NBF launches Digital News Federation

Attempt to protect the interest of online news platforms

The federation had established a sub-committee to address the challenges faced by the digital arms of TV news broadcasters. Photo Unsplash

The News Broadcasters Federation (NBF), an industry association for news television broadcasters, on 2 January 2023 announced the launch of the Digital News Federation (DNF) that will endeavor to protect the editorial freedom and commercial interests of online news platforms.

According to a press statement, the federation had established a sub-committee to address the challenges faced by the digital arms of TV news broadcasters. Keeping in mind the industry’s needs and issues, NBF broadened the scope of the subcommittee and decided to include independent digital news publishers as well as their members.

The DNF is a joint venture between NBF and Webnyay, an ecosystem for grievance redressal and online dispute resolution.

The federation said that as there has been a paradigm shift in news media consumption, DNF aims to represent the collective interests of digital news publishers. The goal of DNF is to create transparent, dynamic, and ethical self-regulated journalistic standards for the industry, NBF said.

Sreekandan Nair of 24News said news platforms in India now have complete freedom to operate without engaging in unethical misinformation, dissemination or cyberbullying. “Digital news platforms, like broadcast news networks, must exercise self-control.”

The changes in the news and media landscape have been dramatic in the last decade. All print and broadcast news outlets have adapted to it. To play a constructive role in this evolution NBF has launched DNF at the right time and moment for the news industry,” said Jagi Panda, managing director of Odisha Television.

Sanjive Narain, founder of the Guwahati-based Prag News said the launch of DNF will give the much-needed impetus to digital news platforms across the country, which have seen a surge in readership and viewership in the last two years.

The founder of iTV Network, Kartikeya Sharma, said DNF will benefit digital news publishers while Barun Das, MD, CEO of TV9 Network and vice-president of DNF, said it is an excellent time to consider broadcast and digital as two convergent perspectives that foster the creation, distribution, and monetization of news.

The inclusion of digital news publishers is required to enable a new all-encompassing identity – Digital News Federation (DNF). Digital news publishers have yet to receive their fair share of the revenue. DNF will work toward this goal by initiating dialogues with all stakeholders on behalf of its members,” Das said.

DNF has nearly 100 online platforms, with a combined audience of more than 200 million, both independent and as extensions and digital arms of NBF member TV channels. The decision to launch DNF was made at a meeting of the NBF Governing Board, which was presided over by founding president Arnab Goswami.

The launch of DNF is significant because the reach of online news consumption is expected to reach 750 million by 2025, according to EY estimates. The reach was 467 million in 2021, according to Comscore.

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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