Innovative global ideas
discussed at Digital Media India 2017

At the Digital Media India 2017 held on February 23 and 24 in New Delhi, a spectrum of innovative ideas for effective audience engagement and revenue generation in the digital news media segment had been discussed and determined by a host of international and national speakers representing a string of renowned brands. SM Dutt, technical editor, All About Newspapers reports a brief account of the discourses at the two-day annual conference of WAN-IFRA.

The newspaper industry is now in a transition period in which digital has been playing a pivotal role for an overall forward move. Shedding a light on this new paradigm shift ushering in the news media world, the two-day conference of Digital Media India 2017 brought an array of innovations into discussion. Opening session of the sixth edition of the conference in India was marked with Magdoom Mohamed, MD, WAN-IFRA South Asia Pvt Ltd (India) in the chair and Michael Golden, vice chairman, The New York Times (USA) delivering a keynote address on Vision for The Future of the news media. In his speech, Michael narrated about the leading American newspaper’s ambitiously set future vision to garner digital revenue of US$ 800 million by 2020.

Getting a closer look at the World Digital Media Trends, Thomas Jacob, chief operating officer, WAN-IFRA (Germany) said the news media industry has switched to ‘seven dramatic’ changes—from print to online; from text and photo to multimedia storytelling; from desktop to mobile; from search to social media; from linear TV to streaming video on demand; from traditional ad sales to programmatic and native; from anonymous internet to identified internet—transforming the news landscape over the last six years.

After a short networking break, a subsequent session on Revenue Ideas–Advertising was unfolded with Ben Shaw, director-Global Advisory, WAN-IFRA (Germany), in the chair. A keynote speaker in the session, Kawaljit Singh Bedi, chief technology officer, NDTV Convergence (India), talked about Maximising Revenue From the User Base. He narrated that 20 percent of the total revenue at NDTV’s digital business has been accelerating at the rate above the industry average. He said it works well as their strategies for maximising revenue from their online and mobile platforms.

Delegates at Digital Media India 2017
‘Death of Display Advertisement in Digital Channel’ – how true is this statement in reality? On this, a case study from The Quint (India) was presented and Partho Ganguly, business head, The Quint (India) discoursed on their award-winning digital revenue initiatives. Maintaining the rhythm, a round-up of case studies from around the world in which revenues are generated from mobile was presented by Peter Lamb, president, Lamb Consulting (USA).

In the post launch session on the first day, topic of discussion was on Digital Subscription Strategies. Chaired by Dr Hauke Berndt, MD-customer projects, sales and marketing, ppi Media (Germany), the session witnessed a host of prolific speakers talking about the (digital) subscription strategies. Gunilla Asker, CEO of Svenska Dagbladet (Sweden), talked about the journey of digital transformation of the popular daily published from Stockholm. “Svenska Dagbladet started its digital transformation right from the year 2012 and we have devised a successful strategy to grow the (digital) business,” he explained, adding that they have adopted multi-channel strategy helping substantially to increase digital revenues and level out print circulation drop.

Adoption of new digital tools is the ultimate mantra to move ahead in the current transition phase of the news media industry. In this, Business Line, one of India’s leading business and financial newspapers from the publisher of The Hindu, started a unique strategy called BLoC to organise subscription drive for digital properties. Vijay Kamath, associate editor, Business Line (India), narrated the strategy behind the initiative and its results in the session.

Registration of delegates, networking breaks and
attentive audience at Digital Media India 2017.
In the follow-up, a session on New India Internet Wave perceived another prolific speaker, Rahul Kapoor, head – Large Partner Solutions, Google India, who talked about Google embracing new Indian internet wave and building products specific for India. He explained how it would work on local language search, lighter web pages, offline video and progressive web.

After a brief business networking break, the first day’s last session was chaired by Mohit Joshi, managing director of Havas Media Group (India). The session was about a panel discussion on Digital Wallet: Key to E-Commerce Expansion in India. Select panellists at the discussion included Anant Goenka, executive director, Havas Media Group (India) and Anil Kumar, founder & CEO, LocoVida Digital (India). The dou discussed about the way digital wallet is expanding in a big way in India, with more and more players taking into the loop. The panel discussion focused on how this trend has dramatically changed people’s spending behaviour, opening up new pathway to digital subscription for newspapers.

Second day

Opening of the second day of Digital Media India 2017 was dawned with a session on Engaging the Mobile Audience, chaired by Peter Lamb, president, Lamb Consulting (USA). In the session, a talk on the revolutionary VR technology impressed the audience. Santosh George Jacob, head-content, (India) explained about the amalgamation of the multimedia technology in dissemination of video news stories. The newspaper group has won the coveted ‘Best in News Website Award’ at the World Digital Media Awards 2016.

Anant Goenka and Anil Kumar
In the subsequent session titled Innovative Ways to Deliver Content for Mobile Audience, speaker Rajesh Priyadarshi, digital editor, BBC Hindi (India) talked about the ongoing transition taking from print to mobile channels directly, giving an insight of presenting news in an engaging way.

A networking break was followed by another key session on Mobile Journalism in which Mark Egan, former BBC video journalist & mobile video expert (UK) said, MoJo (Mobile Journalism) has been set to be an integral part of newsroom’s plans. His discourse in the session focused on the strategies to gear up to take up the trend. On this front, The Rise of Online Video contributes a lot. Talking in the session, Chin Hon Chua, associate editor–Today, Mediacorp Pte Ltd (Singapore), said the consumption of online video is on the rise, especially in the mobile medium. “Video contents of various genres, not just news, help publishers engage with audience on mobile,” he explained.

After the networking lunch break, the conference resumed with a new session ‘Distributed Content Platforms’ in which Ben Shaw, director, Global Advisory, WAN-IFRA (Germany) was in the chair. Opening the session, Ben talked about the Mobile First Approach to Distribute Content. He narrated whether media houses should do it directly or through social media channels and content aggregators.

Ben Shaw and Shantanu Bhanja
In the followed up session titled ‘How Instant Articles Drive Value for Readers and Publishers on Facebook?’ Varun Gupta, head- News and Influencer Partnerships, Facebook India, narrated some significant roles of social media platforms in instantaneous dissemination of news. Next in the line, Shantanu Bhanja, CEO, HT Digital Streams and chief digital officer, HT Media Group (India) explained how distributed contents affect media business in India. He unearthed some key challenges and opportunities in it.

Closing session of the two-day conference of Digital Media India 2017 came up with a key discussion on the ‘Digital Future’. Chaired by Thomas Jacob, chief operating officer, WAN-IFRA (Germany), the last session had two inspiring speakers—Anushree Goenka, director-operations, (India) and Park Chang Hee, chief operating officer, Joongang Ilbo (South Korea). Anushree, who talked about the topic Agile and Nimble Digital Natives, explained that digital natives do not shy away from testing different strategies.

In his take on the topic of discussion ‘Faster Internet—Seize Your Chance’, Park Chang Hee underlined his country’s (South Korea) fastest internet speed in the world, which helps people consume contents more than ordinary ways. He pointed out India could also attain the same as the country is now moving forward with faster internet speed, foreseeing a new impact in news media business.

Having been at the forefront of transformation in the news media industry, WAN-IFRA’s annual Digital Media India conference, which engages thousands of top level publishers, editors and digital executives, is designed to discuss trends and issues that matter today. This year too, the conference opened up a new horizon of innovative prospects ushering in the digital arena, signifying a bussiness expansion for all.


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