The continuing importance of print was emphasised by speakers in India and overseas during WAN-Ifra’s Indian Printers Summit event in Kochi.
Among them, Guardian News & Media publishing director Mylene Sylvestre – speaking from London – emphasised the crucial role print still plays for the UK-headquartered global masthead.
And Malayala Manorama managing director and WAN-Ifra past president Jacob Mathew told delegates, “We have been able to keep our print business alive thanks to the resilient business strategies of news publishers.”
The conference provided the opportunity to learn as speakers shared experiences and told of the challenges the news industry has been facing, and he encouraged delegates to enhance their use of new technologies such as artificial intelligence.
More than 300 media leaders from about 75 organisations were present for the thirty-first event, held at the Marriott Hotel. Over two days, attendees, reaffirmed the strength of the newspaper publishing business in India with a diverse range of sessions and exhibitions that celebrated innovation, sustainability and excellence in print.
A panel on print business trends and current demands was moderated by Team One Advertising managing director Vinodini Sukumar, with panellists Varghese Chandy (Malayala Manorama), Sudeep Kumar (Mathrubhumi Printing and Publishing), Oommen Thomas (ABP), Pradeep Singh (Amar Ujala) and Deepak Saluja (Metropolitan Media Company).
Discussion surrounded initiatives and strategies to attract younger audiences, leading to increased profitability, with panellists noting a growing trend of younger audiences to “avoid” news. Print can remain relevant in India through publisher resilience and active engagement with advertisers and audiences, they agreed.
Other speakers addressed the role of renewable energy, sustainability and Industry 4.0 in print operations. In parallel tracks, the Printing and Advertising Summits provided attendees with comprehensive insights into the industry’s dynamics.
Best in Print Asia 2023 Awards were presented at the end of the first day, recognise newspapers that excel in printing to ISO 12647-3 and WAN-Ifra quality standards.
Categories for newspapers with circulation above and below 100,000 copies saw awards go to the Times of India, United Printing & Publishing, Abu Dhabi, Anandabazar Patrika, Malayala Manorama, and The Hindu.
On the second day, a keynote from Lodestar UM executive vice president and South business head Laya Menon provided insights into understanding media solutions from advertisers’ eyes, while RISI engineering and newsprint consultant Emmy D'Silva provided insights into newsprint supply, backgrounding cost fluctuations in India and elsewhere.
Circulation vice president M Rajagopalan Nair and general manager Cinu Mathews both from Malayala Manorama, shared that publisher’s remarkable circulation success story of the Kerala market, and how they ensured newspaper distribution even during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Finally a panel discussed potential benefits of publisher collaboration and the sharing of distribution infrastructure to enhance operational efficiencies. Members were Sridhar Aranala (The Hindu Group), Devika M S (Mathrubhumi) and Vinod Bidwaik (Sakal Media Group).
WAN-Ifra South Asia managing director Magdoom Mohamed said the conference had attracted higher engagement levels, “among the finest” and added that he appreciated the curiosity to learn when delegates returned after a year.