Print-Digital Bhai-Bhai!

02 Nov,2012


By Ananya Saha


Print readership is declining the world over. And digital subscribers are rising. Does this mean that the digital medium would lead to closing down of print editions? Not according to the speakers and attendees at that The Digital Innovation Summit 2012 by INMA.


Yasmin Namini

While Newsweek made a smart move by announcing its move to the web-only space, the news print industry is taking it slow and steady. Yasmin Namini, Senior VP – Marketing and Circulation and GM, Reader Applications, The New York Times pointed out how NYT has been gaining readers with their innovative paid digital content, such as, repeated payment gateways screen and 10-articles-free-per-month-limit after which subscription is necessary. NT registered 56.6 lakh subscribers till Q3 of 2012. She said that NYT has been using cross-bundling approach to optimise profitability.


Mark Challinor

Mark Challinor, Director of Mobile Platforms, Telegraph Media Group,Londonwas upbeat about the usage of personal mobile devices and iPads. He said, “There are more iPhones sold in the world (4.6 seconds) than babies born in the world (4.2 seconds). This gives us a clear idea of the future. Today’s 2-5-year-olds learn to operate the iPhone and iPad much before they learn to tie shoelaces.” He supported the fact that remains important, and the future of newspapers depends on reinvention of news industry.


Indian newspapers too are smart enough to invest in their digital properties to receive huge dividends in the future. Earl J Wilkinson, Executive Director and CEO, INMA shared smart bets forIndia, “Make consumer pay more, now and create digital company outside your current company, in case the existing structures do not support digitalisation and be willing to cannibalize yourself.” He also cautioned against making digital an excuse to stop investing in print.



Vasant Gokhale, Head, Mobile Services, ABP Pvt Ltd shared the mobile strategy that his company had adapted for the non-resident Bengalis. With an aspiration to reach out to wider Bengali audience settled out of East of India, Ananda Bazaar Patrika started its paid digital content three months ago targeting only non-resident Bengalis. The standard service of $5 per month and exclusive packages were launched to create a subscriber base around Durga Puja. Mr Gokhale shared “We have been growing 30% month-on-month, without spending a penny on marketing. The growing base is the result of our unique Bengali content and offering.”


Bharat Gupta

Bharat Gupta, Executive President – Marketing, Jagran Prakashan Ltd said, “With our unique content mix, out Hindi website has been gaining more traffic. We find Facebook very helpful in engaging our users, targeting new demographic areas and making headlines of the print publication viral.” He added that the main focus for his publication on social media was “not to gather the ‘likes’ rather get spoken about on social media.” Puneet Gupt, VP and Head of shared how The Times of India digital story has seen growth thanks to engagement, rewards and response to consumer tastes.


Grzegorz Piechota

While Grzegorz Piechota, News Editor, Gazeta Wyborcza, Poland shared how the future of journalism and communities in digital age depends on campaigning and bringing the society together through causes; Marcelo Benez, Advertising Director of Folha de S Paulo, Brazil talked about where digital solution fit in the multi-media advertising mix. According to him, digital and print will co-exist in the future and help with the growth of each other. The group recently launched a magazine exclusively for Tablets, called Fohla 10 that can be consumed through various digital devices.



Pit Gottschalk

Mr Benez noted, “Of the total advertising pie in the country, television still claims the maximum share of 64.8%, newspaper follows with 11.7% and internet gets 5.2% of this ad pie.” Thus, to get maximum benefit, he advocated that a news company should be able to deliver their content on all platforms. He also said that the news company should engage advertisers not only through content but multi-platform special projects as well. Concurring with his thoughts, Pit Gottschalk, Director – Content Management, Axel Springer,Germany, said that news companies need to integrate digital as much as in their companies.


Talking about his brand, Bild, Mr Gottschalk said, “Our digitisation strategy focussed on our three strengths: content, classifieds and marketing. In 2004, we defined our core strategy and created portfolio of market leaders in various geographies corresponding with our core strengths.” He further added that Bild used the classic newspaper strategies to monetise, and “we have reach 47.49 million readers everyday from 12 million few years back.” Bild’s goal of generating 50% of all income digitally has been reached, according to Mr Gottschalk.


The one-day conference ended on high note with speakers agreeing coherently on the fact that opportunity to gain advertisers and readers will arise from print and digital integration. While it might be a long-term strategy for India given the fact that cover price of printed newspapers is so less but this is just the right time to get digital.


Imaging : Rafiq


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