Finding the right balance in the print-to-digital transition

By Shelley Seale

INMA

Austin, Texas, United States

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Shailesh Prakash, chief information officer and vice president/digital product development at The Washington Post, has some advice for media companies transitioning from print to digital right now.

Speaking at the INMA South Asia Media Festival, Prakash said that while the transition is difficult, there is a lot from print that can be brought into digital. There are also forces in contention.

“How much of your engineers do you dedicate to digital? How much of the newsroom do you dedicate to digital?” he posed as some considerations to address. “Digital in many ways is infinite. It has so many angles to tackle. What do you do with virtual reality, augmented reality, video, Apple News, Snapchat?”

Where there are constrained resources, it creates a conflict in a successful transition to digital.

Another consideration is staffing. Should an organisation “steal” people from the print side for digital?

“How do you realign resources?” Prakash asked. “It can be tricky.”

In spite of the investment and complexities, it’s a mistake for publishers to think that the transition to digital will never come, he said: “It’s coming. In some cases, in India for example, maybe mobile will disrupt much more than desktop. The penetration of mobile in a country like India has leapfrogged many of the Western countries. It would be a mistake to think that because print is doing well, we should just sort of not face digital.”

Prakash thinks it is a mistake to simply take all the print resources and throw them into digital: “My advice is, find your balance. But it’s not an option to ignore it.”

About Shelley Seale