INMA to continue Vail Roundtable as founder Tom Ratkovich retires

Tentative schedule for the next Roundtable – 19-21 August 2020

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The International News Media Association (INMA) will continue The Roundtable in Vail beginning in 2020, as founder and organizer Tom Ratkovich retires after hosting the ‘anti-conference’ the past 27 years. The announcement was made in August 2019 in Vail at The Roundtable presented by LEAP Media Solutions, of which Ratkovich recently stepped down as the president.

Founded in 1993, The Roundtable began as a publisher retreat to discuss database marketing, which was the focus of Ratkovich’s company at the time, ASTECH InterMedia. Over time, The Roundtable became focused on more strategic issues facing news media yet maintained its intimate, casual and eclectic nature for several generations.

Earl J Wilkinson, executive director and chief executive officer of INMA, reported to Vail Roundtable participants that it was a great honor to continue the event’s legacy. While INMA will continue The Roundtable in Vail, the Sonnenalp Hotel, the event’s precise focus in 2020 and beyond is being discussed by the association’s global Board of Directors.

“Tom has built The Roundtable into a news industry tradition that has served multiple generations of media executives. We want to build on those traditions of informality and people connections via golf, hiking and all of the communal aspects of Vail while finding a programming formula that builds on INMA membership and can guide the news industry in the years ahead,” Wilkinson said.

The Roundtable is typically capped at 60 participants to preserve an intimate atmosphere. Most attendees are senior executives at North American media companies. INMA will include more global participants in 2020, with the event tentatively scheduled for 19 to 21 August 2020.

“It has been a great privilege to host 1,500 media executives at The Roundtable through the years. From database marketing to transformation, we’ve helped guide our industry through its biggest transition. And we might have had some fun along the way,” Ratkovich said.

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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