Now in its 12th year, Digital Media India took place in-person in New Delhi from 16 to 17 March, with more than 140 news media executives from over 35 organisations taking part.
WAN-IFRA’s Digital Media India (DMI) conference, back in its physical form, was held in New Delhi on 16 and 17 March. It also featured the South Asian Digital Media Awards 2022 ceremony, with The Quint bagging the Champion Publisher Award.
The goal of the conference this year was to expand on discussions related to various modern business, editorial, and digital issues. The theme of the event was “Drivers of digital revenue and technology,” and featured a program aimed at facilitating learning and networking opportunities.
The two-day conference kicked off with a keynote address by Lucio Mesquita (Senior Consultant, Innovation Media Consulting Group, United Kingdom), who shared the findings of the “Innovation in News Media – World Report 2023.”
“News publishers worldwide have come out of the tough pandemic years with renewed optimism and healthy digital gains despite the ongoing geopolitical challenges. Innovation is a key common thread for their success. Above all, news brands that are doing well are investing in and focusing on developing content worth paying for as, in the end, only journalism can save journalism,” said Mesquita.
Day 1 of the conference featured sessions on sustainability, subscription insights and trends, digital revenue, and artificial intelligence, a trending top for publishers globally.
Bharat Gupta, CEO, of Jagran New Media, kicked off the first panel discussion on digital priorities and diversified business strategies by listing out three things he is optimistic about the future of digital publishing in India.
“With over 650 million users, India is the second largest internet population, and that’s only 55 per cent of the penetration rate. Second, the ad to GDP ratio is only about 0.7 per cent, instilling confidence about monetisation. Third, India is the youngest country globally,” said Gupta. “More than 60 per cent of the population is under 35 years of age. Consumption patterns are changing and all these three things put together spell out great opportunities for publishers.”
The panel also comprised LV Navaneeth (CEO, The Hindu Group), Mariam Mammen Mathew (CEO, Manorama Online), and was chaired by Ritu Kapur (Co-Founder and CEO, The Quint).
“Indian publishers have traditionally been good with content and journalism. We are going back to basics both in terms of the product and the business model, and this is what 2023 is going to be about,” said Mathew.
“Healthy digital news business is 40 per cent reader revenue, and The Hindu is 50 per cent currently. In the next 2-3 years, I expect that to grow to 60-65 per cent while advertising continues to grow,” said LV Navaneeth. “There will be a time in the next 3-5 years where digital revenues may not grow enough to offset the organic decline in the print business if that were to happen, but the growth will be enough to be more profitable.”
The day closed with the presentation of the South Asian Digital Media Awards 2022 (SDMA). From new approaches to digital subscriptions to impactful native advertising campaigns, the awards presented projects that inspire us all.
This edition of the SDMA, which recognises and lauds publishers in South Asia, recorded more than 100 entries, and The Quint, The Hindu, Prothom Alo, and Indian Express emerged as the winners. The Quint also bagged the overall ‘Champion Publisher’ Award.
Day 2 of the conference saw sessions on short-form video, retaining GenZ news subscribers, more subscription success stories, and data in journalism.
“The media today is seeing a shift towards synthetic media, driven by artificial intelligence and mixed reality – AR/VR, Deep Fakes, NLP and interactive media. We have to be careful how this will disrupt our news industry. Don’t be afraid to experiment, and make sure to keep an eye on the future so that we can take part in leading the disruption, rather than being disrupted,” Kaythaya Maw, Chief Technology Officer, SPH Media said, addressing the concluding session of the conference on future technologies that can sustain the diverse, trusted, and vibrant publishing ecosystem audience demand, virtually from Singapore.
Quintype, Chartbeat and ConsCent sponsored the conference. It was supported by gxpress.net, Indian Printer and Publisher and RIND Survey. (by NEHA GUPTA – WAN-IFRA)