discussion will be on ‘Digital advertising – Premium approaches, how to thrive in the future.’ Digital heads of leading news media companies will discuss how to address the conundrum. Hemant Jain, Digital Media Head, Lokmat Media (India) will moderate the session with a panel of speakers including Sanjay Sindhwani, CEO, Indian Express Online Media; Arijit Chatterjee, Chief Strategy Officer, NDTV Group and Arjun Satya, Co-Founder & Head of Product – M360, Times Internet.

In the subsequent session on ‘How The Hindu are going digital-first’ there will be an insight of the new and integrated CMS and DAM solution to support the newspaper group’s digital-first strategy. The highlights will include how The Hindu plans to work in a media-neutral environment to support the creation of compelling content that in turn increases audience engagement and monetisation.

In the session, the discussion will be with moderator Michael Taylor, Sales Director, Stibo DX and a panel of speakers comprising Suresh Vijayaraghavan, Chief Technology Officer, THG Publishing Pvt Ltd (India). The session will be hosted by Stibo DX.

The next big session will be South Asian Digital Media 2020 Awards ceremony with presentation of the prestigious awards.

In the subsequent session on ‘New revenue streams: Content to commerce leads the pack’, MensXP brand of Times Internet will share the experience in monetising the audience who come to this brand. Moderator Md Tajdin Hassan, Chief Strategy & Digital Transformation Officer, The Daily Star, the keynote speaker in the session will be Angad Bhatia, Founder & CEO, MensXP Media Houses.

Coming up next, in the session ‘News media company as the digital agency’ there will be session on insights from the business model that help both the advertising client and the publisher to generate high CPM. Again, Moderator Md Tajdin Hassan will conduct the session with speaker Kevin Gentzel, Chief Revenue Officer, Gannett Inc (USA), which will mark the end of the Day 2.

DAY 3 (March 4)

The last day of the conference will start with the session on ‘Building data capabilities and transitioning to be a data friendly news organisation’. Die Presse, Austria has developed a data platform that helps content, users and interaction.

In the panel discussion in the session, Moderator Himanshu Gautam, Head – Digital Business, Amar Ujala (India) will be accompanied by speaker Stefan Körner, Chief Operating Officer, Die Presse (Austria)

‘Using data for audience engagement and spotting advertising opportunities’—this is the topic of discussion of the next session, which will also shed spotlight on how to build the tech stack and ensure data flows across the organisation. Moderator Himanshu Gautam will conduct the session with speaker Kevin Anderson, Journalism and Communications Consultant.

‘Scaling subscriptions: What’s next for reader revenue in India?’ This is the session in which the discussion will be on subscription model. Many publishers in India are making the shift to subscription strategies in a market that presents both unique opportunities and unique challenges. Join a panel discussion featuring editorial leaders from The Indian Express, Hindustan Times, and Mathrubhumi as they share their perspective on the current and future state of reader revenue in the region. Learn about how these organizations are using a data-informed approach to evolve their business and better serve each and every reader.

On the topic, there will be session with Moderator Abhishek Marla, Customer Success Manager, Chartbeat (Channel Partner Asia) and panel of speakers comprising Prasad Sanyal, Chief Content Officer, Hindustan Times; Mayura MS, Director of Digital Business, Mathrubhumi; Nandagopal Rajan, Editor of New Media,The Indian Express.

‘Handling GDPR compliances, and the issues in managing the first party data collection’—this is the topic Alexander Hanff, Founder & CEO, Think Privacy (Poland) will talk about. As news publishers take initiative to address global audiences, what are the key points of data and privacy they should take care and how to do it in a friendly way. Data and privacy, handling GDPR compliance requirements

A focused discussion will be on the topic ‘Digital product for the future’, in which speaker Ola Stenberg, Product Director, Schibsted (Norway), will give a peek preview into Schibsted’s product strategy and the focus for the next years. How do they set up teams across product management, technology and UX and their approach to solving users problems.

The concluding CEO Talk: ‘Transformation and growth of digital news business’ will have a host of CEOs of India’s leading news media companies discussing the way forward. Moderator Krishna Prasad, Former Editor-in-Chief, Outlook (India) will host the show with a panel of speakers including Mariam Mathew, CEO, Manorama Online (India); and Bharat Gupta, CEO, Jagran New Media.

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