The Hindu is still in the process of transforming, Rajiv Lochan, the news media company’s CEO, said at INMA’s South Asia News Media Conference in New Delhi. The way this transformation is happening, first and foremost, is by getting to know readers and serve their needs as best as possible.

“Second, we want to take that understanding, the intimacy and connection we have with our readers, to advertisers — but not simply from a display or print perspective, but much more from a solution perspective for their business problems.”

The idea is that The Hindu takes assets it already has — whether that’s intangible (such as relationships with stakeholders or the ability to convene people) or tangible assets (such as access to schools) and bring those assets together along with its print and digital capabilities.

Lochan says the goal is to “serve up solutions for advertisers so that they’re able to see demonstrable return on their investment, as opposed to seeing print as a pure cost item on their P&L.”

Their third part of the transformation, and one that Lochan says is the most important to him, is making sure the news media company does business the right way: “We are very much driven by our values, both our code of editorial values and code of business values.”

One of those values, for example, is being good citizens in the communities they serve. This means engaging with readers in the various areas to help them come together as a community,

So what are newspaper companies doing right to prepare for the future?

“I see many of our peers trying ideas based on their strengths,” he said, whether that is diversification amongst product offerings, or expansion into education, radio, e-commerce and so forth. “There’s also a set of players, I think, that are doubling down on what they have to offer. A lot of local language dailies in the country [India] are doing a phenomenal job just being true to their mission, their purpose, and the community they represent.”

While different organisations are taking different approaches, Lochan feels companies with a print heritage should really focus on their strengths, rather than adopting a copy-cat attitude to their future.