INMA 2011: New Oxygen, New Growth

08 Nov,2011

By Tuhina Anand

Earl J Wilkinson, Executive Director and CEO, INMA spoke on New Oxygen, New Growth at the INMA-5th South Asia Annual Conference, titled ‘Roots and Wings – strengthening our core business and exploring new opportunities’. During his presentation, Wilkinson spoke about the transformation from being a newspaper to newsmedia which is where the opportunity for growth lies. The key is to identify the platform values of each medium be it newspaper, Smartphones  or tablets and use them accordingly.

Wilkinson said, “The consumer view of newspaper is changing today as they are accessing news from webs or apps. With the changing view there is also need of new skill sets for the new media including next generation data analysis and deep understanding of consumer behavior among other factors.” He pointed that culture change is the foundation for growth story line.

He listed three challenges that publishers are facing today- identify growth, how to remain relevant and manage complexity. He also listed the growth levers for news publishers which include operational efficiency, superior competitive strategy, best practices, sales excellence among others but what is relevant is that in this list culture change has moved up the ladder and become a key lever for growth.

On Culture Change, he underlined the importance of listening to the market, focus relentlessly on differentiators and prioritize expenditure while putting away the rest. Wilkinson said, “Culture change is the only path to growth and in the new ecology to succeed one needs to prioritise platforms and diversify revenue streams.”

He also talked about integration being the future and pointed how many print people are touching digital but not vice versa. He added, “While culture change is crucial to revenue, there is also a need to speak, understand and invest in readers and not indulge in one way conversation with them.”

Opening the session and giving an overview, Tariq Ansari, INMA South Asia President and MD, Mid-Day Multimedia Ltd said that the sessions over the two days will look at imparting pointers on ways of strengthening existing business , understanding verticals where investments can be made and at the same time think on new horizons and take their business forward.

I Venkat, Conference Moderator and Director, Eenadu talked about reinventing the print medium. He mentioned how print has undergone change with segmentation with introduction of city supplements and focusing on its target audience. He also highlighted the example of Filmfare and Femina which have enlarged their purview with awards and beauty competition. The newspapers are leaving no stone unturned to reach its TG by getting into festivals, awards, educations and job fairs too.

He also talked about localized newspaper where Eenadu has gone beyond city, district, zone to constituency. He concluded by saying that for a newspaper every column is an opportunity. He added, “The print advantage is that while you can zap an ad on television, same is not possible in print.”

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