Magdoom Mohammed, managing Director WAN-IFRA South Asia, says he’s very bullish about the growth of print media business in the next 12 months in this interview in Campaign Asia.
Q: With an Indian at the helm of affairs at Wan-Ifra, the flavour of the year is India.
A: The challenges of the news publishing industry in India are very unique. On one side, the print business is thriving and on the other side, we find increasing consumption of news in other platforms, especially in digital. More and more youngsters are hooked to the digital media. The event has three parallel conference tracks to discuss these challenges — how print can extend its run, how editorial can take advantage of the changes brought in by the technology and how can we use crossmedia to increase our revenue.
Q: What are the special plans for the show?
A: We have a workshop dedicated to ‘Digital Media Business’ on 5 September. This workshop will address the strategies and best practises for monetising digital media.
Q: Are you bullish about the Indian newspaper and magazine segment? What is your assessment for the next 12 months?
A: Very bullish about the growth of print media business in the next 12 months. The recessionary condition of the last year is eased out and newspapers and magazine will see growth this year.
Q: Has print expenditure in media reached a plateau? Is that an issue Wan-Ifra will address?
A: If you are talking about advertising, print still commands about 46% of the overall advertisement pie. Instead of looking at this issue of growth of print advertisement revenue in isolation, the cross-media advertising summit of the conference will address strategies and best practises to increase the advertising revenue by combining the print and digital properties of the news publishing companies.
Q: Any research or survey that Wan Ifra in India is banking on to calculate ad-spend for print media?
A: At the moment, we are not doing any such survey. As the industry association, we are open to taking up such projects when the demand arises.
Q: It’s evident that Wan-Ifra is opening its gamut with India-centric presentations plus case-studies during the cross-media advertising summit? What is the rationale behind this move?
A: Though the media business in India is very print dominant, the publishers in India are doing some amazing work in expanding their reach and revenue using digital platforms. For example, Malayala Manorama won Wan-Ifra Crossmedia Awards last year for their project ‘Ente Nadu’ that engaged the local audience through multimedia platform. Similarly, Lokmat Newspapers won the Wan-Ifra Digital Media Awards for their multimedia campaign ‘The Lokmat Aurangabad Premier League’ that promoted local and budding cricketing talent and at the same time created a profitable business venture. We would like to encourage more of such initiatives and get them inspired to adopt cross-media in their business.
Q: Will media spenders attend the conference?
A: The conference will be attended by more than 300 executives from new publishing companies in India, South Asia, South East Asia and Middle East.
Q: How has the response to the expo been in terms of exhibitors?
A: The response to the expo is fantastic. It is already the second largest expo in the world on trends and practises in newspaper printing and publishing, next only to our IFRA Expo in Europe. We have more than 65 exhibitors participating in the expo in Chennai and total space of close to 4,000 sq/metres. We expect more than 2,000 visitors to the expo.
Q: Can you tell us the road map that has been chartered for Wan-Ifra India for the following year?
A: We see training as the major growth area and there will be demand for knowledge in digital media space. WAN-IFRA has the expertise to address these demands. We have also planned a couple of news events and they will be announced shortly. Another area for the next year will be launching projects to help improve the print quality levels of newspapers, starting with ICONS.
Q: Anything on the international horizon with Wan Ifra summits in other parts of the world + the INCQC members.
A: We are looking forward to the ‘World Newspaper Week’ programme between 10-15 October, Vienna, Austria. This week comprises of our IFRA Expo, 63rd World Newspaper Congress, 18th World Editors Forum and the Info Services Expo. www.worldnewspaperweek.org. We expect more than 10,000 visitors to the IFRA Expo and more 1,200 delegates to the Congress, making it the biggest event for the news publishing industry in the world.