ppi Media looks at smaller newspapers and vernacular dailies in India

Self service advertising systems at VRM Anna.
Self service advertising systems at VRM Anna.

A recent discussion with Dr Thomas Müller-Lupp and Hemant Kumar of ppi Media in Delhi brought to light the company’s focus on the Indian market. The Hamburg-based publishing, advertising and production software supplier already has nine newspaper customers in India. Müller-Lupp and Kumar also made us aware that ppi has recently installed its new self-service ad booking system at a German media group. The new B2B and B2C ad portal is called AdSelf and integrates easily with newspapers that are already using SAP-MIS Media solutions.

While ppi Media’s first users in India in 2002 were the big English dailies, the company now has nine users for its production suite. It also has one large user that uses its systems for both ad production and page planning. The systems integrated with the ERP and MIS systems are very reliable. As Dr. Müller-Lupp says about the ad booking and page planning system, “If an ad is booked it will be printed, and if it’s printed it will be billed.”

Nevertheless, the company is now looking to offer more its front-end solutions and also aiming at the smaller Indian newspaper groups, particularly the vernacular dailies. Last summer it installed a complete solution for The Printers Mysore Group that publishes the Deccan Herald in English and Prajavani in Kannada, which are dailies in addition to other periodicals.

Apart from the back-end production functions, the Deccan Herald-Prajavani installation that has been in place for the past 11 months includes ppi’s Content X editorial system for both print and multichannel broadcast. A key feature of this system is that editors can work on page on the Content X web browser itself, obviating the need for multiple copies of InDesign in the editorial newsroom. Since ppi Media is so well known for its back-end systems, the challenge Müller-Lupp says is “to make our customers aware that we provide a single content hub for full multi-channel editorial systems as well.”

The ppi Media team for India — Hemant Kumar and Dr. Thomas Müller-Lupp
The ppi Media team for India — Hemant Kumar and Dr. Thomas Müller-Lupp

New self-service ad portal AdSelf goes live at VRM
The German regional media house VRM, based in Mainz and publisher of several publications including the Allgemeine Zeitung and Darmstädter Echo, is the first media company to use ppi Media’s new self-service ad portal called AdSelf. Developed in close cooperation with the company, for its service VRM Anna, the browser-based solution offers end-customers and readers a convenient way to book ads in the publishing group’s publications, also allowing them to use mobile devices.

AdSelf is a new self-service portal for ads that is particularly suitable for publishers who work with the SAP IS-M/AM commercial ad booking system. While this itself is a large number, other ad booking systems can also be integrated if required.

Optimized for B2B and B2C
The HTML5-based portal is responsive – meaning that it is also suitable to be used on mobile devices. Templates are easy to handle and the solution’s GUI design by an experienced interface designer ensures that using the portal will be particularly simple for end users. AdSelf can be used both by private customers and by professional users at service partners, who realize their customers’ orders via the portal.

Thanks to compatible templates, the solution also offers upselling options by suggesting alternative ad presentations. This way, end customers are able to book their individually designed ads quickly and easily in different categories – from the classified ad to the family ad. AdSelf also includes a function to have the booked ads checked by the publisher’s back office.

NA Mahamed Ismail sharing his experiences at the ppi Open Day in Kiel. Deccan Herald and Prajavani dailies have been using ppi’s Content X editorial systems for the past 11 months.
NA Mahamed Ismail sharing his experiences at the ppi Open Day in Kiel. Deccan Herald and Prajavani dailies have been using ppi’s Content X editorial systems for the past 11 months.

Open interfaces
ppi Media’s service is based on an open architecture, meaning that not only the ad booking system but also a publisher’s user administration and their payment solution can be integrated with great ease. AdSelf is a white label solution, which means that it can be integrated perfectly into a company’s corporate identity. AdSelf was developed in cooperation with the VRM and the portal has now gone live on www.vrm-anna.de: “We are delighted to be able to offer our customers and readers a new, innovative ad portal; the development phase in cooperation with ppi Media was extremely successful. The portal has only been live for four weeks and we can already see a tendency for increased revenue,” says Katrin Hube, head of Central Services at the VRM Media Sales GmbH.

The VRM group reaches more than one million readers and has a circulation of more than 320,000 copies. Its dailies in the Rhine-Main area include the Allgemeine Zeitung, the Wiesbadener Kurier and the Darmstädter Echo, while the Wetzlarer Neue Zeitung and the Gießener Anzeiger are among their publications in the middle Hessian newspaper market. In contact with almost 2 million unique users across the company and reaching roughly half a million social media users, the company has one of the widest-reaching networks of all regional media houses in Germany.

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital 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.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

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– Naresh Khanna

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