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Print or digital; what redefines a traditional paradigm?

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MUMBAI: While circulation of newspapers is still in the positive and print continues to have the lion's share of the ad spend pie; digital is gaining ground rapidly. So is there a reason for fear amongst print players?

Discussing this was a panel comprising The Indian Express Group wholetime director Anant Goenka, Mid-Day editor Sachin Kalbag, BBC Online editor Nidheesh Tyagi, Danik Bhaskar Group SVP – sales, market development and brand marketing Vinay Maheshwari and Percept Allied Media CEO Shripad Kulkarni. The panel was moderated by MXM editor-in-chief and CEO Pradyuman Maheshwari.

Goenka recalled that when he started handling the digital side of The Indian Express Group, the important factor was to stick to the funda of ABCD – Astrology, Bollywood, Cricket and Devotion. He went on to say that politics became the hot topic interest on the Internet, thanks to the issues related to Narendra Modi, elections and Arvind Kejriwal. He believes that Internet, gives them an opportunity to reach out to a wider range of audience where print can’t be reached at this point of time.

Goenka believes that it is a very complimentary medium. “It is clearly about finding a way to create content that works for both mediums (digital and print). Content has to be exclusively for each medium. Both mediums in India are comfortable and are here to stay,” he said.

According to Danik Bhaskar’s Maheshwari, both the mediums always do not have the same set of audience. He opines that print and digital are going to co-exist and for long. He believes that newspapers act as an advantage for any consumer. “It reaches people at 7 am in the morning at their doorsteps and people are fresh to read it. In tier II and III cities, literacy, income and readership is on a rise. On top of all this, affordability is also on the rise. The reach that print delivers today is worth mentioning,” he said, adding that regional languages papers are also consumed well.

Kalbag said that what digital is doing right now is putting a lot of strength to what print delivers in the morning. “Where you break big stories in print, it is a big worry for any journalist and editor for how to do justice post 8 am for internet. To viralise it on social media platforms is the best way to reach out to the whole world.” He asserted that social media platforms have become curated platforms where all print news is curated in the best manner for each of the digital platform.

“What works for Twitter may not necessarily work for Facebook or Pintrest and vice-a-versa. So each of these platforms need to have a perfect tactic or strategy to put all of the content together and every journalist and editor should know how to do justice to each of the platforms,” said Kalbag.

Kulkarni had a different opinion altogether. He believes that the industry is definitely witnessing a change, thanks to digital platforms entering into the market. “We have spoken about India and Bharat but for the first time, digital has had a heavy impact. Look at all the generations, from old generation like me to a new generation like my daughter. I still prefer newspapers and she prefers reading it online. This is the change and more changes are yet to come.”

To conclude, most of the parties believed that print and digital are equally important for different set of audiences and both are here to stay for a very long time.

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