WAN-IFRA India 2019 Conference in Gurugram brings South Asian news publishers and industry experts altogether in one place

Co-sponsored by Indian Newspaper Society (INS), the 27th edition of WAN-IFRA India Conference is themed on ‘Driving Revenue and Excellence in Challenging Times’ and it is scheduled to be held on September 18 and 19, 2019 at The Leela Ambience in Gurugram (Delhi-NCR). The annual conference for news publishers in South Asia is set to be a confluence where everybody is privileged to connect with the right people discussing over new business transformation, new technologies, ideas, experiences, case studies and many more. Advertising Summit is a new session introduced this year.


(September 18)

The conference will inaugurate with the Keynote Address 1 on the topic ‘Is the future of news media business sustainable for legacy media companies? The discussion will evolve around tech innovations and business transformation experiences at Tiso Blackstar Group. The Keynote Address 2 will be on the topic ‘Extending the Life of Printed Product, While Gearing up for a Digital-First Newsroom and the Transformation’— SPH experience. Lisa MacLeod, WAN-IFRA Vice President & Head of Digital, Tiso Blackstar Group, South Africa and Warren Fernandez, Editor-in-Chief, The Straits Times & SPH’s English/Malay/Tamil Media Group will be the keynote speakers at this session. The next session will be on the topic ‘World Press Trends’. In this, Thomas Jacob, Chief Operating Officer, WAN-IFRA (Germany), will narrate what metrics are driving the strategies of news publishers and the underlying trends that are shaping the local news challenge. Pressing issues of the newspaper business WAN-IFRA’s recent report titled ‘Newspaper Technology History’ documented and analysed the milestone developments in the newspaper technology. These findings reveal interesting facts, which necessitated the invention of groundbreaking technology and lessons we could learn from this study to change the course of newspapers business. Speakers in this session will include Balaji Kasturi, Former Director, Kasturi & Sons Ltd (India) and Gerhard Raab, Owner, Gerhard Raab International Consulting (Germany). A session on Strategic Shift in Advertising will have discussion the future of advertising—challenges and opportunities.

Newsprint demand & supply

Painful days of the past year caused by higher newsprint prices and uncertainty in availability has almost stabilised now. Nevertheless, the newspaper companies still worry about volatile prices. What is the present scenario, trends in the future and possible price indexes in the pulp & paper industry? Answers to these questions will be found from Emmy Silva, Engineering & Newsprint Consultant (India).

Content, Communities and Commerce

Content, Communities, and Commerce—these 3Cs shape the new age advertising world. What to watch out for and how do we set sail, Madan Mohan Mohapatra, Head – Customer Strategy, Future Group (India) will talk in the session.

Panel discussion on challenges in print advertisement

How do we manage the challenge of advertising in print and enhance the pie. Indian newspapers continue to invest in new press and production capabilities. How far this would go and what to invest in the future is in everyone’s mind. Some companies look to optimise the utility of the existing capacity by taking outsourced print jobs, and some outsource their printing job in new markets/non-competing areas to others. What is the ideal win-win model?

In the panel discussion Suresh Balakrishna, Chief Revenue Officer, THG (India) will be in the chair with panellists comprising Rajeev Beotra, CEO – HT English, HT Media Ltd (India); Sudha Natrajan, Director – Response, The Times of India (India); Vipon Khatwani, Sr. Vice President, Jagran Prakashan Limited (India) and Varghese Chandy, Vice President, Marketing, Ad Sales, Malayala Manorama (India).

Print power innovation

Power of Print—this campaign in Europe encouraged innovation in print advertising. With a look at the successful examples of European newspapers, speaker Ulbe Jelluma, Managing Director, Print Power Europe, Brussels (Belgium), will analyse this prospect.

In the following session, the topic will be ‘Efficiency and Cost Optimisation’. What does efficiency and excellence mean for a newspaper organisation? What are the options available to optimise the resources from the management point of view? Speaker in this session will be RD Bhatnagar, Chief Technology Officer, DB Corp Ltd (India)

‘Product-Based Innovation at Its Best’—this is the topic of the case study in the subsequent session in which discussion will be conceptualising monetisation friendly product, aiming at youth audience. Anup Gupta, Managing Editor, Integration, Hindustan Times (India) will be the key speaker. In the similar tone, the next session titled ‘Global Trends and Case Studies’ will have case studies on printing efficiencies. Mathijs Baron, Director of International Sales, QIPC, will speak how different environment/ cultures prepare themselves for making the production processes future proof.

Long press life

‘Extend the Life of Your Press’ is the latest special report from WAN-IFRA based on condition monitoring of printing presses project done at several newspaper printing plants. Learn from the findings of the project and speaker Jaiganesh Muniasamy, Research Engineer, WAN-IFRA (India).

The next session will be on ‘What It Takes to Innovate’ in which Pramod Dabke, Vice President – Ad Dailies – The Telegraph, ABP (India), will speak about what it takes to innovate and the process behind it, highlighting some instances of outstanding innovations from The Telegraph.

‘Reducing Carbon Footprint’—this is the topic in the next session that will have Amit Khurana, COO – Newspaper Group, TechNova India. The speaker will explain how carbon footprint will be reduced by adopting green products, processes and services.

In the panel discussion session titled ‘Revenue 360’ a panel of speakers will discuss about challenging economic environment and opportunities that exist beyond pure print advertising for newspapers publishers to capitalise on. With Geoff Tan, Managing Director, Market Development, SPH Magazines in the chair, panellists in the session will include Shashi Sinha, CEO, IPG Mediabrands (India) and Anita Nayyar, CEO India & South East Asia, Havas Media Group

Soft proofing

To optimise cost and improve efficiency in printing, intelligent Density System (IDS) and soft proofing play vital roles. In this session, two speakers from BCCL, viz. Anup Pal, AGM-Quality Assurance and Amit Gupta, Chief Manager – Electrical, will narrate the technologies.

Women in News

‘Women in News’ is the initiative of WAN-IFRA that aims to increase women’s leadership and voice in news. It hopes to address head on the issues of women in newsrooms, in order to initiate a dialogue that aims at better gender diversity and equality in newsrooms. The panel on the first day of the conference will discuss largest issues that need to be addressed regarding women in newsrooms, decision making or leadership roles in newsrooms, REAL impact of the #MeToo movement in newsrooms, etc.

Ritu Kapur, Co-Founder & CEO, Quintillion Media (India) in the chair, panel of woman speakers in the session will be Neha Dixit, independent journalist (India); Priya Ramani, National Features Editor, Mint (India); Ritu Sarin, Editor, Investigations, Indian Express (India).

Operational excellence in newspaper production

Achieve the operational excellence in newspaper production by closing the gaps and addressing the performance hiccups in the production unit. This session will have speaker Giridhar Rao, Deputy General Manager – Printing, TGH Publishing Pvt Ltd, India.

The next session will be on ‘IT in printing’. How do we harness IT to improve the efficiency of our printing operations? Given the complex requirements in manufacturing units, Computerised Maintenance Management System (CMMS) helps maintain the assets, improve overall efficiency and maintain the inventory effectively. In this session Sagar Sharma, CIO, Rajasthan Patrika (India) will present a case study. With this there will be summary and conference closing for the day.


(September 19)

Second day of the conference will start with the session titled New Revenue Streams by speaker Geoff Tan, Managing Director, Market Development, SPH Magazines. In the session, the speaker will narrate advertising in print is declining and digital advertising revenues are not accruing to news publishers as much as we like to. In this respect, the session will shed light on accelerating new revenue streams—venture into new revenue verticals, set up cross-media sales teams, and the like.

Maintenance of gears

Achieving operational excellence is a goal every plant manager, maintenance manager, engineering department heads aim for. While sophisticated printing machines help this goal to a large extent, they also pose the challenge of maintaining the rotating equipment such as gears and rollers in ideal condition. Repairs and improper care of gears and bearing could push up the operational cost and bring down the life of the machine.

Features speakers in this session will be C Selvaraj, Head-Services & Replacement Business, Shanthi Gears (India) on ‘maintenance of gears: lessons in professional approach to maintaining them in printing machines’; Venkatesan Narayana Murthy, REP Specialist, SKF (India) on ‘rotating equipment performance analysis’; and Satish Mishra, Director-Production, Jagaran Prakashan (India) on ‘maintenance of press and folders, highlighting strategy adopted by Jagran to reduce failures and breakdowns in folders and printing units to obtain maximum usability.

In the subsequent session on ‘Integrated Platform – Junction K’ speaker Varghese Chandy, Vice President, Marketing, Ad Sales, Malayala Manorama (India) will take on integrated platform and 360 degree approach to advertisers needs. It will be followed by the session titled ‘Events as A Driver of Revenue’ in which speaker Sayyied Kabir, Consultant, Prothom Alo (Bangladesh), will present a case study from Prothom Alo on their more than 200 events every year and the experiences they create for readers and advertisers, resulting in advertisement revenue for the group.

Press and folder maintenance

A case study on press maintenance and folder maintenance will be the major highlight in this session. Speaker Satish Chandra Mishra, Director-Production, Jagran Prakashan (India) will speak about precautionary measures to maintain the life of the folders and strategy adopted by Jagran to reduce the failures and breakdowns in folders and printing units.

In the next session titled ‘Elements of Design Thinking’, which will be after a short break, is designed with elements of design thinking and user-centric approach as speaker Karthikayini Subbaraman, Chief Product Officer, Xperian, will explain how the design-thinking ideas could be aligned with putting customers first in newspaper business.

Strategies of growing revenue in print and digital

Ara from Catalonia is a growing regional news media company in Spain. They transformed their business, by creating a new paradigm in print—content, audience and commerce, how did it happen and plan for growth. Georgina Ferri Tordera, Chief Innovation Officer, ARA, Spain, will speak at the session. This session will be followed by round up of best examples from WAN-IFRA Print Innovation Awards 2018 which will be conducted by Prabhu Natrajan, Research Engineer, WAN-IFRA, South Asia.

Big data for advertisement

Using big data for driving advertising growth—How to do it? Oshin Anand, Data Scientist, Ninestars, will explain it. In the next of this big data session will be ‘Innovative Approach in Supply Chain Management’ in which innovative approach in supply chain management by HT Media for business excellence will be the topic of discussion with speaker Neel Kant Saxena, Director-Supply Chain, HT Media (India).

In the session ‘Transformation in Market Place’, Pankaj Dubey, Country Head & Managing Director, Polaris (India) will explain how do advertisers change course and transform their business. He will also narrate how do they reach their audience and what is the place for legacy media in their communication plans in the new economy.

Distribution of newspaper

On-time distribution of newspaper is still a challenge and complicated one for every newspaper company. Throughout the world, companies have evolved with different models to achieve with a good business model for on-time delivery. In this respect, a case study from a European newspaper will be a major highlight in this session with speaker Frode Finnes Larsen, Chief Technology Officer, Distribution Innovation (Norway).

In another session titled ‘Leveraging Audience Data’, Dushyant Khare, Head – Global Partnerships – Southeast Asia & India, Google (Singapore) will talk about leveraging audience data to better engage readers and generate revenue. ‘High Circulation Numbers and Door Delivery of Newspapers’—this is the title of the case study to be presented by Takashi Kanari, Deputy Manager, Asahi Shimbun (Japan). It will highlight how newspaper market in Japan is very similar to India, with high circulation numbers and door delivery of newspapers every day.

‘Efficiency of Newspaper Delivery’ will be the topic of the next session (a case study from the Indian newspaper industry) in which the discussion will be on efficiency of newspaper delivery: optimising resources, routes, logistics to minimise and working with vendor/distributors to reduce the overall time of distribution. Oliver Lesly Velitinger, General Manager – Circulation, The Printers Mysore Pvt Ltd, India will narrate how it works.

Title in the next session will be ‘Business Transformation’. It’s all about mapping invisible networks in an organisation and driving innovation and change. In the session, speaker Santhosh Babu, Managing Director, OD Alternatives (India), will explain how to create competitive context and effectively use it to drive the change. This session will be followed by a common closing session with a panel discussion on ‘Newspaper Distribution’. The panel will take on CEOs of leading Indian publishing companies discussing the challenges in print, how to extend its life, how each media group is transforming.

Thomas Jacob, Chief Operating Officer, WAN-IFRA (Germany) in the chair, the panel will have speakers including Raj Jain, CEO, Bennett, Coleman & Co Limited; Pawan Agarwal, Deputy MD & CEO, DB Corp (India); Sanjay Gupta, CEO & Whole Time Director; DD Purkayastha, Managing Director & CEO, ABP (India).

Closure of the conference will mark with a plant visit for delegates, sponsored by TKS Krause. The delegates will visit the Manesar plant of The Times of India.

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