'Digital First' is the trend of the day!

By: Amith Rahul             Dated: September 30, 2015

Digital media is going to support print media in a very big way. The digital first approach is being taken seriously by the publishing industry in India.

Digital First

Print media is going to stay for long in India. There are many reasons for that. The subscription model is one of it. We Indians are addicted to reading a newspaper along with our first cup of tea or coffee everyday morning. Despite the intrusion of Television, Internet and other modern medias our craze for reading newspapers are intact! We just don't read one newspaper! We read multiple newspapers. One in English and the other in our own language. That varies from Hindi to Malayalam!

Digital media is going to support print media in a very big way. The digital first approach is being taken seriously by the publishing industry in India. It is time to restructure news desk spaces. Once it is done, move to the hardware and software up-gradation. As all Indian newspaper groups have a great quality manpower base it will be easy to build on it... with a minor tweaking on the working style!

The first task is to integrate the editorial workflow to multi-channel output resources. The content has to be served to different channels as and when it is required. It is a 24/7 process. We have to look at print, web, television, Apps, mobile and much more...with a focus on digital first!

"Though we will be focusing on digital media, we still believe that print is going to survive in India for many more years. The revenue generation scope from print is still high. Digital media has to find its ways to greater revenue models. Yes, we know that the young generation loves digital media and we want to cater that segment too. Probably in a very strong way!" These were the responses when we surveyed on the Print vs Digital scenario in Indian publishing industry.

And now, the Hindustan Times in Delhi is all set to move to their ambitious 'Digital First' content plan. The renovation of news desk space is done. The new software package has been installed (Eidos Media Méthode Pagination System) with proper training to the staff.

Digitisation of Photo Archives was the first thing HT did while considering the Digital First plan. There were thousands and thousands of exclusive news photographs. They worked on each photograph. Refined them to better quality, meta-tagged with proper captions to make it easy for search performance. Some pictures needed restoration from the scratch.

The 24/7 news desk will deliver content to different platforms in its typical formats. Text, images, audio and video contents will be edited and stored in different servers so that the different platforms can take it immediately without losing time on reworking on it.

"While we have built a Rs. 100 crore digital business, there remains immense underlying potential to be tapped. What we are looking at is not the usual incremental 20-30% range-bound growth, but an altogether different dimension of opportunity. India took 20 years to get the first 100 million Internet users, the next 100 million came in 3 years while the last 100 million got added in just 18 months. The opportunity landscape of digital economy is about to explode. From USD 60 billion in 2013, country’s digital economy was pegged to reach USD 160 billion by 2018, as per INDIA@DIGITAL.BHARAT study by the Boston Consulting Group and Internet & Mobile Association of India.

To encash the most of this unfolding scenario, one would need to build scale at an equally fast speed. At HT Media, we envisioned the same well in advance. Having already done significant groundwork, we are fast readying ourselves to participate in the growth phase of the digital economy. Instead of reorienting ourselves, we are rather building a digital future in an inside-out fashion, without compromising on our established and growing offline businesses. A one-of-its-kind Integrated Digital Newsroom, which would also be the first in India, shall get functional soon. Our teams are trained, equipped and geared up to usher an exciting digital future in the fiscal year 2015-16. The real transition would take slightly longer and the true results of our endeavour would get manifested by 2020". Explained Rajiv Verma, CEO, HT Media Ltd.

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