‘Growing Big in Digital’ is theme of Digital Media India 2020 Conference

South Asian Digital Media Awards 2019 to be presented at the conference

Is business out of digital journalism a reality? Or is it a bubble waiting to burst? Will readers ever be ready to pay for journalism? Is digital journalism limited to established players? How does one sustain digital journalism in a region involves in constant tussle with misinformation? What are the alternate revenue streams? These questions and more will be addressed during the Digital Media India 2020 Conference in New Delhi.

Scheduled to be organised on February 18 and 19 at Holiday Inn, Aerocity, New Delhi, Digital Media India 2020 Conference is focusing on how publishers can drive their business to profitability. Topics of discussions at the two-day conference will be Digital Transformation, Revenue from Advertising, Subscription Models, Digital Journalism and Video Strategies. Now in its 9th year, Digital Media India 2020 Conference will host more than 150 senior news publishing executives for discussions around growth in digital revenue and technology with a smorgasbord of business, digital and editorial topics.


The first day of the two-day conference will have discussions and debate around revenue trends in the industry. Interactive sessions will involve questioning the very essence of digital and programmatic advertising and how one can bridge the gap between expectations of the advertiser and publisher. The day will also mull over alternate revenue sources for the news media business, discussing in depth how a publisher can drive their business to profitability.

Gone are the days when the biggest revenue source of a media house was advertising revenue. Partnerships and alliances between publishers are the new normal as is content syndication, e-commerce, podcasts, sponsorship and events. Other topics to be presented at the conference include a discussion on newsroom culture, video strategies, technology for enabling high revenue and high performance organisation.

The tone of the conference will be set in motion with a keynote address on ‘Business Out of Digital Journalism and Experience of Digital Transformation’, followed by an interactive question and answer session. In the further session, Puneet Gupt, COO, Times Internet Ltd, will talk about ‘Digital Advertising Trends’, narrating how news publishers have peaked the heights. He will also focus on whether news genre attractive for advertisers and challenges in maximizing the advertising revenue pie.

Another session will be on experience from Sweet, the brand studio from Singapore Press Holdings, Singapore. The session will focus on ‘Native Advertising’—is it the holy grail of digital revenue? Is having one’s own native studio is the answer to make our cash register ring? How to set it up?

The session will include discussion about understanding programmatic advertising and new trends in it, signifying how digital ad agencies plan their programmatic campaign and bridging the gap between expectation of advertisers and publishers. Then, another session with speaker Anjali Krishnan, Media Head, MONDELEZ, will be on the way brands are look for in advertising campaigns. How do they select their audience and what do they look for when choosing the channel?

In the post-lunch session, there will be talk on 14 new business models and one single strategy, how to drive business to profitability in which the speaker will be Juan Señor, President, Innovation Media Consulting Group, UK. The session will be followed by another one based on The Economist’s experience, highlighting the London-based English-language weekly magazine-format newspaper’s reader first product strategy. Session speaker Iain Noakes, Chief Customer Journey Officer, The Economist, will discuss how cultivating habit and customer loyalty are depending more and more on getting the digital product experience just right.

The successive session will be on ‘Building Sustainable Business for Journalism Through Technology and Innovation,’ with speaker Rohan Tiwary, Head of Media, News & Entertainment Partnerships, APAC, Google Asia Pacific, Singapore. In the next session, Hari Shankar, CEO, Singapore Media Exchange, will talk about partnerships and alliances between publishers as the new normal. He will narrate how publishers come together to form ad networks and jointly sell their digital ad inventory. SPH and Medicorp in Singapore, traditional arch rivals, have joined hands together and formed Singapore Media Exchange (SMX).

Another session will be on content syndication as an age-old business, but perfected only by a few. With tonnes of content produced by publishers every day, not all make incremental revenue for the publishers, often due to the limitation of reach of publisher’s own site. Content syndication offers excellent source of revenue and leading consumer brands are investing more budgets in such content. The discussions in this session will revolve around the way to set up syndication team, and align it with overall content strategy.


The second day of the conference will cover the over-the-top (OTT) scenario in South Asia. What are the threats, challenges and opportunities that accompany online streaming in region? The Indian news media market currently hosts more than 30 over-the-top (OTT) players. The country is expected to overtake South Korea in the next five years to become the world’s eighth biggest OTT player.

In the first session of the second day, Siddharth Varadarajan, Founding Editor, The Wire, will talk about ‘Digital Journalism—Is The Digital Content Bubble Waiting To Burst?” He will narrate how readers ever be ready for paying for content with answers to the ever emerging questions like ‘Is digital journalism only for established players? What are the secret ingredients to sustain digital journalism?’

In the next session, Rupa Jha, Head of Indian Languages, BBC India, will talk about increasing consumption of video content online and why every publisher is looking to create/increase their video content. She will explain how best to do it, what are some of the successful strategies to do it? Another session will be on OTT as the new platform with potential to take on every medium. The session will give an account on understanding OTT—opportunities and threats.

The second day will have a line of sessions on diverse digital media platforms and strategies. A session will be on the ‘Changing Phase of Video Viewership and Its Impact on News Dissemination’. The popularity of ‘Helo’ app has taken the video world by storm, with more than a million downloads in a very short span of time and by the amount of time spent.

Another session will be ‘Technology for Digital Transformation — Enabling Organisation to be Agile, Efficient and Better Performing Enterprises’. Discussion will involve how transformation will work and cut costing strategies as well as tools for publishers to cut down cost in digital business.

In another session, topic of discussion will be on ‘Machine Learning Algorithms to Manage the Content Backbone to Deliver Right Type of Content in Accordance to the Behaviour of Reader.’ There will be presentation of data centre set up by publishers using ML to optimise the content for global audience at fraction of the cost.

After a networking lunch, speaker Brett McKeehan, Director – Asia, CNN Digital Worldwide, Hong Kong, will talk driving change in newsroom. Newsroom culture is a deep-rooted structure and a challenge to tackle in the process of transformation of any publishing company. He will make a presentation highlighting how to drive change drawn from their experiences.

In another session, the discussion will be on cultivating a culture of innovation in newsroom. It will be an inspiring lesson from a start-up, the winner of ‘Best in Lifestyle, Sports, Entertainment Website or Mobile Service’ category in World Digital Media Awards 2019.

The conference will close with a panel discussion on future of news media business and the opportunities in South Asia by CEOs of leading news media organisations. On the sidelines of the conference, there will be a mini info-table expo in which a host of leading companies and suppliers will display their products and services for the news publishing industry. Digital Media India 2020 is supported by Quintype, Protecmedia, CCI and ppi Media.

South Asian Digital Media Awards 2019

The first day of the conference will close with the South Asian Digital Media Awards 2019, which saw more than 70 entries from over 20 media companies. An international jury comprising high ranked professionals from the media industry chose 34 winners for the fifth edition of the awards.

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