Ipex 2014 in four weeks. But are you going?

Mihir Joshi, besides being a PrintWeek India scribe, is a central defender and supporter of AC Milan. In his weekly column he immortalises the power of print with the same passion with which he gets excited about the world's greatest game.

01 Mar 2014 | By Mihir Joshi

The question on most lips is, Ipex in four weeks, are you attending the show which once upon a time was second to Drupa?

At the moment the Indian response seems low key. Our assessment after chats with travel agents like Orbitz and Yatra.com is approximately 300 to 400 printers will travel to London.

With less than a month to go what is at stake?

The World Print Summit, a senior-level strategic thought leadership programme, promises to deliver "a world-class line-up of speakers from the print, business, marketing and creative industries". The organisers are pushing this as an opportunity for business owners and managers. The forum will give them exclusive access to previously unheard content that will deliver the leading insights into the evolving role and power of print.

Key sessions include: ‘How To Future-Proof Print in a Digital Age’, ‘Print: Doomed or on the Verge of a Digital Renaissance’, ‘Sustainability – So What? An Audience with Publishers and Printers’, ‘A Culture Shift Within The Print Industry’ and ‘The Evolving Role of Print for Consumer Marketing – Changing Attitudes to Print’. Speakers include Barry Hibbert (Polestar Group), Benny Landa (Landa Corp), Frank Romano (RIT),Rory Sutherland (Ogilvy One London and Ogilvy & Mather UK), Clive Humby (Starcount and developer of Tesco Clubcard), Patrick Martell (St. Ives Group and Ipex 2014 President), Richard Watson (author of Future Files),Kathy Woodward (BPIF) and Chris Jones (Novalia).

The World Print Summit programme will be complemented by the Future Innovations zone, where visitors can have a sneak-peek at the printed products and technologies that are set for rapid growth over the next few years across three sections – covering 3D printing, printed electronics and photobook products.

Another feature of the show will be the Master Classes, a practical workshop to ensure the work forces from SME printers receive the support required. Aimed at the owner of a print business and his sales and production teams, these practical sessions will tackle real life, day-to-day issues and look at how best to solve them to streamline production and support business growth.

Excel London will play host Ipex 2014 on 24-29 March 2014. This year’s event is expected to be a platform for no less than 500 global manufacturers and suppliers.


Indian Magazine Congress; publishers say print is profitable  

The eighth edition of Indian Magazine Congress was held at the Indian Habitat Centre, New Delhi on 24-25 February, 2014 and saw industry veterans discuss issues concerning the magazine industry. The theme for the 8th edition of IMC was Winning Through Innovation. In other news related to the Indian magazine industry Mitrajit Bhattacharya, president and publisher, Chitralekha Group replaced Tarun Rai, CEO, Worldwide Media as the president of Association of Indian Magazines (AIM).

Manish Tewari, Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting, who was the inaugural keynote speaker said, “Focus on profitable growth by implementing cost control initiatives and adopting technology across key business performance areas such as planning, budgeting, customer relationship management, strategic outsourcing, etc. While leading players had taken necessary steps, it was necessary that the industry reviewed the process in its entirety.”

Anand Kripalu, president, Diageo India and CEO-designate, United Spirits who delivered the keynote address spoke about the need for innovation, he said, “Innovation is often referred to as ‘creativity’ and ‘invention’; it should be viewed in the present day as ‘a creation of new economic value through breakthrough ideas’.”

Anant Nath, editor, Caravan, and director, Delhi Press during a panel discussion said, “With content aggregators such as Buzzfeed, most publications are forced to upload content without the earlier pre-requisites. Because when it comes to online space, advertising depends on impressions and that is dependent on content creation.”

During the same panel discussion Fiona McIntosh, editor, Grazia, said “As far as social media and content goes, we are living in very interesting times. Print media cannot compete with news dissemination, and that is where digital is streaming ahead. But what print media can focus on is getting viral through social media, and getting stories pushed through it.”

At a group discussion during the first day of the conference a panel discussion to discuss the opportunity offered by social media. Rajiv Dingra, founder and CEO, WAT Consult, on things that magazine brands could do to experience the power of social media said, “Moving away from the authoritative publishing mentality; Content pro-creation with readers; Real time responsiveness; Catalysing Communities; and influencing the influencers.”

Rohit Saran, editor-at-large, India Today Group stressing the importance of social media said, “Social media can blur the distinction between the product and its marketing, if not eliminate it completely. If a news is about to break, one could keep tweeting links or pictures giving the readers a preview of the next issue.”

Rajan Anandan, VP and MD, Google India kicked-off the second day of the conference, he said, “News is the fastest growing content vertical online standing at five per cent currently, growing at 67 per cent. Publications with large offline circulation, such as The Times of India and Jagran, are big online too – this is more pronounced in case of English media. But regional consumption is growing at over five times as compared to English. While English is growing at 11 per cent year-on-year, vernacular is growing at 56 per cent.”

Patrick Fuller, group publishing director, Haymarket talked about the money making opportunity provided by the rise of digital, but stressed on the quality, he said,  “Define your strengths and focus on them; See through the noise and keep it simple; Maintain high yields; Buy a start-up and use a smartphone and remain committed to quality.”

Indranil Roy, president, Outlook Group spoke about the need to innovate in order to grow, he said, “One of the challenges for 2014 is how do we create a community around the brands that we are going to be concentrating on.”

Anita Nayyar, CEO India and South Asia, Havas Media said, “They are consuming the content, and not the platform. However, none of the media can beat engagement that magazines offer. In spite of low reach, time spent on magazines is second only to TV. If they are suffering, there is definitely something wrong with how magazines are sold today.”

Anupriya Acharya, group CEO, Zenith Optimedia Group India dispelled the apparent demise of magazine “Even with explosion of media platforms, magazines are still relevant in media plans and are still an influential media. The global digital onslaught will find its way into India; it was something publishers need to embrace.”

Shashi Sinha, CEO, IPG Mediabrands India, weighed in with, “The industry is facing issues that could create turmoil if not tackled at the earliest. If you look at one customer, and try to catch him at (multiple) touch points, magazines play an important role. It adds to reach and also (helps) surround the consumer. Until now, engagement was an abandoned word but it is now coming to fore with digitisation playing its part.”

Sam Balsara, CMD, Madison World, who was also one of the speakers at last year’s conference said, “Magazines are number one in reader engagement; magazine advertisements are least annoying; it captures undivided attention; ads in magazines are noticed and considered influential; and magazines talk to superior influencers. Magazines can deliver on media numbers for high reach plans. I do feel magazines occupy a small and strong niche. It is important that it finds its niche, which is engagement and not exposure.”