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IMLeS 2021: Future-proofing our journalism, need of the hour

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IMLeS 2021: Future-proofing our journalism, need of the hour

2021-06-30. The second edition of WAN-IFRA’s Indian Media Leaders eSummit (IMLeS) is being held virtually from 28 to 30 June, with close to 250 news media executives from more than 35 organisations in attendance.

The conference, themed ‘Ideas for post-pandemic future,’ covered a gamut of news publishing topics, such as business transformation, sustainable business models and revenue ideas, newsroom leadership, diversity and inclusion, and innovation.

Day 1 of the conference kicked off with a deep dive presented by Dean Roper, Director of Insights and Editor-in-Chief of WAN-IFRA, into WAN-IFRA’s World Press Trends and Outlook 2020-2021, a survey report across 51 countries, which talks about the challenging year publishers faced in 2020 and where the industry is headed in 2021 and beyond.

Global figures tell one story, but they don’t always describe the experiences of individual publishers in different markets. For this survey, WAN-IFRA relied on its historical WPT data for key performance indicators (revenue, circulation and ad spend), and worked with PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and Zenith. You can download the report here.

The survey analysis was followed by a panel discussion on future proofing the news media business, where executives from The Hindu, Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd and Malayala Manorama delved into how they have been navigating the economic effects of the paNdemic on journalism.

“News media business is future-proofed as long as we are able to satisfy the human curiosity to know more about life. While content is free, journalism is not”, said Mohit Jain, Executive Director – Supply Chain of Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd. “If we follow the three tenets of thoroughness, accuracy and fairness in our reporting, our readers will find it interesting.”

“While legacy media houses have the advantage of being established businesses, they also need to quickly adapt to technology and the news demands of young audiences. Our future is dependent on aggressively changing market trends with digital subscriptions,” said Navaneeth L, CEO, The Hindu.

The Hindu CEO was of the opinion that if we have to future-proof our business, we need to look at efficiency, scale, engagement and loyalty. “Indian media could do a lot more with imagination, creativity and communicating with readers. We also need significant cultural changes.”

On the subject of advertising revenues been hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and Indians being ready for subscriptions, Jayant Mammen Mathew, Executive Editor & Director, Malayala Manorama, said, “A traditional newspaper has always had Classifieds for additional revenue, but we’ve seen that migrate to digital. Ad revenue alone is not enough for the business to survive. Paywalls are the way to go.” Mathew also made a call out for local news to be saved from misinformation and fake news.

The first day closed with a session by Dmitry Shishkin (Digital transformation, content strategy and innovation consultant, WEF Board Member, UK) on digital transformation and the strategies required to put audience needs first.

Global subscription learnings and audience engagement

Day 2 of IMLeS will feature a session by Google News Initiative on global subscription learnings, which included a deep dive into user insights, the importance of having a strong data foundation strategy and learnings from GNI Subscription Labs with publishers such as The Hindu. Audience engagement, diversity and inclusion, and digital transformation will be on the programme of the day.

Day 2 will play host to a panel of eminent journalists such as Barkha Dutt (Founder-Editor, Mojo Story), Rohini Mohan (Independent journalist), Yagna Balaji (Founder-Editor, DT Next) and Ritu Kapur (Co-Founder & CEO, Quintillion Media, India), who will speak about the impact of the pandemic on women in news.

The plan to phase out third-party cookies and replace them with new privacy-preserving mechanisms will mean that publishers need to reimagine audience growth strategies and reader revenue models. Investing in building direct, trusted, first-party relationships with the audience has become the key to success. The conference continues tomorrow (30 June) and will host a sponsored session by Piano on the winning tactics India’s Jagran New Media has put in place to create a resilient future for itself.

The conference will end with a sneak peek into the innovations at NYT, shutting down segments of third-party data since the beginning of 2021, and using first-party data instead that helped the New York Times offer a superior product to its audience and build better relationships with them.

About the Indian Media Leaders eSummit

The IMLeS2021 is sponsored by Facebook Journalism Project, Google News Initiative, Piano and ppi. It is supported by Asian News Media Focus, gxpress.net, Indian Printer and Publisher and RIND Survey.

The complete details of the programme are available at https://events.wan-ifra.org/events/indian-media-leaders-esummit-2021/programme

More information from the conference can be found on Twitter with the hashtag #IMLeS. For a calendar of upcoming WAN-IFRA events, please visit events.wan-ifra.org.

Contact and Inquiries

Please contact: Magdoom Mohamed, Managing Director, WAN-IFRA South Asia, Chennai, India (magdoom.mohamed@wan-ifra.org) (or) Suresh Babu, Asst. Manager – Business Development, WAN-IFRA South Asia, Chennai, India (sureshbabu.kr@wan-ifra.org)

Source – https://wan-ifra.org/2021/06/imles-2021-future-proofing-our-journalism-need-of-the-hour/

Written by – Neha Gupta

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