The three-day Wan-Ifra 2011 Conference & Expo kicked off on 6 September 2011 at Chennai Trade Centre with 500 delegates comprising the who's who of the newspaper publishing.
“In the present climate, India continues to be a perfect host for Wan-Ifra and I am confident that this year would be bigger and stronger than previous ones” said Kasturi Balaji, the managing director, Kasturi & Sons publishers of The Hindu & Chairman, Wan-Ifra South Asia Committee as he welcomed the delegates in the inaugural session.
Jacob Mathew, the first ever Indian publisher to be appointed president of Wan-Ifra, said, “In the 19th edition the need of the hour for newspaper publishers is to come to terms with innovation in content delivery to the consumers and the business side of the industry.”
Mathew pointed out that there were 1.8 billion print readers worldwide which amounted to 25% of the world's population. “The power of print has been growing in spite of popular belief. In India, there is a huge untapped market what with a 75% literacy rate which is matched by a mere 20% print outreach,” he added.
Mathew said, “The biggest challenge in the future would be to control spiraling costs along with embracing new technology to leverage the growing communication medium. The penetration of content through mobile devices has been phenomenal along with web content which ironically is more expensive than the print."
Taking a cue from the presidential address, Christoph Riess, CEO, Wan-Ifra dwelled into the trends in publishing. Reiss said, “Interesting comparison of content delivery over the internet and mobile devices in India throws up the fact that the latter is well ahead in terms of usage and preference and grabs almost 70% of the market share.”
“It is imperative that the newspaper industry taps into this market, directly,” he said.
The first day of the conference hosted sessions on crossmedia campaigns and advertiser-centric strategies. The speakers included Jwalant Swaroop of Lokmat Media and Monica Nayyar Patnaik of Eastern Media Limited. Other speakers over the course of the conference include Aneil Deepak of Mudra Max, Anu Narasimhan of Britannia Industries, N P Sathyamurthy of Lintas Media Group, Yatish Rajawat of DB Corp, Rajesh Kalra of Times Internet, S Balasubramanian of Dinamalar, Punitha Arumugam of Madison Communications, Sunil Rajshekhar of Times VPL and others.