DD Purkayastha to leave ABP

Dhruba Mukherjee to be CEO of ABP from 1 April 2021

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IFRA World Publishing Expo|DD Purkayastha to leave ABP
DD Purkayastha, managing director and chief executive officer of ABP Pvt. Ltd

Dipankar Das Purkayastha has decided to step down as the CEO and managing director of ABP – the Ananda Bazaar Patrika newspaper, magazine, and electronic media publishing group. Purkayastha has been associated with ABP Pvt Ltd for four decades and was appointed as CEO in August 2019.

The company, commenting on Purkayastha’s decision to move on, said, “We take this opportunity to record our appreciation for the services he has rendered to the company. He is a visionary and a legend in our pantheon. He has made the company ready to meet the challenges of the future.”

Dhruba Mukherjee named as CEO of ABP from 1 April 2021
Dhruba Mukherjee named as CEO of ABP from 1 April 2021

Purkayastha, who is in his seventies, will be succeeded as CEO on 1 April 2021 by the deputy chief executive officer of the group, Dhruba Mukherjee. Anandabazar was first launched in 1876 in Jessore (now in Bangladesh) by Sisir Kumar Ghose and Tusharkanti Ghose, who left it to subsequently launch Amrita Bazar Patrika. The ABP group that the Sircar family owns was re-established in 1922 by Suresh Chandra Majumdar and editor Prafulla Kumar Sarkar with Ananda Bazar Patrika’s relaunch as a Bengali daily on 22 March 1922. The group’s publications have generally been at the forefront of Bengali culture and society, including the independence movement.

Editor Emeritus Aveek Sarkar is currently the vice-chairman of the Ananda Bazar Group of Publications and was elected chairman of Press Trust of India, the country’s leading news agency, in August 2020. The Indian newspaper industry that has hitherto been owner-managed is now increasingly professionalizing, and the ABP group plays an essential role in this trend.

As an industry insider put it on hearing the news of the CEO succession at the ABP yesterday, “The industry has to modernize and face the digital realities, and this process requires both professionalization and stability. It is a challenging transition for the leading news publishing group promoters who find it difficult not to interfere in day-to-day affairs of their newspapers.”

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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