Digital Media India to discuss issues relating to challenges of digital technology to print media

NEW DELHI: Mediapersons from various parts of the world are converging on Chennai to attend the Digital Media India 2014 Conference next month.

The meet is being held on 5 and 6 February and has been organised by WAN-IFRA in Asia Pacific, Europe, Latin America and India. 

It will address various issues relating to the growth of the internet ad, its impact on newspaper publishers, leveraging content and technology sharing experiences, social and mobile, digital revenues, models and metrics, content monetisation, audience engagement, and opportunities and threats: copyright issues, owning the data, digital brand protection.

The advent of internet has paved the way for newspaper publishers to develop into news publishers. The seismic shift brought in by the digital technology presented new opportunities.

Internet subscribers in India are expected to surpass 380 million by 2017. Though this is still a long-way to go to reach all 1.27 billion people but it is clear that the Indian Internet market is growing at a pace of 22 per cent year on year in unique visitor terms and is now at 80 million unique visitors as of the end of September 2013 (ComScore Media Metrix).

The total number of active wireless subscribers in India grew 5 per cent over the last year to reach 731.4 million in July 2013, while broadband subscription grew 4 per cent in the last one year to reach 15.24 million at the end of July 2013 (according to a Telecom Regulatory Authority of India report). Around 79 million mobile subscribers have access to the Internet on their mobile phone (as reported by IMRB I-Cube 2012 report).

If predictions are true that more digital advertising will be purchased through automated exchanges at a lower price point, then higher traffic volumes are required to maintain or increase online revenues. To increase traffic on websites, more content is required but with limited newsroom staff, who has to maintain the daily print rhythm too. 

Indian language dailies are in the forefront to deliver a 'digital-first strategy' for building a digital business in the long term. Limited reach of the Internet, incompatibility with regional languages and fewer audiences that kept vernacular Indian dailies from making the most out of digital are now becoming a thing of the past. 

Innovative use of technology, diversity and more pictorial in content, more tabloid in look and feel, breaking news, pushing up trending stories, add-on applications such as classifieds real estate, online shopping, travel etc., have given a greater emphasis of digital content. With page views in crores and unique visits in millions for the news sites of Indian language dailies, the success story has been marked. 

‘Journalism in the age of digital surveillance’ is one of the discussions lined up for 5 February, and speakers will include Anant Goenka, head of New Media in the Indian Express Group; Hindustan Times Executive Rajesh Mahapatra, Adobe India Creative Consultant Rajesh Patil; America’s OPUBCO Communication Group (The Oklahoman) CIO and VP Audience Development Dan Barth, Norway’s Verdens Gang (VG) Chief of Staff Oyvind Naess, Israel’s RBG Media CEO Grig Davidovitz, and America’s Knight Foundation Journalism and Media Innovation Programme VP Michael Maness among others.

Naess will also present a case study on how they made use of the opportunities that came up in the digital revolution to their advantage and the challenges they are going to face in the future. Apart from the dramatic changes in readership, VG also sees the possibilities for non-linear TV and has made up plans to double the staff, video inventory, acquisition of programs, series and shows, to give a bigger push to live-TV. To get a closer focus on this development, they have established VG TV as a subsidiary company, effective from 1 January 2014. 

Davidovitz will also address a workshop on content monetization strategies in a pre-meet on 4 February.

Mathrubhumi Deputy Editor N P Rajendran will present a case study on how Mathrubhumi ventured into online space and created a niche for itself. Rajendran is a journalist for the past 32 years and heads the online desk of Mathrubhumi since 2005. 

Speakers from two other successful vernacular dailies from the North and East of India, Dainik Jagran and Anandabazar Patrika will share the stage with Rajendran thus providing a comprehensive picture on this topic. 

There will be sessions on content monetization in a digital era; innovative uses of social media; creating blog communities; the use by Indian Express – which has received the Digital Media Award – of social media in news dissemination; Revenue models and tablet metrics; and whether advertising works best online, in print, or mobile or a combination.

Other participants will also include Times of India Group CIO Sachin Gupta, Jagran Prakashan MMI Online CEO Sukriti Gupta, India Today Digital CEO Salil Kumar, and ABP India IT and Technology Practice – Digital Head Amitabha Sinha.

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