afaqs! news bureauPublished: 25 Sep 2018, 7:08 PM
Digital

Indian digital news publishers form first Digital News Publishers Association

The DNPA is formed by Dainik Bhaskar, India Today Group, NDTV, Hindustan Times, Indian Express, Times of India, Amar Ujala, Dainik Jagran, Eenadu and Malayala Manorama.

Ten of India’s top news publishers who collectively claim to serve 70% of India’s online audience have today announced the formation of their association, Digital News Publishers Association (DNPA).

The ten founding members include, Dainik Bhaskar, India Today Group, NDTV, Hindustan Times, Indian Express, Times of India, Amar Ujala, Dainik Jagran, Eenadu and Malayala Manorama.

Excerpts from the interaction with the board:

So what's DNPA's views on platforms like social, search, display ads and video grabbing the lion's share of the digital ad spends in India?

In response:

One of the key things we defined in our charter is how to really promote the digital ecosystem with respect to news publishers. We will work together to define how to work with the partners and other bodies, and grow and foster the ecosystem around this. All digital publishers coming together is not only a signal that we realise this, but as a body we are stronger together. It will allow us to create standards and an environment to grow the ad pie, not only in our favour but also the larger ecosystem.

According to a report published by digital agency Dentsu Aegis Network, of the total Rs 8,202 crore of digital ad spends in India, social takes 28%, while search and display constitute 26% and 21% of the pie, respectively.

Indian digital news publishers form first Digital News Publishers Association
From L to R – Bharat Gupta (Jagran New Media), Bobby Paul (Malayala Manorama), Puneet Gupt ( The Times of India), Prabhakar Singh (HT Digital Steams Ltd), Suparna Singh (NDTV), Kalli Purie (India Today Group), Durga Raghunath (The Indian Express), Pawan Agarwal (Dainik Bhaskar Group), I.Venkat (Eenadu),Tanmay Maheshwari (Amar Ujala)

Is DNPA also planning to put forth a subscription model along with measurement procedure for a publisher's digital presence?

In response, the board maintains that while the concept of subscription is unique to each publisher, DNPA might bring forth a measurement process for publishers in terms of ad visibility, website traffic, etc.

The organization is committed to providing the most credible news in all languages to the Indian audience, to self-regulation and to promoting the business and editorial interests of all members.

The digital space in India is growing exponentially and DNPA has been formed to find ways to cooperate in maximizing the current and future potential of the industry.

Digital news publishers do rely on platforms like social media and search for the website traffic. Does this place publishers in a tight spot because a tweak in the social platform's algorithm can have high impact on the visibility of the publisher's content?

In response:

What we all have realised is that platforms and publishers will co-exist. But publishers like us enjoy a high amount of brand equity, which gets more direct traffic along with more repeat user base. Its not something that always pops in your face. Social platforms are great places to explore newer audiences, and convert them into repeat users.

Typically for us, search will be a huge driver since it is a natural course of news. But social traffic does have a lot of volatility because Facebook has had changes, there are changes in algorithms. But we have built our products independent of those platforms and the products can stand on their own feet.

Future plans?

One of the key things is to first create and promote a digital ecosystem. We will work to serve the shared interest of digital news publishers while protecting general interest of members across political legal and regulatory matters. It will also serve as a self-regulatory body for recognised and verified digital news publishers.

While the DNPA is currently formed of the ten member board, members confirmed that the organization is open for membership from any online news publisher and memberships will be cleared by the board.

(All the questions were directed at the board and include answers from multiple respondents from the board members. The responses have been attributed to the 10 member board as a whole for simplification.)