Countdown begins for South Asia’s largest gathering of news publishers

WAN-IFRA India 2018 Conference is all set to be organised from September 25-27 at Hyderabad International Convention Centre (HICC) in Hyderabad, Telangana. The conference will have two broad sessions, namely, World Printers Forum Conference and World Editors Forum South Asia Summit with sub-sessions on print media trends, journalism management and many others in parallel and common programmes. On the sidelines of the conference will be an expo in which a host of the industry’s top technology and service providers will showcase a handful of products, service development and offerings.

WAN-IFRA India 2018 Conference returns to Hyderabad after a gap of 14 years, setting again a strategic networking platform where 300 senior publishing executives from 25 countries will gather for revealing the trends and tradition of the transforming global news media landscape. The conference will consist of two main sessions—‘World Printers Forum Conference’ and ‘World Editors Forum South Asia Summit’. Key topics to be discussed at World Printers Forum Conference are: Print Media Trends & Distribution Models, Operational Excellence, Quality & Process Efficiency and Future of news media companies. On other hand, World Editors Forum will have topics such as Digital First Approach, Journalism & Change Management, Big Data and Reader Engagement and Future of News Media Companies. The conference is set to be a networking point for news publishers, chairmen, CEOs, COOs, CTOs, MDs, presidents, VPs, GMs, editor-in-chiefs, HODs, senior managers, bureau chiefs, managing editors and others.

Conference opening

Inauguration of the conference will mark with a keynote address from Vincent Peyrègne, CEO, WAN-IFRA (France) on the topic ‘World Press Trends and Future of News Publishing’. In the follow-up will be a panel discussion conducted by moderator KN Shanth Kumar, Director, The Printers (Mysore) Pvt Ltd with panellists: Mukund Padmanabhan, Editor, The Hindu, THG Publishing (India); Sandeep Gupta, Executive President, Dainik Jagran (India); Anand Pandey, National Editor, DB Corp (India); and Sharad Saxena; Executive Director – Operations, HT Media Ltd (India). Discussion in the session will revolve around new technology, which is inevitable while it alters the working process in an organisation and it is necessary to bridge the gap between editorial, technical and business functions for accomplishing company goals, and surviving in the news media business.

How resilient is print?

‘Print Media Trends & Distribution Models’ will be the title of the session with speakers: Manfred Werfel, Deputy CEO, WAN-IFRA (Germany) and Thomas Isaksen, CEO, Procurement Association of the Danish Press (Denmark). The speakers will talk about newspapers as a major source of news consumption and a dominant revenue source for the publishing industry. This session will discuss the trends in print media, how print is resilient to disruption, how various innovations, print process changes, and new business models are helping print to survive in the digital era.

Thomas will take on the resilience of print and print media trends worldwide and the prospects for newspaper printing business. In spite of the industry facing a large migration to lower gramage newsprint, what is the gross effect of it in the newspaper production? In this respect, Thomas will present a case study from Denmark, showing a vast majority of Danish publishers moved to 40 gsm. In the session, there will a presentation on WAN-IFRA’s recent research report that looks at some of the successful examples of printing high value products.

Newsroom transformations

This session will focus on the future of newsroom transformations and how a digital-first approach helps news publishers in increasing their audience. Technology plays a vital role in presenting content to audience effectively, at the right time and in the correct format. There is no tailor-made solution or the ideal newsroom strategy. Publishers and writers need to strategise and provide high quality journalism to thrive in business, while keeping in mind factors such as local environment and audience behaviour.

Speakers at this session will include Maria A Ressa, CEO and Executive Editor, Rappler (Philippines); Steve Yelvington, Consulting and Training Services (USA); Mahfuz Anam, Editor and Publisher, The Daily Star (Bangladesh). ‘Golden Pen of Freedom’ award winner Maria will have her discourse taking on journalism in challenging times and experiences. A case study from The Daily Star, a leading publisher from Bangladesh, will be presented in the session.

Distribution models

Despite finishing printing production well ahead of the deadline with advanced high-speed printing presses, on-time delivery to the customer is still a nightmare, even for leading media companies. This session will highlight how technology and unique delivery models can help improve the newspaper delivery system. Speakers on the session will include Prakasam PVS, Advisor, Eenadu (India); and Shashank Chavan, Deputy Director – Technical, Bennet, Coleman & Company Ltd (India).

Journalism for changing media landscape

Journalism is segmented to render information in an efficient manner. Reader expectation is the thread that connects different forms of journalism such as data journalism and investigative journalism. Emerging ideas poise to be a key to success. For instance, collaborative journalism can be expected to benefit the media industry in the future, if there is a good balance of working journalist groups and versatile skills.

Tools for new age journalism! How is Google News Lab helping in the change process? Collaborative investigative journalism is the new buzzword that is adding great value to journalism. It enables large scale investigation across regions and provides for good content to attract readers. What are the challenges and best practices? There is no silver bullet idea, managing newsroom, especially in the wake of digital disruption. This topic will be taken into discourse by a panel of speakers comprising Rahul Kapoor, Head- Large Partner Solutions, Google; Syed Nazakat, Founder & Editor-In-Chief, DataLEADS / CIJ (India); KR Srinivas, Resident Editor, The Times of India (India).

Operational excellence

Operational costs are ever increasing in newspaper printing. Maintaining printing presses and annual budgets is incredibly tedious in the current scenario, and the skyrocketing news print price only adds to the burden. Therefore, a good waste-management practice and other familiar printing business models can help keep the printing business profitable. Annual Operation Planning reveals the pain points of the newspaper printing industry. What are the challenges and how to make use of the planning exercise?

Waste management in new perspective and it is a need of the hour for the newspaper printing industry. In the session ‘Business Model: Separation of Print Production—The Insights Behind’ there will be talks and presentations from a list of speakers including Ch Srinivas, Chief General Manager – Operations, Telangana Publications Pvt Ltd and Kazi Sarwar Amin, Deputy General Manager, Transcraft Ltd (Bangladesh).

In the session ‘Building Audience Through Journalism & Community Engagement’ there will be presentation of DB Corp’s award-winning campaign that won the ‘Best in Community Service’ award at WAN-IFRA’s Asian Media Awards 2018. Speaker at the session will be Vinay Maheshwari, Sr Vice President – Sales & Market Development and Brand Marketing, DB Corp Ltd (India). The next will be the session presenting the ‘Best In Print Awards’ of ‘Asian Media Awards’ and the prestigious ‘International Color Quality Club (ICQC 2018-2020)’ awards to our South Asian members.

South Asian Digital Media Awards presentation

WAN-IFRA’s prestigious 3rd South Asian Digital Media Awards recognises publishers in South Asia for their innovative and successful digital strategies. Winners will be presented with trophies. Jointly presented by Google, the ceremony will be followed by a gala dinner, a great time to network with peers and friends from the news industry.

New Award Categories

This year, four new award categories have been added to South Asian Digital Media Awards 2018. The newly categories are Best Reader Revenue Initiative, Best Branded Content Project, Best Digital Marketing Campaign and Best Digital News Start-Up.

Best Reader Revenue Initiative: With an aim to increase revenue from digital subscriptions or one-off purchases, this new award category is designed for best new paid content initiative or marketing campaign. It demonstrates understanding of brand strengths, clarity for the reader or customer, and an effective call to action.

Best Branded Content Project: This award is designed for publishers or publisher-owned agencies creating branded content/native advertising. For this award WAN-IFRA is have shortlisted campaigns that have a clear brand voice and identity, that play well across different platforms, quality content, and demonstrate high levels of reader engagement.

Best Digital Marketing Campaign: This category is open for publishers’ marketing campaigns for their own news brands. Competitors in this category have a clear message—an effective social strategy, strong brand voice and efficient targeting.

Best Digital News Start-Up: This category is created for all independent news-related start-ups or larger news publishers launching new businesses or spin-offs. Competitors in this award category demonstrate clear value to their target market, stand out from the crowd and be able to outline a current or future business model.

The existing categories of South Asian Digital Awards 2018 are: Best News Website or Mobile Service, Best in Lifestyle, Sports, Entertainment Website or Mobile Services, Best Use of Online Video (including VR), Best Data Visualisation, Best Reader Revenue Initiative, Best Branded Content Project, Best Digital News Start-up, Best in Social Media Engagement, Best Digital Marketing Campaign, and Best Innovation to Engage Youth Audiences.

Closing day

The last or closing day of the conference will be opened with the keynote address by Juan Señor, President, INNOVATION Media Consulting Group (UK). The session will revolve around the topic ‘Good Journalism is Good Business’ with a presentation on the recent innovation report ‘Innovation Media Consulting – an acclaimed group – showing the way forward to embrace the digital age successfully to survive in the business.

Quality and process efficiency

Newspapers must boast of high-quality to compete with other mediums. WAN-IFRA’s International Color Quality Club competition and ISO certification inspire printers across the world to print newspapers at international quality standards. In this respect, this session will present a couple of interesting case studies.

Analysis of the recently completed International Color Quality Club, ICQC – 2018-20 results.

WAN-IFRA’s ISO 12647-3 implementation in newspaper printing press: Impacts & benefits of ISO certification project. Secondly, how did Jagati achieve big success in ICQC 2018-20 with multiple printing plants and how did they prepare their plants for the competition. Optimise cost and improve efficiency with better tracking and data analysis.

Speakers in the session will be Prabhu Natrajan, Research Engineer, WAN-IFRA, South Asia; Janaka Rathnakumara, COO, Wijeya Newspapers Ltd (Sri Lanka); TK Suresh, Chief General Manager-Operations, Jagati Publications Ltd (India); B Gouri Sankar, General Manager-Quality and Prepress, Jagati Publications Ltd (India); and Bhasi PT, General Manager – Production, The Mathrubhumi Printing & Publishing (India).

Social media and platform publishing strategies

In this fast-paced news media world, readers want to consume news of their choice. The use of an algorithm has helped newsrooms focus on journalism and create effective content instead of spending more time on managing technology. Social media reach may attract publishers to introduce more news to the platforms but forming the right strategy will maximise benefits. Giving a focus on this area, a host of speakers will speak about the changing landscape of the news media world. The speakers will include Fredric Karen, CEO & Editor-In-Chief, Svenska Dagbladt (Sweden); Chia Ting Ting, Head of Marketing & Advertising, FG Media (Malaysia). A case study on the state of social media for news publishing companies from Svenska Dagbladt will be a key highlight at this session.

Fake news and social media

Fake news and misinformation, surfacing from social media, continue to plague the media industry. It destroys the credibility of a brand and the reliability of a reader. As per the old saying, ‘Diamond cuts diamond’, it’s only technology that can provide solutions for problems created by technology. This session will discuss how leading publishers combat fake news, how disruptive technologies such as AI can help us in the process of fact-checking and how synergies with social media help us attract loyal audiences. Key speakers in the session will be Jane Lytvynenko, Journalist, BuzzFeed, Canada; and Parankusha S, AI Entrepreneur. The session will take a deeper discussion on how do enterprising news organization manage the challenge the fake news that has shaken the very foundation of journalism, using the growing importance of AI and other disruptive technologies in content verification and fact checking.

Better print quality

Better quality in print and an optimised process bring financial benefits through improved customer satisfaction and high efficiency. Quality assurance programme, condition monitoring of printing presses, etc, can help an organisation achieve the same. The impact of these initiatives is deep-rooted and will prove helpful in managing assets and sustain profit margins. In this session, there will be a presentation on how quality assurance programme brought cost benefit to BCCL. Speakers in this session are Ravi Saini, Deputy Chief Manager – Production, Bennett Coleman & Co Ltd (India); Rajiv Sen, Deputy Chief Manager – Engineering, Bennett Coleman & Co Ltd (India); Hans Jörg Maurer, Managing Director, pme maurer GmbH (Germany); and Josef Schiessl, General Manager, Suddeutscher Verlag Zeitungsdruck (Germany). A discussion in this session will take on improved efficiency and extended service life of printing presses through condition monitoring project. Practice-oriented training approach has enabled the leading German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung to improve its level of operational efficiency. WAN-IFRA and Sueddeutsche Zeitung are now taking this approach to help media companies worldwide.

Common closing session

Common to the two main sessions, World Printers Forum Conference and World Editors Forum South Asia Summit, the closing session of the conference will be titled ‘Future of News Media Business’. The session will focus on the increasing dynamism of news media business and challenges for both print and digital mediums. For print, cost-cutting and sustaining profit margins alone will not work in the long run because of factors such as declining advertisement and circulation and increasing raw material prices being a constant threat.

Understanding the world of print and innovative use of the medium can help everyone survive in the business. For publishers, there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution. Understanding their own strengths, audience expectation, and the right amalgamation of strategies and technologies will help the industry move forward.

Print never dies, it is true. However, the tactic is how innovative ideas in printing can make it flourish amidst the digital disruption. It’s time to dig up unconventional strategies to overcome new age challenges. This session will have experiences and lessons from non-news media companies for future growth. Two keynote Indian speakers in this common closing session will be Nandini Dias, CEO, Lodestar UM (India) and Rohit Bansal, Group Head – Communications, Reliance Industries Ltd (India). The discussion in the session will also revolve around trends in newsprint demand – supply chain and what newspaper companies could do to compete and survive in the business. For further enquiries regarding the conference, e-mail at: infoindia@wan-ifra.org or sureshbabu.kr@wan-ifra.org.

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