UDigital’s Arré India wins best lifestyle sports and entertainment award

WAN-Ifra’s Word Digital Media Awards 2019


Arré India won the best in lifestyle, sports, entertainment award at the World Digital Media Awards presented at the World Media Congress gala dinner in Glasgow in Scotland on 2nd June 2019. The new media organization produces narratives across text, web series, fiction and non-fiction video, as well as short viral videos and sketches. Its work was named best in lifestyle, sports, entertainment website or mobile service, while R.AGE Malaysia a regular winner at the WDM Awards was named best branded content project. The global competition was contested by the winners from WAN-Ifra’s regional digital media competitions.

Owned by Mumbai-based UDigital, a company promoted by Ronnie Screwala Arré India who is perhaps one of India’s most perceptive media investors. He has invested in almost every type of new media start-up in the past three decades and also managed to successfully exit from several. Screwala’s co-promoters include B Saikumar and Ajay Chacko both formerly senior executives in TV18. The initial funding was said to be around Rs. 150 crore and the site went live in January 2016.

Arré is an exclamatory Hindi word that could mean a number of things – what, stop, or come on! The promoters say that it is a reflection of the disruptive content and its business model includes branded content and in the case of some content subscriptions. It is definitely an interesting and modern mix rooted in traditional cultural and music forms. For revenues, apart from advertising and subscriptions, a number of new kinds of tie-ups with consumer brands and service suppliers are envisioned.

Content is sourced and developed from several channels – all outsourced. Books, videos, poetry, fiction, creative non-fiction, news features all come from professionals outside its own in-house team of about 25 persons. It has forged partnerships such as one with the Indian Express for producing investigative documentaries based on stories done by the daily’s staff. Reality shows are also a part of a dynamic menu envisioned by the founders and promoters.

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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Editor of Indian Printer and Publisher since 1979 and Packaging South Asia since 2007. Trained as an offset printer and IBM 360 computer programmer. Active in the movement to implement Indian scripts for computer-aided typesetting. Worked as a consultant and trainer to the Indian print and newspaper industry. Visiting faculty of IDC at IIT Powai in the 1990s. Also founder of IPP Services, Training and Research and has worked as its principal industry researcher since 1999. Author of book: Miracle of Indian Democracy.


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