Tapping into trends in the publishing industry 

IFRA World Publishing Expo 2018


Some of the most dominant trends publishers have been grappling with are also presenting the greatest opportunities to profit from disruption, says James Hewes, president and CEO of FIPP. His talk is scheduled at IFRA World Publishing Expo, which will take 09-11 Oct 2018 in Berlin. In his talk, he will focus on how publishers can use and roll-out these trends within their products and services.

Hewes as CEO has stepped up FIPP’s role as an advocate for responding to and taking advantage of the opportunities arising from a changing publishing world. “We cannot be a passive organisation, especially not in a disruptive industry. FIPP not only needs to maintain relevance but understand and reflect the biggest concerns of our members. Through collaboration we can respond and profit from change,” he says.

According to Hewes, the most important issue facing publishing businesses is managing talent and culture. “What publishers are contending with is how to attract and retain the most talented people in the face of competition from businesses that are perceived as being more attractive to work for, such as platforms and startups.”

While training and developing new skill sets for an ever changing and disruptive industry are at the centre of this challenge, matters relating to diversity of staff is becoming just as important. “When thinking about diversity both from an economic point of view and a moral point of view, a diverse workforce can help build new networks of talent, ideas and provides better solutions from a leadership point of view.”

FIPP’s collaboration with Facebook

Talking about social media platforms like Facebook, he says FIPP has stepped into the ring to bring clarity and engagement in what many might have perceived as an unassailable situation. “Publishers will never make the mistake (again) of relying on a single platform for content discovery and business opportunities.”

There is, in fact, an upside emerging from the troubles Facebook encountered recently, explains Hewes. “Facebook are now more open to dialogue than ever before. We have the opportunity to interact with them in a personal way. We need to take advantage of this. At FIPP we believe that only by having a sustained conversation as an industry will we be able to deliver change that will benefit all. Positive engagement has already taken place between Facebook and the FIPP Board to continue a regular dialogue.”

Many more trends are reshaping the future of publishing, says Hewes. These include how publishers are taking advantage of opportunities to increase subscriptions, monetise from reader revenues and become increasingly independent from advertising though e-commerce and events. Publishers have also embraced opportunities to profit from platforms, whether this be through video, voice or podcasts.

“Most positively, we have reached the era of embracing disruption.”

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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