INMA South Asia conference: ‘Technology is not going to take our lunch away; it’s going to change how we sell'

‘We need to re-imagine the product, price and business model’

Aug 26, 2013 03:59:00 PM | Article | Ananya Saha


The seventh edition  of INMA’s South Asia conference in New Delhi on 22 and 23 August  focussed on ‘Print: Thriving in the age of digital’.

Discussions on day two ranged from challenges in the newsrooms to advertising revenues and business models emerging out of the digital wave.

Shekhar Tripathi, digital editor, Jagran, spoke on how newsrooms are gearing up for technological advancements, while RSukumar, editor, Mint, voiced the view that journalists and news organisations need to move to ‘integrated newsrooms’.

Noting that journalists are not forthcoming to adapt to changing modes of news delivery, Kalpesh Yagnik, national editor, Dainik Bhaskar Group, said, “We started experimentation of integration in 2009, but journalists were not forthcoming.” Concurring, Tripathi said, “Readers are getting smarter. We do have challenges, not arising out of multimedia. In the world of news, print is still dominating. But the real challenge is that the journalist is not ready to accept the change.” 

Print + digital = Lethal combination?

Even as there seemed to be consensus among delegates that a combination of print and digital (advertising) ensures best results,former Mindshare Fulcrum head Anupriya Acharya, media and advertising professional, questioned the stance. She said, “It worries me a little that people agreed to this a little too quickly. It is important to question this. Digital onslaught continues with affordable technology, infrastructure investments, intuitive interface and changing consumer behaviour.”

She added, “Consumer habits are getting re-defined. Marketers are playing catch up with consumers who have already moved ahead on the digital curve. In more evolved digital markets, readership of print is going down, followed by decrease in ad money. Budget decisions are favouring digital.” Borrowing from Andrew Rashbass, chief executive, The Economist, who wrote, ‘First stage is lean-back print. Second stage is lean-forward web and third stage is lean-back digital’, Acharya said, “You cannot judge future based on the past. It is important that we harness technology for new creative standards, new paradigms, and new skills. We need to re-imagine the product and re-imagine the price and business model.”

As the conference came to an end, Arunabh Das Sharma, president, BCCL, surmised, “Who said newspaper has to be printed on paper? As print company, we need to create sustainable and enduring content and it is up to ad sales people to sell it on a platform. Technology is not going to take our lunch away, but just going to change how we sell it. And that is all we need to figure out.”