As the 84th-annual INMA World Congress approaches, members say they are searching for new marketing strategies, knowledge about the rising digital world, and best practises of new revenue models.

An e-mail survey sent to those attending the World Congress revealed desires for inspiration and new insights into efficient media practices through evaluation of other media companies’ strategies.

“I expect to discuss the challenges and opportunities the media industry faces with my international peers, particularly those involved with regional publications,” said Carsten Erdmann, editor-in-chief of Berliner Morgenpost.

The German audience usually lags behind American audiences, he added, so the conference offers a great insight into the future of the market.

In the survey, many voiced concerns about the decline in print media and monetisation of online products in the new digital age.

“Increasing digitisation will put further pressure on print revenues,” said Vinay Maheshwari, vice president of sales and marketing at Dainik Bhaskar. Maheshwari said he looks forward to seeing genuine eye-catching print ad innovations. 

The digital media market generates new forms of revenue that companies aim to utilise in engaging new audiences.

While India still greatly profits from print media, Shrijeet Mishra, chief operating officer at The Times of India Group, encourages media companies to take advantage of the digitalisation of news.

“Alternate revenue streams needs to be explored,” Mishra said.

Ørjan Johnsen, project manager at Bergens Tidende, told INMA that the decrease in print media will increase competition in the digital world. The transition to digital media will also increase competition for revenues among social media sites such as Google and Facebook.

Herman Verwimp, marketing and human resources director at Gijbels Group, says price versus distribution is the biggest issue facing the industry: “We need to build big audiences in order to keep us relevant for advertisers and to develop new products on the basis of our big audiences.”

According to Jim Moroney, publisher/CEO of The Dallas Morning News, the industry has some difficult truths to grapple with during the next year, such as: “Having as a strategic assumption that print advertising will continue to decline and then coming to the recognition that digital advertising is not and will not be a sufficient answer to the ongoing decline of print revenue.”

At this year’s World Congress, publishers are looking to tap into the mobile and tablet markets to adapt to the current changes to digital media.

Santiago Alvarez Matamoros, manager at El Tiempo, recognises the immense opportunity for revenue in the mobile media industry.

“In the mobile business, we are going to experience a great audience growth,” Matamoros said. “In terms of advertising revenue, we expect to grow on digital.”

Executive director at GDA, Guido Conterno, plans to find ways to incorporate video within new media and consolidate his company’s tablet versions.

“I expect new ideas on how to aggregate and segment our audiences in all platforms: print, Web, tablet, and mobile,” Conterno said.

The future of media lies in a mix of print and digital, with a focus on personalisation in advertising and content.

Ravi Dhariwal, chief executive officer at Bennett Coleman & Co. Limited, said the biggest issue facing the news industry in the next year is declining print readership and overall revenue consequent to the digital revolution. The biggest opportunity lies in using print and digital together to enhance the brand’s readership and advertising/circulation revenue, he added.

Increasing personalisation of messages for editorial and commercial media will better serve the target audience of the digital age, for both online and print sources, said Neil Monaghan, chief executive officer of Australian Regional Media.

“Whilst we talk about structural change — digital this or print that — local economy strength is omnipresent and will be the biggest issue we face in the next 12 months,” Monaghan said.

The biggest opportunities, according to World Congress attendees? Audiences between the ages of 18 and 35, mobile (audience and advertisers), video, tablets, a personalised message, native advertising, print + digital, Big Data, e-commerce, and content marketing.