Tuesday sessions at World Congress focus on digital



The second full day of the 81st INMA World Congress focused its more than 300 participants on the digital content frontier.

Randall Rothenberg, president and CEO of Interactive Advertising Bureau, told delegates that to pull out of the “commodity spiral,” they must work on providing marketers with exactly what they want: brand awareness, favourability and purchase intent. To do that, he said, media companies need to stop sacrificing premium ad space to low-price advertisers and start developing creative marketing strategies.

Scott Brown, a senior vice president for Global Communications, Media Practice, Consumer Insights and Strategic Relations at The Nielsen Company, emphasised keeping an eye out for the “second-generation tablet buyers,” those buyers who buy used tablets from others who are upgrading to newer models.  Brown also noted that there currently isn't an app for the tablet where users can watch television outside of the home. He suspects that if the ability to watch TV became available to the users, tablet use would increase.

Clearly the most anticipated moment of the day came in the late-morning question and answer session between moderator Juan Senor New York Times Publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr., who walked the audience through his views on present and future of his bellwether newspaper.

The session covered a broad range of topics, including an update on the Times’ closely watched paywall strategy. But in the end, Sulzberger made a point to offer one key piece of advice: While innovating both the outside and within, never lose sight of the principles of journalism.

“We’ve got to always remember that we are about the core of our journalism,” he said, adding that media companies need to remain flexible and be willing to embrace change. And that is that challenge that everyone in this room faces.”

Continuing with the digital frontier theme, speaker Frederic Filloux, editor of The Monday Note, discussed the threats and opportunities in the relationship between publishers and key megacorporations Google and Apple. In the end, he said, both industries rely on each other: Google relies on the content from the publishers, and the publishers rely on Google and Apple for traffic.

After the networking lunch, Torry Pederson, CEO of Norway's Verdens Gang newspaper, better known simply as VG, talked about the need to deal quickly with complexity of market situation, user behavior and internal operations. "Our readers start using mobile first thing in the morning," Pedersen said, "and it's also the last thing they do at night. That's one of the main reasons we have to integrate our selling across platforms."

Geoff Shaw, vice president/Digital Media of Sporting News, then walked the audience through the evolution of a 125-year-old evolved from a weekly newspaper into a bi-weekly magazine and free Website based on breaking news and trending topics. Shaw said that Sporting News had to find a way to be different from other sport news outlets such as ESPN and Yahoo. It also needed to face the task of making its information localized for the local fan but still keep a national-interest element.

The conference concluded with the passing of the INMA presidential gavel from Washington Examiner CEO Michael Phelps to Times of India CEO Ravi Dhariwal. Dhariwal complimented his predecessor on having brought INMA to its highest level of success in years and promised to continue that growth.


Closing out the day, moderator Juan Senor again presented his personal collection of some of the day’s most thought-provoking memes:

  • Brand is asset; it allows you to charge a premium over competing product
  • Rethink your metrics – what advertisers want is brand awareness
  • It is difficult to use a premium brand advantage in digital
  • Social networks have some of the lowest prices on the web
  • Create scarcity in an abundant digital world
  • Become more creative (creative quality drives 70% of business at P&G)
  • Technologists need to be part of creative teams
  • Groupon – they are the low tech of high tech
  • Beware of the next big thing
  • Newspapers must charge for services – ad revenue and content is not enough
  • The iPad is a luxury item used for video and gaming
  • Hyper local to hyper relevant
  • Newness vs. sameness
  • Physical media is becoming virtual
  • Boomers still matter
  • Moving to an app-driven world
  • Engagement
  • Audience first;  money second
  • No front lines
  • Must collaborate
  • Silos-culture dominate
  • Techies are from Venus; publishers are from Mars
  • Nice with Apple does not go very far
  • Sell your RSS or don’t provide them at all
  • You must control pricing on apps
  • You need to land a triple cork
  • Design for the eyes and the finger
  • Do live news online
  • Integrate when there’s parity
  • Facilitate life – be a service brand

Later in the evening, with the conference redressed for banquet, INMA hosted 180 guest to its annual awards dinner.

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