Wan-Ifra invites applications for collaborative Web3 pilot project

Pilot project at Oxford Internet Institute to start in September 2022

Wan-Ifra Web3 applications for news media. Photo Wan-Ifra

As part of its Global Alliance for Media Innovation, Wan-Ifra is partnering on a new pilot project to assess how Web3 can be used to help build ongoing trust and develop new sources of revenue for news publishers and content producers. The pilot will be produced by David Tomchak, visiting policy fellow at the Oxford Internet Institute at the University of Oxford. 

A collaborative project bringing together local and international news publishers and technologists, the pilot will start in September 2022. It will test practical applications of decentralized technologies for the publishing industry. Wan-Ifra members interested in participating in the project are invited to contact Stephen Fozard, Project director Global Alliance for Media Innovation, at stephen.fozard@wan-ifra.org.

“We’ll consider a variety of things ranging from what a newsstand for metaverses might look like, to whether decentralized finance has a role in our future,” said Tomchak. “The overall aim is to develop a blueprint for how Web3 technologies could be used to help sustain the diverse, trusted, vibrant publishing ecosystem audiences demand and which underpin open and liberal societies,” explained Tomchak.

Web2 has become closely associated with centralized social networks and centralized database providers. Will the promise of decentralized applications implied in Web3 do a better job than the current set of principles of Web2? Will it improve the technologies and behaviors we’ve come to know as Web2? Will it result in a meaningful shift in power back to individuals and communities? Ultimately, will it improve the user experience and the web for all? These are some of the key questions that this pilot aims to help put into perspective.

Amongst other important trends in the industry, Web3 will be one of the many topics on the World News Media Congress program to be held in Zaragoza from 28 – 30 September 2022.

Stephen Fozard, Project Director, Global Alliance for Media Innovation (GAMI) concluded, “It isn’t easy to evaluate how big an innovation Web3 can be and under what conditions it will keep its promises. But these crucial questions cannot be overlooked by the international news publishing community, and it is critical that we understand, today, the implications of Web3 for publishers in the future.”

With its Global Alliance for Media Innovation (GAMI), Wan-Ifra provides its members with new ideas and applied research by bringing the outside in, looking beyond what is already known. GAMI tracks, sources, and shares these strategic resources to benefit technology entrepreneurs and news organizations. Our mission is to share the benefits and results of applied research and radical innovation efforts in the works with growth potential for the news media industry and to help advance those projects and innovations to the market.

David Tomchak is an award-winning journalist, editor and technology leader. He is a visiting policy fellow at the Oxford Internet Institute at the University of Oxford. He was previously head of Digital and Innovation with the New Statesman where he led efforts to bring together exceptional journalism with data-centric digital transformation and accelerate the title’s growth. Prior to his appointment at the New Statesman, David spent three years at the Evening Standard as Digital editor-in-chief leading all digital editorial content and journalism across platforms. David’s career started in application development in the financial sector before shifting to journalism where he has worked at a variety of publishers and broadcasters, including 10 years with the BBC.

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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