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Embrace evolution: Print augments growth of new media

The Indian Printers Summit 2023 organised by WAN-IFRA brought together more than 300 media leaders from 75 organisations

The Indian Printers Summit 2023 organised by WAN-IFRA, the 31st edition, concluded successfully at the Marriott Hotel in Kochi, India. This year’s summit brought together more than 300 media leaders from around 75 organisations. The two-day event witnessed an overwhelming response from the attendees, reaffirming the strength of the newspaper publishing business in India. The event featured a diverse range of sessions and exhibitions that celebrated innovation, sustainability, and excellence in print.

During the conference opening remarks, Jacob Mathew, former president, WAN-IFRA, and managing editor, Malayala Manorama, said, “We have been able to keep our print business alive thanks to the resilient business strategies of news publishers. This conference gives us the opportunity to learn from some of the best business practices as they share their experiences.”

He addressed the various challenges that the news industry has been facing today and encouraged the media industry to enhance its use of the latest technologies, such as artificial intelligence.

The keynote address by Mylene Sylvestre, publishing director, Guardian News & Media, who joined the audience live from London, reflected on how print still plays a crucial role for The Guardian, and offered valuable perspectives on the coexistence of print and digital media in today’s media landscape.

Senior executives from the Indian news publishing and print industry meet and greet each other before the start of the event. More than 300 executives from about
75 organisations are said to have attended.

The following panel discussion on the ‘Print business trends and current demands of the industry in India’ was moderated by Vinodini Sukumar, managing director, Team One Advertising. The panellists included:

  • Varghese Chandy, VP, Marketing & Advertising Sales, Malayala Manorama
  • Sudeep Kumar, GM – Media Solutions (Print), Mathrubhumi Printing and Publishing
  • Oommen Thomas, national head, Ad Sales, ABP
  • Pradeep Singh, head of Integrated Sales, Amar Ujala
  • Deepak Saluja, CEO, Metropolitan Media Company

The panel discussed various initiatives and strategies to attract younger audiences and explained how these changes led to increased profitability for businesses. The panellists acknowledged the growing trend of younger audiences avoiding the news. They collectively agreed that the print medium can remain relevant in India through publisher resilience and active engagement with advertisers and audiences.

During the day, eminent speakers from various prestigious news publications discussed the role of renewable energy, sustainability and Industry 4.0 in print operations. The Indian Printers Summit featured two parallel tracks of conference: the Printing Summit and the Advertising Summit, providing attendees with comprehensive insights into the industry’s dynamics.

The Best in Print Asia 2023 Awards were presented at the end of the first day of the event. The awards recognise the newspapers across Asia who excel in printing the newspaper as per ISO 12647-3 and WAN-IFRA quality standards. The awards were presented in two categories – newspapers with a circulation of less than 100,000 copies and newspapers with circulation of more than 100,000 copies. The winners emerged from The Times of India, United Printing & Publishing, Abu Dhabi, Anandabazar Patrika, Malayala Manorama, and The Hindu.

No WAN-IFRA Printers Summit is complete without an exhibition and stalls that cater to the needs of the news publishing industry. Visitors to the stalls learnt more
about the latest developments, about sustainability and excellence in print.

Earlier in the day, WIZONE, WAN-IFRA’s new online marketplace was launched.

Day 2 of the summit started with a keynote by Laya Menon, executive VP & business head – South, Lodestar UM (IPG Mediabrands). She presented insights into understanding media solutions from the advertisers’ eyes. Emmy D’Silva, engineering and newsprint consultant, received the audience’s standing ovation for his insightful newsprint session. The session addressed the reasons behind newsprint cost fluctuations in India and elsewhere.

The summit concluded with a newspaper distribution and circulation session featuring M. Rajagopalan Nair, VP – Circulation, and Cinu Mathews, chief GM – Circulation, both from Malayala Manorama. They shared the remarkable circulation success story of the Kerala market and how they ensured newspaper distribution even during the challenging COVID-19 pandemic.

The concluding panel included insights from:

  • Sridhar Aranala, Vice President – Sales & Distribution, The Hindu Group
  • Devika M S, Director of Operations, Mathrubhumi
  • Vinod Bidwaik, Group Director-HR, Sakal Media Group

The panellists expressed their views on the potential benefits of publishers collaborating and sharing distribution infrastructure to enhance operational efficiencies.

At the end of the summit, Magdoom Mohamed, managing director, WAN-IFRA South Asia, said, “This year, we saw higher engagement levels, one of the finest. I appreciate the curiosity to learn when we come back after a year.” Throughout the two-day conference, various industry leaders and insiders shared their expertise and experiences on print readership, production, circulation and distribution, and print augmenting the growth of other mediums.