Asian news media enterprises embark on a five-month transformation program

WAN-IFRA Newsroom & Business Transformation 2020 program

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Grzegorz Piechota WAN-IFRA Media researcher and consultant image

Amid a Covid-19 pandemic that has crippled global economies and is threatening the future of the media industry, ten news media companies from six Asian cities are embarking on WAN-IFRA’s inaugural Newsroom and Business Transformation 2020 program. This first-of-its-kind program for Asian news organizations brings together one senior editorial and one senior commercial executive from each publisher for five months of training and coaching to equip them with the insights, know-how, and tools to execute a transformation strategy in their organizations. The curriculum covers journalism, operations, design thinking, organizational culture, and audience engagement.

The ten news media enterprises participating in the WAN-IFRA’s Newsroom and Business Transformation 2020 program include:

Bangkok Post

Bisnis Indonesia

Kompas Media Nusantara

Philippine Daily Inquirer

Sin Chew Media Corporation

Singapore Press Holdings

The Edge Communications Sdn Bhd

The Jakarta Post

The Manila BulletinUnited Daily News

“Our goal is to help Asian media companies become agile and responsive to the changing consumer needs in the digital age. With the close guidance and mentorship from experts, the program will accelerate the transformation process and equip the media companies with the skills needed to navigate the increasingly complex media landscape,” says Thomas Jacob, chief operating officer of WAN-IFRA.

Participants, whose job titles include chief operating officer, vice president of Convergence, general manager of Marketing, editor-in-chief, executive editor and deputy editor-in-chief, will now meet online every fortnight from June to October 2020 for lectures by the program leads, talks by guest speakers, group sharing and brainstorming sessions.

This WAN-IFRA program, which is made possible by the Facebook Journalism Project, was originally designed to begin in March 2020 and take place in four cities over six months. Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, WAN-IFRA has worked with the coaches to revise the program with the additional urgent needs of the news industry in mind: how to lead during the crisis, accelerate digital transformation, diversify revenue sources and adopt agile work methods.

“We recognize that news organizations are under pressure to transform and build thriving digital publishing businesses and this is even more complex with the additional challenges during Covid-19. We hope that through our partnership with WAN-IFRA, the Newsroom and Business Transformation Asia 2020 program will assist newsroom leaders with business transformation while continuing to produce important, meaningful journalism that serves and informs our region,” says Anjali Kapoor, director of News Partnerships, Facebook Asia Pacific.

Well-known media consultant and researcher Grzegorz Piechota and 28-year news veteran and former managing editor of The Times of London, George Brock, helm the program, while global digital creative business school Hyper Island will teach the Design Thinking modules.

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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