Dominated by the digital transformation

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Dr Hauke Berndt, managingd director, ppi Media
Dr Hauke Berndt, managingd director, ppi Media

Once again, international representatives of the publishing industry met at ppi Media’s Open Days in Kiel on 4 and 5 June 2018, to discuss current trends in the publishing industry. This year’s event was characterized by a range of dedicated presentations dealing with the topic of digitization and exploring what established publishing companies can learn from start-ups.

Many of the presentations focused on the question of how large- and medium-sized companies can meet the challenges posed by digitization through purposeful investments and by using start-up methods. Experienced and successful experts like Philipp Depiereux, founder and chief executive officer of digital consulting agency etventure, and business angel Alexander Eck, highlighted different aspects of this topic. CEO Jan Kasten and the two heads of ppi’s business innovation department, Corinna Coverly and Manuel Scheyda, also gave insights into the digitization processes at ppi Media itself, and shared success stories about new digital solutions which have been developed in cooperation with partners and customers over the last two years.

ppi solutions in action
Next to hearing about various topics surrounding the digital transformation, guests at ppi’s Open Days also had the opportunity to find out more about how some of ppi’s solutions are used in practice. For example, Katrin Hube and Nico Augustin spoke about the use of the new self-service ad portal AdSelf at the regional media house VRM (Allgemeine Zeitung, Darmstädter Echo, etc.). AdSelf is a completely new solution that has been developed in just nine months, followed by a successful go-live at the media house. The browser-based solution enables readers to conveniently book ads in the publications of a publisher, also using mobile devices if they prefer.

NA Mahamed Ismail
NA Mahamed Ismail

The editorial system Content-X also featured at the Open Days. The Indian journalist NA Mahamed Ismail outlined the successful introduction of Content-X at the large publishing house, The Printers Mysore. In the run-up to the ppi Days, two further media companies, including the Nürnberger Presse publishing house, had decided to use the editorial system by ppi Media and Digital Collections.

The presentations at ppi’s Open Days were followed by further workshops on solutions such as AdSelf and Content-X; they were attended by roughly a third of the participants who used them as a chance for intensive discussions.

Towards a successful future
“Despite the power failure at Hamburg Airport and the resulting delays and lengthy journeys for some attendants, we once again enjoyed two very inspirational days with interesting presentations and lively discussions about new business models and solutions.” According to Dr. Hauke Berndt, managing director and chief operating officer of ppi Media, the option to produce based on templates alone attracted great interest and led to an extremely well-attended workshop on Content-X. “For us, the ppi Open Days are always a very special event as it offers us unique opportunities for face-to-face conversations with our customers.” The ppi Open Days 2019 are expected to take place on 20-21 May 2019.

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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