Post-pandemic, digital adaption will be the essential next step for publishing

By 15 Jan 2021

Publishing outfits that do not catch up with digital technology may be left behind when the economy normalises, says Som Nath Sapru.

Som Nath Sapru

It’s time to look at how your print shop is run to assess efficiency, productivity, and revenue potential, because unless you embrace the power of centralised business application to manage your entire operation, you are leaving possibilities of unforeseen loss on the table. I believe one should never forget to acquire back what one has lost during the pandemic in various phases.

With the minimal downward trend of Covid-19, most of the European nations have clamped a second set of lockdowns in their countries. Many organisations across the world are gradually flattening their recessionary curve by leveraging technology. Many businesses will go through response recovery and renew phases. Building business resilience and enabling agility will aid organisations to move forward in their journey out of the Covid-19 crisis.

The pandemic has upended many things, not the least of which are trade shows and other in-person events. IPAMA announced indefinite postponement of its biannual show (15th PrintPack India) recently, whereas, Drupa has announced the creation of virtual events.

Print media too has also taken a huge economical hit in the form of the fall in circulation of newspapers and news magazines due to unprecedented lockdown and because of general public’s apprehensions of touching newspapers or news magazines. Adding to the misery of the newspaper industry was the massive advertisement cuts and cut on repeating campaign ads. Now the industry has to rethink how best to get back to normal functioning.

Undoubtedly, newspaper and news magazine publishers played a massive role in placing campaigns about safety such as using of masks, washing hands, usage of sanitisers, maintaining social distance, etc. This massive financial crisis is the resultant factor of disruption of the distribution system of the print products — newspapers, news magazines and other weekly and fortnightly publications.

This forced the publishing industry to put forth digital strategies in a short period. Addressing these changes affords us to look forward to bigger opportunities and issues that can help withstand disruption if this crisis persists. Focusing on areas that improve the care of the business gives us the best chance of success in both in long and near terms. Bridging the digital fracture between poorly connected and hyper digitalised countries is also important and timely. Digital has become central to all interactions, which has further upped the adoption curve. Automation and artificial intelligence are leading the game, regulating and effecting changes.

Maintaining productivity while working remotely and managing usage volume, data security, scalability, and usability demands the latest technology. How the publishing industry will adjust itself now will reflect in its economic recovery and future performance.

Publishing outfits that do not catch up with this wave of digitalisation and technology may be left behind when the economy normalises. Experts say failing to match the pace of the change in the industry leaves littles space for digital initiatives. Frankly speaking, it is an ideal time to advance one’s digital agenda. Industry leaders are of the view that it is the appropriate time to invest in new technology, and initiate new partnerships with tech industries to upgrade existing technology in one’s unit as early as possible.

The publishing industry has been digitised with online versions and soft copies of everything available. As physical forms of publishing industries began to close, online versions had to be upgraded to carry the weight of the situation and limit physical interaction. In 2020, more than 1.5 million articles were published the world over on Covid-19 alone in its first quarter. The digital transition was happening already, but it was slow. The dip in the economy and the pandemic has provided the industry with an opportunity to take a leap in digitising in publishing norms or upgrade the existing system available in the unit. Digital solutions, tools, and the services are on the rise, and customers and companies can help each other alike.

Undoubtedly, there was a brief but huge recession in publishing industry but in the last couple of months, the indication is that it is on the revival mode as the industry has taken many futuristic steps to repulse this unexpected onslaught of sudden lockdown throughout the country and closure of schools and colleges, including professional institutions. School and college textbooks remained and rotted in the warehouses as the lockdown came when the academic year of the schools and colleges was about to start. With the spread of new kind of virus along with the Covid-19 pandemic, organisations across the globe are gradually flattening their recessionary curve by leveraging technology. Many publishing houses will go through response recovery and renew phases. Building business resilience and enabling agility will benefit organisations to move forward in their journey out of this pandemic crisis and towards the next normal.

Industry leaders suggest a few post-pandemic strategies to readjust the business the publishing houses may have to go through. These include:

1 Adjust strategic planning to move ahead once business stability is set to required needs and standards

2 Build resilience by making effective resource and investment choices for individual business units, product and service lines

3 Conceptualise scenario-based planning to manage future similar crises situations

I believe these steps will prove workable and can take care of unforeseen situations similar to ongoing Covid-19 and its offshoots.

 

 

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