Wan-Ifra Print Innovation Awards 2020

Indian news media groups bag 3 of 5 awards

Wan-Ifra Print Innovation Awards 2020

The Wan-Ifra Print Innovation Awards were awarded in a virtual ceremony at the World Printers Summit 2020 on October 29. The session was hosted by Ingi Rafn Olafsson, director, World Printers Forum, and began with Fernando de Yarza Lopez-Madrazo, president, Wan-Ifra. Lopez-Madrazo noted, “It is extremely important for an industry such as ours to innovate to reach more readers and to be more appealing to our advertisers.”

Wan-Ifra Print Innovation Awards 2020

Anu Ahola, senior vice president, News & Retail, UPM, the sponsors of this year’s Awards, said, “A lot of good ideas are floating around and some of the ideas have been developed in such a way that they can be considered to be innovations especially during the crisis times that Covid brought us. The focus of the innovations has been shifting from purely technical innovations in the core manufacturing processes in the Western world towards innovations covering the whole supply chain, including commercialization, sustainability, and even the ways of brokering with partners. In this year’s awards, it was particularly great to see how quickly our community came up with Covid-19 related innovations in printed newsprint.”

Ahola’s address was followed by a dedication to Boris Fuchs, who passed away on 13 October 2020 at the age of 87. Fuchs was the Ifra research director for many years and made a notable contribution to the newspaper industry.

The third edition of the Print Innovation Awards included five categories – advertising innovation, product innovation, products for young readers, special editions, and sustainability innovation. Spine card innovation for Mahindra Supro by Dainik Bhaskar, Bhopal, India, won the advertising innovation award. For the first time in the Indian print media industry – the innovation of a spine card advertisement was printed for automobile client Mahindra & Mahindra for the product launch of its Mahindra Supra Maxi truck.

Advertising Innovation category winner – Dainik Bhaskar

RD Bhatnagar, chief technology officer, Dainik Bhaskar, says, “One of our core values is being trendsetters, and we hold the record of giving the first perfumed newspaper to the world. This is a true tribute to the team that relentlessly worked to ensure that advertisers receive maximum response and value for their money.”

The product innovation award 2020 went to ‘Pour and Reveal’ by The Times of India, Mumbai, India. Pour & Reveal is a concept employed to educate students about blood group compatibility. The primary intent was to engage young readers to pour water and reveal compatible blood groups.

“This suggestion is an excellent idea for attracting young readers to newspapers. Publishing on a globally recognized day is wise. The playful implementation is very successful and fits the young target group perfectly. The idea thus offers both emotional and economic advantages,” observed a juror.

Product Innovation by The Times of India

Snehasis Roy, director – technical, Bennett Coleman, noted, “This is the third time in a row that we have got the award in the product innovation category from Wan-Ifra. We are very proud to say that we have printed 159 different innovations that we have launched, out of which we could monetize around 59 innovations so far, and our revenue was US$ 245 million (approximately Rs. 1,827 crore). It’s a very good journey that we have taken so far.”

The Wan-Ifra print innovation award for special editions went to ‘Forever Project’ by Stuff, Wellington, New Zealand. The Forever Project is a quarterly special edition focused on climate change and sustainability. The first edition of the Forever Project magazine was published on March 25, 2020 – just as New Zealand went into a nationwide alert level 4 lockdown for Covid-19. Despite the news cycle being consumed by Coronavirus, the magazine drew positive feedback from readers and other stakeholders.

“The Forever Project brought together journalists from all over Stuff’s newsroom and staff from all around our company to show climate change and sustainability – our priorities for the whole organization. We package New Zealand’s innovative and ambitious climate change reporting in a striking and carbon neutral magazine. We have turned this into an opportunity for advertising clients to reach on to conscious consumers and tell their own sustainability stories. It is a symbol of Stuff’s commitment to reducing its environmental impact through a science-based approach. Stuff’s mission as a media company is to make New Zealand a better place,” commented Patrick Crewdson, editor-in-chief, Stuff.

Børneavisen – the children’s very own newspaper, Børneavisen, Denmark won the ‘product for young readers’ recognition at Wan-Ifra Print Innovation Awards 2020. Børneavisen is a weekly print newspaper for children aged 9-12. All content is produced by Børneavisen’s editorial on the principle of constructive journalism and co-creation with children. The 24-page newspaper includes news from around the world and stories about animals, sports, food, social media, science, and politics.

A jury member praised its innovativeness, “This idea is extremely well-designed and executed. This allows our youth to evaluate news in their own country as well for worldwide news. The method used is lively and fun for the target group. Well done!” Another juror remarked, “In the time of fake news, it is extremely important to educate our younger generations about the importance of free and impartial media outlets.”

Malayala Manorama’s sustainability innovation

10 MW wind turbine project by Malayala Manorama, Kerala, India, won the Wan-Ifra sustainability innovation award 2020. Malayala Manorama installed and commissioned the wind turbine project at Palakkad in Kerala to promote green energy and meet its energy requirements. The average yearly production from the 10MW plant is 24 million units.

Shibu George, chief general manager, Malayala Manorama, explained, “Our press operations are 100% from renewable energy generated by captive wind turbine generators which were installed in 2018. Our annual consumption for 24 processes spread across Kerala is 24 million units, while the generation is around 26 million units. This helps us to reduce our carbon footprint a lot.”

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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