Indian newspapers in an enviable position :WAN-IFRA India 2011

With print circulation continuing to rise, Indian newspapers are in an enviable position. But publishers on the subcontinent still need to innovate – be it in cross-media advertising, digital media, or print quality and efficiency.

That was the message that emerged from WAN-IFRA India 2011, where an abundance of ideas and best innovative practices was presented to more than 600 senior newspaper executives in Chennai this week. The conference consisted of newsroom, printing, and crossmedia advertising summits.

The conference was complemented by an expo, the second-largest international exhibition in the world for trends and practices in the newspaper printing and publishing industry. Sixty-five exhibitors occupied 4,000 square meters in the sold-out show in the Chennai Trade and Convention Centre. In addition to the conference attendees, more than 1,000 people from 21 countries visited the expo.

The event, the 19th annual in the series, was organised by the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) and co-sponsored by The Indian Newspaper Society.

Though Indian print circulation continues to grow, publishers were urged to learn from mistakes made elsewhere. “Transition from print-centric to a multi-platform operation is a game of balancing the decline in print and the growth in digital,” said Raju Narisetti, managing editor of the Washington Post,.

In terms of advertising, “it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place,” said Eamonn Byrne, Director of The Byrne Partnership Ltd., borrowing the words of Lewis Carroll and noting that newspapers are set to drop from second to third place in advertising share worldwide, behind television and the internet. The answer, said Byrne, is to offer crossmedia advertising opportunities – in a carefully planned manner, with extensive training for salespeople and without the tendency toward heavy rate discounting that occurs far too often.

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