The two-day fifth Annual South Asia Conference of INMA, held in Bengaluru on November 7-8, was attended by eminent media personalities. The theme of the conference was 'Roots and Wings: Strengthening Our Core Business and Exploring New Opportunities'.
The conference focussed on the opportunities in the year ahead for South Asian newspapers that can help them achieve profits from the print business, but at the same time, give them a head start on the rapidly changing world in the digital market.
The conference aimed at bringing together the South Asian newspapers to learn from the best and address the issues that are common to all newspapers to make sure that the industry remains robust and work in tandem.
The welcome address was given by Tariq Ansari, INMA South Asia president, and managing director Media Next, and I Venkat, conference moderator and director, Eenadu.
The first presentation of the day 'New Oxygen, New Growth' by Earl J Wilkinson, executive director and CEO (chief executive officer), INMA discussed about how it is the time for newspapers to go on the offensive and be innovative and relevant. He shared some of the best ideas from newspapers worldwide and looked at how consumer perception of newspapers is changing, the role of social media and newspapers, as well as what advertisers want from the multi-media publishers.
Jehil Thakkar, head of media and entertainment practice, KPMG India, gave an industry overview on the challenges, growth opportunities, and new revenue drivers for the newspaper market. He talked about the potential for the industry to address new markets, both organically, and through mergers and acquisitions.
The CEO Roundtable, 'Have We Reached An End To Readership Growth?' was moderated by Bhaskar Das, president, BCCL, and the panel included Sanjay Gupta, director, CEO and editor, Jagran Prakashan; Tariq Ansari; K N Tilak Kumar, joint managing director and editor, Deccan Herald, and Shahrukh Hasan, group managing director, Jang Group, Pakistan. They discussed that in the era of change that the newspapers are witnessing there is a need to navigate these changes in readership
The session titled 'The Advertising Challenge: Space selling in the age of multiple platforms and the vanishing rate card', raised the question of how the rate card is virtually non-existent for television and its status in the print world is debatable. The panel included Bijou Kurien, president and chief executive, lifestyle, Reliance Retail, Jayen Mehta, general manager, marketing, Gujarat Co-Operative Milk Marketing Federation, Rohit Gupta, president, Sony Entertainment Television, Bhaskar Das of BCCL, Aritra Sarkar, vice-president, strategy, ABP, and Ambika Srivastava, chairperson, ZenithOptimedia and Vivaki Exchange.
Madanmohan Rao, research director, Asian Media Information and Communication Centre, gave a presentation on 'Newspaper Advertising: Social media and mobile opportunities'. He talks about the rise of social media and community reporting, mobile media strategies for newspapers and revenue building through social and mobile ads.
The last session of the day, 'Quick Ideas from Innovative South Asia Newspapers' had Akshay Jain, deputy GM, sales and market development, DB Corp, discuss Dainik Bhaskar Group's readership strategy. He shared how the newspaper in the last two years, has moved from a circulation driven company to building meaningful reader-relationships.
The second presentation of the Quick Ideas session, 'Good editorial content and credibility are good business also', was delivered by Harivansh, chief editor and K K Goenka, managing director, Prabhat Khabar. He talked about how Prabhat Khabar aims at bringing about a change in the development of Jharkhand state, and has established itself as a top newspaper here through its pro-active editorial which highlights readers' problems on corruption, health and education.
The second day of the conference saw Ravi Dhariwal, president, INMA Worldwide and CEO, The Times of India, talk about the key opportunities in the media business -- mobile, digital, advertising and community.
The session titled 'Digital Opportunity for Newspapers' was moderated by Raj Singh, managing director, 2ergo India. The panel included Rishi Khiani, CEO, Times Internet, Sanjeev Khaira, managing director, UBM India, and Sachin Kalbag, executive editor, Mid-Day Infomedia.
The next session titled Community Opportunity for Newspapers, had Suresh Srinivasan, vice-president, The Hindu Group of Publications, share the campaign by the group. The Hindu contributed 2,75,000 books in five days to under-privileged children with the support of its Chennai readers.
Mandir Tendolkar, vice-president, communications, Lokmat, talked about Lokmat Sakhi Manch, an initiative for women empowerment. Anshuman Tiwari, chief of national bureau, Dainik Jagran, talked about the Jan Jagran Campaign for Justice.
The next presentation was by Robert Whitehead, director, marketing and newspaper sales, Fairfax Media, Australia, on 'Lessons From a Market In Transition'.
South Asian newspapers were big winners at the 2011 INMA Awards competition, and executives of the winning newspapers gave a brief overview of their award-winning campaigns, which included Hemant Somani, chief operating officer, Mint, who spoke about the launch of Mint Money, Ralph Fernandez, assistant marketing manager, Mid-Day, who shared the details of Mid-Day: Meter Down campaign, Alok Sanwal, CEO, editor and project head, Inext, who spoke about the Inext Bikeathon, and Ranjan Roy, associate editor, The Times of India, talked about Aman ki Asha.