INMA Master Classes in Delhi, Hyderabad focus on building blocks to digital subscription models

World’s foremost expert on digital subscriptions brought in for workshops


The International News Media Association (INMA) kickstarted the year 2019 of its South Asia Division with the INMA Master Classes – Road Map to Reader Revenue in India, twin city events hosted in Hyderabad on 26 February and Delhi-NCR on 27-28 February.

The INMA Master Classes were extremely relevant for South Asian publishers as INMA brought the world’s foremost expert on digital subscriptions Grzegorz Piechota to India for these practical workshops. Piechota is researcher-in-residence at INMA, senior fellow at the University of Oxford, and head of INMA’s Readers First Initiative.

The day-long workshops in Hyderabad and Delhi-NCR were structured along similar lines to each other:  to understand the building blocks necessary to get to a digital subscription model, the strategy behind it, and how to integrate that into businesses.

The Hyderabad Master Class hosted leading news publishers from the South India region, while the Delhi-NCR Master Class witnessed participating media houses from the North and East India regions along with attendees from other countries in the sub-continent. Both Master Classes had Piechota sharing best practices, benchmarks and pragmatic inputs with publishers, editors and technical heads on how to best prepare for the transition from a reader to a customer.

The Delhi-NCR Master Class was a two-part series and in addition to the full day Master Class on 28 February, comprised of a private interaction on 27 February between Piechota and CEOs and heads of media organizations, to provide a top-level overview of the digital subscription revolution worldwide.

Pawan Agarwal, vice president – South Asia Board, INMA and chairperson for the event,  commended the structure of the Master Class and the comprehensive expertise of  Grzegorz and also observed how “the detailed Q&A interaction and deep dive discussions around it not only exemplified the importance of the four sessions but also added value to the participants’ knowledge base.”

I Venkat, vice president of the INMA South Asia Division Board, presided over the Hyderabad event. Lauding the large turnout and overall quality of the Master Class and engaged participants, Venkat felt that the “extended interactions with Grzegorz would have greatly added to the institutional knowledge of all the participants’ organizations.  As INMA we were both happy to be able to share evidence-based advice and practical examples with members of the news media houses, and encouraged by the response.”

Madhavi Sekhri, head of INMA South Asia Division says, “It was our endeavor to enable attendees to derive maximum benefit from INMA’s vast body of information and studies on the worldwide shift to readers’ revenues. It was a positive first step of 2019 towards many more such events that INMA is planning to increase its footprint in South Asia.”

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.

It is the right time to support our high-impact reporting and authoritative and technical information with some of the best correspondents in the industry. Readers can power Indian Printer and Publisher’s balanced industry journalism and help sustain us by subscribing.

– Naresh Khanna

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