With the recent turmoil in Bangkok triggering travel restrictions to there by many countries, and taking into account the economic crisis, IFRA has decided to combine Publish Asia, its top Asian event, and the highly successful annual conference in India into one event for 2009 .
Publish Asia was scheduled for Bangkok in May, while the IFRA India annual conference and Expo was to be held in Hyderabad in September. Chennai, previously known as Madras, has now been chosen as the venue for the combined event as it is more easily accessible for international delegates. The combined event will be held from 23 to 25 September 2009 at the Chennai Trade and Convention Centre.
Under the theme ‘Creating Value in Challenging Times’, there will be a CEO Conference for senior decision-makers and a Production Conference focusing on cost reductions, revenue generation and innovation. In addition, there will be specialised learning workshops on circulation, advertising, cost control in printing plants, mobile publishing and monetising online readership. The conference and learning workshops will be held together with IFRA Expo India, which in its second edition has become the second largest newspaper trade show in the world after the IFRA Expo in Europe.
Commenting on this latest development, Thomas Jacob, IFRA Deputy CEO and Managing Director for Greater Asia Pacific, said: ‘With the economic crisis in the background, we believe that combining the resources and bringing out one world-class event will benefit our stakeholders, the newspapers and the suppliers active in Asia, Middle East and the Indian subcontinent.’
Chennai will also host the 8th IFRA Asia Media Awards Gala Dinner on 24 September. The awards ceremony at the gala dinner honours the best among newspapers and magazines in colour printing, design, information graphics, photography, special supplements, online publishing and use of cross-media for editorial and advertising offerings.
Pichai Chuensuksawadi, Editor in Chief of the Bangkok Post and Chairman of IFRA Asia Pacific Committee, welcomed the decision as inevitable and in the best interests of IFRA members. K. Balaji, Director of The Hindu and the Chairman of IFRA South Asian Committee, felt that in view of the severe recession being experienced by the publishing industry, a combined event focusing on current issues is a very wise move which is sure to find acceptance in the publishing industry.
According to Magdoom Mohammed, Managing Director of IFRA India, ‘Informal discussions with the exhibitors and others already committed to participate in IFRA Expo India, indicate that the idea of a combined event is most welcome given the cost savings and the added exposure.’
Echoing the sentiments of the supply industry, Peter Kirwan, Vice President Asia Pacific Sales, Goss Graphics, said: “Under the present circumstances, such a move makes perfect sense. The merger of the two events for 2009 will allow IFRA and the suppliers to the newspaper industry to deliver a focused event. The larger Expo will be an added attraction for all Asian newspaper production executives who planned to attend Publish Asia 09’s Production conference. Goss fully supports the move and is glad to be in a position to play an active role in this combined event.”