INMA Report – News Media’s Pandemic Leadership Opportunities

INMA – Covid management opportunities for media – digital, data, culture

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News Media's Pandemic Leadership Opportunities Screenshot INMA
News Media's Pandemic Leadership Opportunities Screenshot INMA

A new INMA report spells out Covid management opportunities for media: digital, data, culture. It says the Covid-19 crisis has provided the management opportunity of a generation to accelerate a digital- and data-led growth strategy that was otherwise mired in cultural crosswinds.

The report released on 14 August 2020 by the International News Media Association (INMA), says, ‘News Media’s Pandemic Leadership Opportunities’ is a CEO-level look at how news publishers should navigate through today’s pandemic environment. The report covers – Accelerating change through the chaos; What areas of the company to accelerate; Broader opportunities for a post-pandemic future; and, How publishers are embracing their change opportunities.

The report draws on the management expertise of author and consultant Lucy Küng of the Reuters Institute at Oxford University, INMA CEO Earl J. Wilkinson, Boston Consulting Group’s Neal Zuckerman, futurist Ross Dawson, and the experiences of Africa Community Media, El Espectador, Infoglobo, Schibsted, South China Morning Post, and USA Today Network.

Together, the report identifies the strategic opportunities for media companies during the pandemic:
Accelerating transformation paths.
Permanently unfreezing cultures to promote speed and data-based decision-making.
Prioritising digital, data, and subscriptions above all else.
Making internal organisational changes to support the ‘new normal.’
Elevating product, data, and HR to the management table.
Infusing lower- and middle-level managers with leadership training.

‘News Media’s Pandemic Leadership Opportunities’ is based on extensive interviews and coverage surrounding the recent INMA Virtual World Congress. The report looks at how Covid-19 has opened the door for profound change at media companies and what priority initiatives should be. Examples are monetizing trust, focusing on subscriber retention, tying community outreach to business objectives, and accelerating a first-party data strategy. The report also bluntly asks what media companies will look like in their rear-view mirrors on 1 January 2021.

Beyond media, the report examines societal trends like remote work, expanding governments, changing industry, and polarised societies. How to reinvent and fuse news brands to relevance are also covered.

The International News Media Association (INMA) is a global community of market-leading news media companies reinventing how they engage audiences and grow revenue in a multi-platform environment. The INMA community consists of nearly 15,000 members at 850 media companies in 70 countries. Celebrating its 90th anniversary, INMA is a news media industry ideas-sharing network with members connected via conferences, reports, Webinars, virtual meetings, and an unparalleled archive of best practices.

The report is free for members and costs US$ 795.

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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