Print shines bright with tint of optimism

The three-day conference was divided into three segments: newsroom, printing and crossmedia advertising summit, which sent out optimistic signals. Words Rahul Kumar.

09 Oct 2013 | By Rahul Kumar

DD Purkayastha of ABP and Ramanujam Sridhar of Integrated Brand-Comm, shared their views and experiences about the power of print but through different aspects. Purkayashta shared five key messages and five key success factors and elaborated on the successful business model of first Bangla tabloid daily from his publication house, Ebela. 

Ramanujam Sridhar

DD Purkayastha
Talking about the trends, he said, “The print industry has grown at a rapid pace in Asia over the last five years. This has been both in terms of circulation and advertising revenue. Print offerings can be customised to suit the intended target audience and can also be successful by including the young generation,  and talking about the real issues. There are certain elements that only print can deliver, and not any other media.” He also shared five key success factors for consumers’ insights lead. It included convenient and smart tabloid or small format of newspapers; wide variety of content; colourful and attractive visual representation; value-for-money price-point; and innovative youthful marketing campaign. 
On the other hand, Sridhar shared his views on innovation in print advertisement. Using few old printed advertisements of Air India, Amul and others, he explained how print advertisement has become more attractive and appealing by implementing techniques like die-cutting, met pad printing, UV printing and other print enhancements. He also said that integrated communication will create more impact. 
Advertisement innovation in print
Manfred Werfel, deputy CEO, Wan-Ifra Germany called  multi-channel, mobile and video, sales structure, homepage revenues, 360 degree advertising, social strategies and print as seven most important advertising trends in newspaper industry. He urged the industry to make print advertising specials by using formats and technologies like floating advertisements, inner circle print advertisement, super panorama, and many others. 

Manfred Werfel
Saranga Wijeyaratne, director marketing, Ceylon Today, Sri Lanka started his presentation by saying, “Either print is already dead or is on the verge of its death. We have seen a considerable fall in print from 2000 to 2010. The print advertising fell from 33 to 11 percent in this period of ten years. It forced me to think if I have to change my job.”

Saranga Wijeyaratne
“Then we realised that we have to adapt with the changes and planned to change the face of our newspaper. Since then, we have simultaneously launched four newspapers which was a first in our country,” he quickly added. 
He said that research finds newspapers are traditional, boring, unexciting, dull, conventional, humdrum, outdated and old fashioned. Therefore, innovation is the only way to come out from it.
New editorial system
Andreas Holpert, managing editor, Luxemburger Wort, Luxembourg, in his presentation said that presently media companies are facing challenges like integration of print and digital. “Numbers of channels are rising rapidly; the quality of contents needs to be increased,” he said. 
He further added, “By targeting inline modern editorial system you get more efficiency, more reactivity and more productivity. News wants to be everywhere – print, online, social media, apps, sms, twitter, youtube.” Omar A Ali, production editor, Gulf News, Dubai, echoed Holpert’s views  but added that implementing a new editorial system is not a change for technology but it is a change of culture. 
“There is a dire need to move from a print-focused workflow and mindset to the new world of being the first to publish to the earliest available platform. Curated content for each channel makes content availability different on each platform and will provide new opportunities for monetisation,” he said. 

Omar A Ali
Volatile economy
Dinesh Sharma, chief general manager – production and IT, DB Corp said that the “mool mantra” is to look within, go lean with the cost and be focused on revenue part. 
“We have reduced web width by 20 mm in main editions and 15 mm in supplements since newsprint forms the major cost in production. We switched over to 533mm cut off presses without compromising page height. Thus, we have gained a saving of 2.38% on newsprint cost,” he said. “We have reduced readers’ subsidy by increasing cover price. We have also cut down free file circulation by 0.5%; earlier it was one percent,” he added.  
Environmental management system
Janaka Rathnakumara, assistant general manager, Wijeya Newspapers, shared his experiences about the implementation of ISO 14001 certificate. He said, “Your waste material can be someone’s raw material.” He shared few techniques such as CTP and process effluent treatment and its reuse in gardening, using soundproof printing presses and generators, etc which can be used by organisations to contribute to eco-initiatives.  
Alexis Lozano, director general, Artes Graficas Del Atlantico, Spain, that they have many certifications like ISO 14001:2004 for environmental management systems. “We use wind turbines’ energy instead of regular energy for newspaper production. And the next steps are digital print for short-runs and environmental criteria for printed paper EU-Ecolabel,” he shared, when asked about the other initiatives the company plans to implement in the near future. 
Brand new versus used printing presses 
Making his point against used presses, George Jacob, executive director, Malayala Manorama, said, “New printing presses are highly expensive so sometimes newspapers publication houses like us have to opt for pre-owned printing presses instead of a new one.”

George Jacob
He suggested delegates to get fixed price and fixed time quote from the installation vendor, ensure any parts that needs to be fabricated is ready at the time of installation, and finally, ensure that the building and other infrastructure like power, aircon, compressed air are ready before the refurbished presses are shipped. 
Providing a printer’s perspective on the issues, Sven Paysen, CEO, Rotapress Saarburg, Germany said, “Faults and breakdowns in the press become more and more frequent and there is a constant increase in maintenance costs. Certain spare parts are no longer available. As a result, the risk of production downtimes increases. Many a times suppliers provide very limited or no support.”
UV systems for print enhancement 
V Narayanan, general manager, Dinamalar in his presentation said that hybrid printing is an effective technology for printing on glazed paper. This makes it an important technology for newspaper printing too because newspaper today employs a wide spectrum of printing innovations using such substrates. “Heatset is very expensive and unaffordable,” he noted. 

V Narayanan
“Major advantages of UV printing are –sheets are dry by the time they are off the press,  higher speed than infra-red drying, no volatile organic compounds released in the air, and resist smudging and abrasion. UV coatings also have a “wet look” and do not use solvents to penetrate uncoated stocks,” he added. “Limitations are higher ink prices and longer time to clean the press when changing ink types,” he concluded. 
New concepts and methodology
K Muralidharan, chief manager engineering and Indrajit Sen, deputy chief manager, production, The Times of India shared how they achieved excellent production through six sigma green belt initiatives. 
Nandkumar Mishra, independent consultant, discussed TRIZ methodology and its application in newspaper production environment.   

Indrajit Sen
Local and hyperlocal, short run, hybrid printing (mix of printing technologies), digital printing for short run, innovation, compatibility with new media, integrated newsroom, green initiatives were the other few points which were discussed throughout Publish Asia 2013. Overall, the discussions and presentations had a tint of optimism and it was evident that growth is no more a just an expectation.