WAN-IFRA India conference is back to Chennai after a gap of 6 years

WAN-IFRA India conference is back to Chennai after a gap of 6 years

WAN-IFRA India 2017 on 12-14 September in Chennai will discuss the trend in the news media industry and how the future is unfolding and will try to offer a balanced view of these issues. The event will be back to Chennai after six years.

Technology has helped in increasing the consumption volume of news through print or digital. While publishers attempt to harness the advantage of platform publishing, it has also posed the challenges of credibility of news, quality of journalism, etc. Fact checking and rechecking that was part of classic journalism has taken a back seat. News publishers are now responding to this challenge with initiatives to protect the credibility of the news they present.

WAN-IFRA India 2017 will have for the first time World Editors Forum (WEF) South Asia Summit. There will be two parallel conference tracks: a) World Editors Forum South Asia Summit for editors and publishers and b) World Printers Forum Conference for newspaper production managers. The event will also feature learning workshops on investigative journalism and business models for print production on 12 September. Google Newslab session, breakfast session sponsored by CCI and breakout session sponsored by Facebook will attempt to add more value to the program and are available for publishers on pre-registration basis.

World Editors Forum track
The first day of the conference, 13 September, the World Editors Forum track, will see keynote address on the topic ‘News media organisations and the sustainable future’ by David Callaway, chief executive officer, The Street Inc., USA. A panel discussion on ‘Future of news media business’ will follow Callaway’s address.

After the opening session, in the first session, Mukund Padmanabhan, editor, The Hindu will talk about how The Hindu increased the cover price of the newspaper in Chennai and still maintain its hold over readers.

Raj Chengappa, group editorial director, India Today Group, will speak on the topic ‘Reimagining India’s No. 1 news magazine’ while Sitaram Shankar, managing editor, Network 18 will argue that the classic journalism in the digital world is not dead. A breakout session sponsored by Facebook will close the first session.

In the second session, Shadi Rahimi of Al Jazeera will speak on social media reach and fake news; Michael Schmidt, media consultant, South Africa will highlight the importance of field reporting and archival research; and Unni Balakrishnan, chief of news, Mathrubhumi TV will explore the topic of news credibility in the digital age.

2023 promises an interesting ride for print in India

Indian Printer and Publisher founded in 1979 is the oldest B2B trade publication in the multi-platform and multi-channel IPPGroup. While the print and packaging industries have been resilient in the past 33 months since the pandemic lockdown of 25 March 2020, the commercial printing and newspaper industries have yet to recover their pre-Covid trajectory.

The fragmented commercial printing industry faces substantial challenges as does the newspaper industry. While digital short-run printing and the signage industry seem to be recovering a bit faster, ultimately their growth will also be moderated by the progress of the overall economy. On the other hand book printing exports are doing well but they too face several supply-chain and logistics challenges.

The price of publication papers including newsprint has been high in the past year while availability is diminished by several mills shutting down their publication paper and newsprint machines in the past four years. Indian paper mills are also exporting many types of paper and have raised prices for Indian printers. To some extent, this has helped in the recovery of the digital printing industry with its on-demand short-run and low-wastage paradigm.

Ultimately digital print and other digital channels will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future. For instance, there is no alternative to a rise in textbook consumption but this segment will only reach normality in the next financial year beginning on 1 April 2023.

Thus while the new normal is a moving target and many commercial printers look to diversification, we believe that our target audiences may shift and change. Like them, we will also have to adapt with agility to keep up with their business and technical information needs.

Our 2023 media kit is ready, and it is the right time to take stock and reconnect with your potential markets and customers. Print is the glue for the growth of liberal education, new industry, and an emerging economy. We seek your participation in what promises to be an interesting ride.

– Naresh Khanna

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