WAN-IFRA India Conference 2016 unfolds new paths for news media

Attended by around 400 industry delegates, Kolkata edition of WAN-IFRA India Conference was organised on September 21-22, 2016. SM Dutt and Jyaneswar Laishram from Print & Publishing share the trends and tradition of the newspaper world discussed by 35 speakers from India and abroad. The annual WAN-IFRA Conference, now in its 24th edition, took place in Kolkata for the first time, pulling participants from more than 20 countries. In the welcome address at the onset of the conference, Magdoom Mohamed, MD, WAN-IFRA South Asia Pvt Ltd (India) thanked every participant and attendee who made the occasion so perfect. Subsequently, DD Purkayastha, MD & CEO, ABP Group (Kolkata) and WAN-IFRA board member, in his opening address, mentioned that the Indian news media industry is now in the cusp of a print-digital transition with digital start-ups taking flight. Traditional publishers, according to him, should now innovate and collaborate to be relevant in the print-digital world.

Common inaugural session

The two-day conference, which was co-sponsored by INS (Indian Newspaper Society), had a common inaugural session, in which keynote speaker Chandra Sekhar Ghosh, founder-MD and CEO of Bandhan Bank (India) addressed the crowd about the banking industry and its similarity to the new media industry. While, Manfred Werfel, director, World Printers Forum, WAN-IFRA (Germany) talked about the World Press Trends, WAN-IFRA’s annual update of the newspaper industry worldwide.

World Printers Forum

Day one: A session on ‘Operation Efficiency in Print Production’ was conducted by Manfred Werfel in the World Printers Forum, wherein he explained why optimisation in newsprint handling is important as newsprints are handled 16 times between the mill and newspaper press. At the closure of the session, with respect to the topic he discoursed, Manfred released OPAHAL (Optimised Paper Handling & Logistic) practice guide of WAN-IFRA.

While, PK Phillip, VP-work, Malayala Manorama (India), talked about the advantages and challenges of ‘inserting systems’.

Energy efficiency in newspaper printing plant was the topic for Josef Schiebl, technical director, Suddeutscher Verlag Zeitungsdruck (Germany), who explained why effective power utilisation is the key step for sustainability in newspaper production. Session on ‘Engineering Excellence in Print’ had two technical experts (engineers) from Bennett Coleman & Co Ltd, namely, Neeraj Sharma and S Karthik, who presented a ‘case study’ sharing some strategic management of technology and human capital to achieve competency in cost, productivity and quality.

While, keynote speakers—Janaka Rathnakumara, COO, Wijeya Newspapers Ltd (Sri Lanka) and Somnath Guha, associate VP-engineering, ABP Pvt Ltd (India)—elucidated how period mechanical audits and pro-active maintenance help improve the life of newspaper presses.

Concluding sessions in the World Printers Forum witnessed three key speakers who narrated about Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).

Day Two: The second day opened with the session on ‘Publishing System’ in which the first speaker Bhausaheb Patil, director-technology, Sakal Media Group (India) asserted that the shrinking of print media is a true phenomenon that may hit the Indian market, sooner or later. RP Lakshmivenkataraman, assistant vice president-pre-press, The Hindu (India) recommended to adopt multi-channel publishing with an objective in mind.

While, Cornelius Sohm, head-Russmedia Solutions (Austria), shared that their company adopted different editorial systems and workflows in the newsrooms, even in the pre-digital period, around 23 years ago.

In a session on ‘Value Added Printing,’ Ambi Parameshwaran, founder, Brandbuiding.com (India) described the existence of the power of print in the industry. Anandan Thangasamy, manager, technical services, Star Media Group (Malaysia), narrated that designs play vital role in value addition. While, Nandini Choudhury, chief technical manager, DIC India Ltd (India) stressed on value addition in prints with UV inks.

Newsroom Summit

World Editors Forum (Newsroom Summit) unfolded a series of talks on the topic ‘Newsroom of the Future’ conducted by a string of speakers, including DN Mukherjea, president, ABP Digital & editor, Fortune India, who discussed upon the trend of social media, whether the medium has taken over journalism and also, he suggested the ways editors could add value to journalism. Another interesting discourse in the session was on ‘robots in journalism’ which Justin Myers, news automation editor, The Associated Press (USA), explained how the technology could add value to journalism.

A discussion was held on what VR (Virtual Reality) could do in real to indulge in promotional activities of news media production houses.

Other inspiring sessions in the summit were on ‘Open Mobile Web’ addressed by Dushyant Khare, head-global partnership–Southeast Asia & India, Google (Singapore).

Day 2: On the second day at Worlds Editors Forum or Newsroom Summit, which was conducted as a session common with Crossmedia Advertising Summit, the discussion on ‘Audience Development’ drew up four speakers. Kaustuv Chatterjee, senior vice president-Brand Language & Mirror, Bennett Coleman & Co Ltd (India) recounted how Ei Samai, a Bengali language brand from the company, attained its success—through a case study. Came up next yet another success story, that too about a Bengali daily titled The Tale of Ebela, for which Supriyo Sinha, vice president, Anandabazar Patrika and Ebela, APB Group (India), presented a case study interpreting how the paper pulled young readers, both in print and digital platform.

Youth Ki Awaaz, a media platform for the youth, driven by a community model and a unique editorial style, was what its founder and editor-in-chief Anshul Tewari brought to the discussion table. The last speaker at the forum, Chelo Banal Formoso, editor-learning section, Philippines Daily Inquirer (Philippines), also shared the youth initiatives that her newspaper instigates to build the brand and attract young readers.

Crossmedia Advertising Summit

A line up of keynote speakers shared their opinions, experiences and strategies in the session on ‘Trends in Crossmedia Advertising.’ Ulbe Jelluma, marketing manager, Europe, Print Power (Belgium), talked about the balancing act of print and digital, not print vs digital. While, Jay Lauf, publisher and president, Quartz (USA) narrated about the newspaper’s advertising strategy. Third speaker in the summit, Ramanujan Pobbisetty, enterprise sales director, ComScore (India), revealed the fact and trends in the current print media market where mobile and online advertising occupied equal shares.

Dushyant Khare, head-global partnership–Southeast Asia & India, Google (Singapore) talked about effective use of open mobile web, followed by a discussion over the sensitive issue of ‘ad blocking’ conducted by Magdoom Mohamed. “Build up a strong brand to reach out to the masses,” echoed Vinay Maheshwari, senior VP-sales & market development and brand marketing, DB Corp Ltd (India).

Closing session

Closure of the conference was marked with a Common Closing Session in which a host of speakers talked about ‘Shaping the Future of News Publishing’.

South Asian Digital Media Awards

Jointly presented by Google, prestigious WAN-IFRA South Asian Digital Media Awards were designed in recognition of best practice innovation in digital publishing worldwide:

Best Website: www.manoramaonline.com (GOLD); www.ndtv.com (SILVER) and www.onmanorama.com, www.indianexpress.com, www.amarujala.com (BRONZE).

Best New Product: Gadgets 360, from Red Pixles Ventures (GOLD); News Beeps, from NDTV Convergence (SILVER); Vixty app, from NDTV Convergence (BRONZE).

Best New Mobile Service: News Republic App (GOLD); www.indianexpress.com (SILVER); The Quint (BRONZE).

Best Digital Advertising Campaign: The Quint – IAmShatterProof for Motorola (GOLD); NDTV Convergence – L’Oreal Paris Women of worth 2016 (SILVER)

Best Use of Online Video: The Quint – The Wild West of Utter Pradesh (GOLD); NDTV Convergence–Shiksha Ki Ore Campaign (SILVER); NDTV Convergence – L’Oreal Paris Women of worth 2016 (BRONZE).

Best Entertainment & Lifestyle Mobile Service: NDTV Convergence – Nirmal MyFit100Days (GOLD); Times Internet – Happytrips.com (SILVER)

Best Reader Engagement: The Quint (GOLD); The Hindu–sportstarlive.com–Ask Ashwin Contest (SILVER); The Hindu.com – Tamil Nadu Election Campaign 2016 (BRONZE)

Two new appointments at WAN-IFRA South Asia

At a meeting held on the sidelines of the conference, KN Shanth Kumar, editor of Kanada daily Prajavani and director of The Printers Mysore Lt (Bengaluru) was unanimously elected as new chairman of WAN-IFRA South Asia Committee. He takes over the position from K Balaji, director, Kasturi & Sons Ltd, who had recently stepped down. WAN-IFRA South Asia Committee was formed in September 2004, to help and guide the association in shaping its activities to serve the industry better.

Further, WAN-IFRA South Asia has appointed M Srinivasan as manager-sales & events. He will be responsible for events and expo services of WAN-IFRA in the region. Previously worked for Timesjobs.com as business development manager – sales, M Srinivasan replaces V Antony who left WAN-IFRA South Asia in March this year.

Asian Best-in-Print Awards

During the World Printers Forum, WAN-IFRA announced the Asian Best-in-Print Awards, in which some of the leading print media in the continent were honoured with the prestigious accolades. Some of the leading companies coffered with the exalted awards under the category ‘Best in Print–Circulation Below 150,000 Copies’ were: Lianhe Zaobao, Singapore Press Holdings Ltd, Singapore (GOLD); The National, United Printing and Publishing, Abu Dhabi (SILVER); Berita Harian, Singapore Press Holdings Ltd, Singapore (BRONZE). And the winners under the category ‘Best in Print–Circulation Above 150,000 Copies’ included: The Straits Times, Singapore Press Holdings Ltd, Singapore (GOLD); Apple Daily, Apple Daily Printing Ltd, Hong Kong (SILVER); and The Shizuoka Shimbun, The Shizuoka Shimbun, Japan (BRONZE).

Foyer Info-Booth Expo



The two-day conference also included an Info-Booth Expo, where a host of leading solution providers to the news publishing industry showcased their products and services. Of them, manroland India presented its competencies in various parameters of newspaper production, among which the showcase of sample newspapers printed and produced using Kodak Prosper digital press and manroland Foldline, a fully automated, multivariable pin-type folder. At the company’s booth, Lokmat signed agreement to invest in Grapho Metronic automatic registration and cut-off control system. Grapho Metronic is an integrated sub-company of manroland family. “The new system with 16 cameras will be mounted on our Orient presses; and we expect a new standard in our production following the adoption of this new system,” said Neeraj Mahajan, VP-technical, Lokmat Media Pvt Ltd.

Poddar Global, a leading supplier of international newsprint brands to all leading newspapers in India, showcased its premier products range. While, Manugraph presented competency of its ECOLINE web offset press of 30,000-50,000 cph.

ABB at its booth presented an alternative to the OEM—manroland PECOM, a press management system and control consoles. MWM Group, with its Indian partner Cadgraf, presented its range of products including: ReelTrack, an inventory system for efficient newsprint usage; CopyTrack for real time overview and control of all ongoing productions; cloud-based Production Planning for overview production resources, and others.

From ppi Media at the foyer expo was Content-X, a common editorial solution.While, 4C Plus, demonstrated its product and solution range comprising NRCS/Editorial System (NewsWrap Modules), Digital First Newsroom, Total Content, apps for Mobiles and Tablets, Digital, TV and Newspaper Fonts, Media Design Solutions and many others. Newstech showcased fully automatic cross strapping machines; ink pumping systems for auto-ink feed.

Ferag (Wrh Global India) showcased samples of newspapers produced using its newly introduced Fold n’ Stitch system. Kawal Arora, managing director, Wrl Global India (Ferag), said that they would present just a few innovations the company unpacked during the recent drupa 2016 at their booth. News Hub Media (NHM). Wellprint, and Trelleborg etc were also present at the show.

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