All talks envisage growth and innovations at WAN-IFRA India 2015

Accolade of ‘World Young Reader News Publisher Award’ to Indonesian daily Kompas
After 12 years, WAN-IFRA India returned to Mumbai with a host of back to back summits, parallel expositions on latest newspaper printing technologies and more. Co-sponsored by INS, around 600 delegates from more than 30 countries rushed to the global event. Print & Publishing editor SK Khurana recounts a brief account of the three-day conference and expo that pulled a league of South Asian news media stalwarts to the influential confluence of innovative ideas and technologies. WAN-IFRA India 2015 Conference and Expo organised from September 02-04 at BCEC in Mumbai brought to showcasing what all news media industry has garnered over the last one decade or so since the event was last held in the city. The onset of the event was marked with a common inaugural session to all forums/summits, in which Magdoom Mohamed, managing director, WAN-IFRA South Asia, India delivered a welcome address, followed by the opening address from K Balaji, chairman, WAN-IFRA South Asia Committee and director, Kasturi & Sons Ltd, India.

Young readers spotlighted

A big ovation at the opening session was for the World Young Reader News Publisher of the Year Award conferred on the Indonesian daily Kompas. “The newspaper has had a major role in creating new citizens capable of sustaining their own freedom of expression and peaceful change of government—two basic elements for any democracy,” announced Jacob Mathew, past president of WAN-IFRA and executive editor of Malayala Manorama, who presented the accolade of the prestigious award to the Indonesian newspaper. Among the other winners, Kids' News, a children newspaper from Denmark, bagged the silver award in the ‘teaching freedom’ category.

The whole three days of the conference were sub-divided into World Editors Forum (Newsroom Summit), World Printers Forum (Printing Summit) and Crossmedia Advertising Summit, with a common closing session for all.

Day One

In his common keynote address on the opening day of the three-day conference and expo, Patrick Daniel, editor-in-chief, English and Malay Newspapers Division, Singapore Press Holdings Ltd (SPH) affirmed that South Asian newspaper publishers continue to increase their print business and they are also undergoing a digital revolution. Till 2003, SPH engaged in production of five magazine titles; but the count has reached 100 today, which include both fully-owned and some licensed ones. They also produce a special weekly newspaper for Indian communities residing in Singapore.

Speaking at the Newsroom Summit, Thomas Jacob, chief operating officer, WAN-IFRA Germany revealed that the trend of news publishing in digital age is catching on. On what publishers can do, he urged to understand the disruption patterns first and master the digital eco-system. On the other side, Printing Summit hosted a series of valuable discussions, among which Benedicte Gercke, category director-paper & energy, News UK and Ireland (UK), presented provocative ideas and concepts of newsprint procurement as well as operational excellences in the session on ‘Excellence and Innovation in Newspaper Production’. She imparted a case study on optimisation of paper and energy from one of the largest printers in the world.

Day Two

The second day dawned on a significant session on ‘Colour Quality’ at Printing Summit. Anand Srinivasan, research manager, WAN-IFRA India, opened the session with the announcement of advantages of enrolling into the International Newspapers Color Quality Club (INCQC) 2016-2018, which is open to all. He explained how publications of all sorts—dailies, weeklies, monthlies and fortnightlies—could use the competition in the club to improve their process in achieving consistency in print quality.

Followed-up next in the session on ‘Color Quality’, Anjan Majumdar, vice president-quality & EHS, HT Media Ltd, India, narrated the systematic approach to implement FM screening in newspaper production, a relatively new subject. Reasons for the selection of FM, according to Anjan, are set for: smooth dot renderation, strong spots on plates, easy control of dot gain, ease of ink control on press, RIP and system speed, among others. As a result, he said Hindustan Times has successfully brought 60 percent of paper consumption to 40 and 42 gsm; saved upto 5-10 percent of ink and advertisers are elated to the print production on FM.

Day Three

On the third day of the conference, a session titled ‘Trends in print production’ at the Printing Summit witnessed a flock of speakers talking in length about the new trends. Opening the session, Snehasis Chandra Roy, associate vice president-technical, ABP Pvt Ltd, India, shared some innovations which ABP has so far adopted to impress readers and advertisers alike. Unable to attend the conference, but directly streamed live from Dubai, Samer Sabri Abdel Qader, director-digital & prepress, Masar Printing & Publishing, UAE, presented his share of ideas on the adoption of new technologies for sustainability and new business. Masar boasts of a production facility of half a million sq ft where equipped technologies of all sorts, including web-offset, commercial web-offset and digital presses—certainly a mega portfolio comprising Kodak NexPress, Kodak Prosper, manroland CROMOMAN and so on.

In the follow-up part of the session, Neeraj Mahajan, vice president-technical, Lokmat, India, precisely elaborated the newspaper’s focus on ‘green’ technologies in their overall production process. Established in 1971 with its first Gujarati edition, then English edition in 1987 and Hindi in 1989, what Neeraj revealed was their eco-friendly production process and adoption of renewable energy, minimisation of non-recyclable liquids, reduction in carbon footprints and such other strategies eventually helped Lokmat reap unmatched advancements in using ‘green’ and sustainable technologies.

Closing session

At the closure of the three-day conference and expo, Manfred Werfel, director, Word Printers Forum, WAN-IFRA, Germany, presented business model for sustainable print in which he stated that the printing industry is innovating and experimenting to come up with solution best suited to new challenges. He observed the cost of printing is coming more and more into focus, those who don’t adapt will lose their market position.

The ultimate closing note from Rainer Esser, CEO, Zeit Online, Germany, opened up with his story of a long road traffic he experienced in Mumbai as his first impression (laughing) of the city on his maiden visit to India. Key factors of success, he then changed the topic, consisted of steady improvement in layout and editorial designs, winning and keeping the best and most diverse staff, and most importantly the use of ‘big data’ to keep in touch and engage with young readers by embracing digital opportunities.

Inspiring exhibition

The expo, organised in parallel to the three days of conference and expo, hosted a group of 65 exhibitors from India and abroad showing their machines and services, which include printing presses, prepress equipment, editorial systems, archiving systems, digital media management and mobile app developments. Prominent among the exhibitors were ABB, Alpap, Cadgraf, CCI, 4Cplus, FUJIFILM India, GOSS International, Kodak India, Krause, manroland, Manugraph, Memory Repro, Mosca, Newstech, Poddar Global, ppi Media, PRAKASH Web Offset, QuadTech, SLKCG, Technicon India, TOYO Inks Arets, WRH Global, among others. And those eminent sponsors of the conference and expo comprised: Atex, CCI, DIC, Google, Huber Group, Kreatio, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, ppi Media, TechNova and The New York Times (News Service and Syndicate).

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