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World Newspaper Congress to focus on multimedia opportunities Team

(3 April 2008 4:00 pm)


NEW DELHI: The growth of the Hyderabad-based ‘Eenadu’ from a Telugu newspaper to English editions and to a media conglomerate with print, television, internet and other media will be the cynosure of discussion at the 61st World Newspaper Congress.

The Congress organized by the World Association of Newspapers is being held in Göteborg, Sweden from 1 to 4 June next.

According to Larry Kilman who is director of communications with Association, the Indian newspaper market is drawing attention for both its growth and innovation and newspaper executives from around the globe were keen to examine this particularly successful example of Indian innovation.

The growth of ‘Eenadu’ (the title means "Today") will be exemplified in a presentation by I Venkat, Director of the Group. Newspaper companies are well-placed for multi-media growth, says Venkat. "We have the infrastructure, we know the markets, we have some understanding of consumer preferences, and we have experience of running the business. So why not take advantage of the situation and try and get ahead?"

Venkat is part of a 23-member Indian contingent attending the meet. The delegates include India Today Group chairman and editor-in-chief Aroon Purie; Malayala Manorama’s executive editor Jacob Mathew and deputy editor Jayant Mammen Mathew; director Naveen Chamoli and vice-president (Business Development) of Planman Technologies; Dinamalar’s editor R Sathiamurthi and associate editor Manjula Rajagopal; president (Dailies) Amitabha Datta of ABP Pvt Limited; and Mint’s managing editor Raju Narisetti.

The Bennett Coleman and Company will be represented by Times of India executive editor Jaideep Bose, CEO – Publishing Ravindra Dhariwal, director – Business and Commercial Mohit Jain, and Economic Times executive editor Rahul Joshi. The Prabhat Khabar group’s vice-president Kamal Kumar Goenka, chief editor Harivansh Narayan Singh, business advisor Deepak Pramanik, and promoter Prashant Jhawar will also be part of the delegation.

The Congress, World Editors Forum and Info Services Expo 2008 are expected to draw well over 1,500 newspaper publishers, managing directors, CEOs, chief editors and other senior newspaper executives to Sweden at a time when the newspaper industry is focused more than ever on multimedia expansion.

The theme of the Congress reflects the changing nature of the industry - "Newspapers: A Multi-Media Growth Business." Print publications remain the core activity of press companies, generating most of their profits and providing resilient to increasing competition from other information channels. At the same time, digital media are allowing newspapers to significantly extend their audience and revenues.

How best to exploit the multi-media opportunities now open to newspapers will be at the heart of the programme.

In addition to Venkat, confirmed speakers for the Congress include: Joe Webb, deputy managing director of the Irish Independent; Tim Bowdler, CEO of Johnston Press in the United Kingdom; Giorgio Valerio, GM of RCS Quotidiani in Italy; Christian Van Thillo, chairman of De Persgroep in Belgium; Francis Morel, director general, and Pierre Conge, deputy director general in charge of New Media, of Le Figaro in France; and Tony Watson, editor-in-chief of The Press Association in the United Kingdom.

The Congress business sessions will focus on the best strategies for growing audience, in print and online, the best strategies for increasing both print and digital advertising - and the growth that can be expected. Discussion will also be held on what management, infrastructure and processes are necessary to sell advertising for a portfolio of products, as opposed to a single newspaper title, how the new reach attained by newspapers through their combined print and digital operations can be monetized, and whether newspapers are the Content Kings who can exploit the unique content gathered by newspapers through the full range of new distribution channels.

The Paris-based WAN represents 18,000 newspapers and its membership includes 77 national newspaper associations, newspaper companies and individual newspaper executives in 102 countries, 12 news agencies and 11 regional and world-wide press groups.

The session on ‘2007 - 2008 print and online launches’ will include among others a presentation by Nasiretti.

The session on participatory journalism will discuss both the positives and negatives of "sharing" the news process and how these two forms of collective intelligence - the newsroom and the audience -­ can better collaborate. Speakers include Nikesh Arora, vice president of European Operations for Google.

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