Wan-Ifra’s 3rd Indian Media Leaders eSummit 2022

Key message – content and trust important for growth


The third edition of Wan-Ifra’s Indian Media Leaders eSummit (IMLeS) is being held virtually from 28 to 30 June, with more than 250 news media executives from more than 40 organizations in attendance. The conference, themed ‘Ideas for news realities’ covers a range of news publishing topics, such as digital transformation, changing audience engagement trends, business innovation, newsroom leadership, and diversity and inclusion.

Day 1 of the conference started off with Stig Ørskov, CEO, JP/Politikens Hus, Denmark and vice president of Wan-Ifra, sharing insights on the recipe for growth of the news media business. He said, “It is really about the true value of content and how we monetize it. Publishers should take steps to build subscriptions wherever possible which consequently raises trust in media.”

The keynote was followed by a fireside chat between Raju Narisetti, leader, Publishing, McKinsey & Co., and Ritu Kapur, co-founder of The Quint, highlighting the trends and emerging opportunities in the news media business. Raju said publishers have to create a layer of experience that is unique to their brand on the stories they publish. This will create value and bring people back to their brands, and help publishers monetize the content. He also said contextual advertising is going to become a lot bigger and publishers have to think about it.

The post-pandemic world has seen a rebound of advertising and stabilising circulation. However, macroeconomic developments such as inflation and newsprint prices are impacting the news business. How do South Asian CEOs respond to these developments?

The first day closed with a panel discussion between Dhruba Mukherjee (CEO, ABP), Dr Bhaskar Das (director, Unica Token), Sarmad Ali (managing director, Jang Media Group), and Rajeev Beotra (executive director, HT Media), moderated by Pradyuman Maheshwari, senior editor & media commentator. The speakers agreed that to be successful in the future, media companies have to pivot to the business of content (not restricted to format) and change their business model.

Earlier in the session, Mohit Jain, executive president of Bennett, Coleman, board member of Wan-Ifra and president of the Indian Newspaper Society, opened the summit and shared his optimism for news media and newspaper business in particular. “Till the time the curiosity in human nature will survive or remain, content will never get out of fashion,” he said.

Day 2 addressing challenges within the newsroom

Day 2 of IMLeS started off with Singapore Press Holdings’ Gaurav Sachdeva sharing how the brand’s audience helped it create products to meet real needs and expectations. He mentioned the product development process is a combination of technology, viability of business and empathy for people. All three to be addressed equally to be successful.

The second day of the conference also played host to a panel of eminent journalists including Kunal Pradhan (managing editor, Hindustan Times), Harsha Mathew (chief resident editor & director, Malayala Manorama), Debarati Guha, director of Asia Programmes, Duetsche Welle and Parikshit Bhardwaj (GM and head – Content & Strategy, Jagran New Media). The panel discussed the challenges of working in and running a post-pandemic newsroom.

They shared how news content and format changed because of the pandemic, making way for data-researched and video stories. Post pandemic, it has strengthened the belief of newsrooms on the choice of stories, focus on the more relevant ones and making the newsrooms more efficient.

The day closed with a session on the business case to build a diverse and inclusive newsroom and diversity practices at German broadcaster Deutsche Welle by its editor Akansha Saxena.

The conference continues till 30 June and includes a session by Google News Initiative on sustainable growth pillars and news consumer insights. It will also see a session on changing consumer and advertisers needs at DB Corp. The closing session will have Schibsted’s Tor Jacobsen talking about digital subscriptions and the brand’s overall revenue strategy.

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital 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.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

It is the right time to support our high-impact reporting and authoritative and technical information with some of the best correspondents in the industry. Readers can power Indian Printer and Publisher’s balanced industry journalism and help sustain us by subscribing.

– Naresh Khanna

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