“Separate advertising departments for print and online needed”
CHENNAI: Publishers and printers were immersed in the big money questions on day two at the Ifra India 2007 conference being held at the Chennai Trade Centre.
At the publishers’ forum, Jim Chisholm of iMedia offered bold suggestions to maximise advertising potential. He challenged the popular theory that newspapers should club their online and print versions in a joint offering for advertisers. “Convergence is not working in advertising departments,” he insisted, pointing out that newspapers were losing out on the majority of advertisers who were interested in only one medium. Separate advertising departments for print and online were needed, even if online sometimes seemed to be cannibalising print, he said. “The change from print to digital is not linear,” he said, explaining that while display advertising moved to online marketing, classified was being replaced with listings and search. In an era of pay per click or even pay per transaction online advertising, the actual reach and effectiveness of an advertisement needed to be recalculated, he said.
An out-of-the-box idea from Andreas Schilling was to create “media communities.” The managing director of German marketer Burda Community Network gave examples of how his firm integrated newspaper advertising with a range of other media, including online and mobile, plus events that spurred direct interactivity with the target audience.
It’s not just advertising that makes money for publishing houses. The actual printing presses that consume the capital could soon start churning out their own profits. In a technical session on semi-commercial presses, which use the hybrid heatset technology, Manfred Werfel, research director at Ifra, pointed that they could help newspaper printers expand their business. “Printing is becoming a separate business [from newspaper publishing]… In that context, there is a lot of market potential for semi-commercial.”
He pointed out that traditional coldset presses, without any trimming or stitching facilities, could access only eight per cent of the world print market that belongs to newspaper printing. On the other hand, with a semi-commercial printing system, the presses could also print catalogues, direct mailers, supplements, advertising, and even phone directories, thus widening their market potential to 37 per cent. Semi-commercial was such a hot topic today because it helped to create profit centres and newspaper printers needed to make profits these days, he said.
K. Balaji, Director, The Hindu, says that going semi-commercial widens the choices for Indian publishers, whether they take up commercial jobs or just start new tabloids of their own. “Those value additions are important… It’s all about having options and extending usability,” he says. “One day, all newspaper printing plants may have semi-commercial capability, otherwise they might go out of business.”