South Asia News Media Conference

JUMP TO: Thursday | Friday

Thursday, November 21 - Conference Day 1

8:00 a.m. - 9:00 a.m.

Registration and Welcome Coffee

9:00 a.m. - 9:05 a.m.

Welcome Address

Rajiv Verma Rajiv Verma
Advisor, HT Media, and President, INMA South Asia Division
Rajiv Verma

9:05 a.m. - 9:10 a.m.

Conference Introduction

Pawan Agarwal Pawan Agarwal
Deputy Managing Director, DB Corp Ltd, and Conference Chairperson
Pawan Agarwal LinkedIn

9:10 a.m. - 9:15 a.m.

What Matters Most Now: Setting the Context

Bhaskar Das Bhaskar Das
Conference Curator¬
@bedee0805 Bhaskar Das LinkedIn

9:15 a.m. - 10:15 a.m.

News Media Today: A Perfect Storm Or a Perfect Opportunity?

The combined experience of print publishers would be more than 1,000 years old. These practitioners have faced several storms from time to time but have weathered them all by their sheer imagination, reinvention, business astuteness and grit. This session will be a presentation of the experiences of publishers from South Asia newsmedia in a panel discussion.

Shailesh Prakash Shailesh Prakash
Chief Information Officer and Vice President of Digital Product Development, The Washington Post

Fireside Chat:

Puneet Singhvi Puneet Singhvi
CEO - Digital & President - Corporate Strategy, Network18 Media

10:15 a.m. - 11:15 a.m.

What Do Brands Want Now

In the era of automation of choices the consumer has too many options and brands all over the world are confronted with an affliction of loyalty deficit. Since the consumer is the epicenter of the loyalty matrix, she is the center of business for all sectors. The question that every brand faces at regular intervals is - what do consumers want? This in turn alters the brands’ expectations from all its stakeholders in the value chain.

In this session the speaker will delve into Kantar’s global knowledge tank to give both a macro and micro perspective of the new brand phenomenon. This session will help delegates to fine tune their solution development for various brand owners and migrate from a dominant behaviour of information lead selling, to an insight based solution selling - by customers, by audience type, and by geography.


Andy Brown Andy Brown
CEO & Chairman, Kantar Media

Fireside Chat:

Rajan Bhalla Rajan Bhalla
Chief Marketing Officer, HT Media Ltd.

11:45 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

Debunking the Myth About Print Media

The demise of print has often been the dominant narrative for various stakeholders drawing parallels from other parts of the world and extrapolating their personal experiences to the whole universe.

In this session the panelists and the moderator will examine the link of, and unravel, solely objective facts and give an insight into the enormous potential of the print medium to navigate the shifting trend of the business ecosystem of both print itself, and of the digital medium.


Bhaskar Das Bhaskar Das
Conference Curator
@bedee0805 Bhaskar Das LinkedIn


Girish Agarwal Girish Agarwal
Director, Dainik Bhaskar Group

Girish Agarwal Mohit Joshi
Managing Editor, Havas Media

Dolly Jha Dolly Jha
Lead Marketing Effectiveness Practice, Nielsen
Dolly Jha LinkedIn

12:30 p.m. - 1:15 p.m.

War For Talent

The Internet has changed forever most of the paradigms that helped define and understand the communication ecosystem. The new paradigms are all about interactivity, audience, multimedia as a new language and hyper-text as the new grammar. This demands talents that are distinctive in softer skills (mono media to multi media), astute, data literate and possessing the ability to facilitate transformation of data to knowledge, among other such skills.

The current pedagogy of media skills does not offer such scope for skill building or development. In an environment where legacy media has to compete with the challenges of interactive multimedia narratives and its delivery via a wide range of channels, the fight for existence is real time and disruptions are the new normal.

In this session the moderator along with the panelists will try to decode the way forward where change with continuity can be a viable possibility.


Abhijit Bhaduri Abhijit Bhaduri
Author, Columnist, Management Consultant


Jyoti Malhotra Jyoti Malhotra
President, SAWM (South Asian Women in Media) & National Affairs Editor, ThePrint

Anuranjita Kumar Anuranjita Kumar
Managing Director Human Resources, International Hubs at RBS

Pankaj Bansal Pankaj Bansal
Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, PeopleStrong

2:15 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.

Is Digital Advertising a Virtual Cul-De-Sac?

As a meta point it would be a truism to say that there is nothing like a cul-de-sac. Rather there are new ends but it depends on the outlook, attitude and willingness to transport oneself from a mono media to a multimedia world, from periodicity to real time, from opaqueness to measurability. Since every business has to have a business model for commercial viability, it is imperative that the grammar of all businesses has to be continuously reinvented and re-energised in sync with the respective ecosystem of each business.

In this session the moderator along with panelists will try to solve a halation dilemma in pricing, content and quality of users that will enable a viable business model for the digital foray of newspaper groups.


Vivek Bhargava Vivek Bhargava
CEO, DAN Performance Group, Dentsu Aegis Group


Boby Paul Boby Paul
Head Marketing, Manorama Online

Miten Sampat Gautam Karmakar
Head Business Development and Strategic Partnerships, Times Internett

Tushar Vyas Gautam Mehra
Chief Data Officer (South Asia), Dentsu Aegis Network & CEO DAN Programmatic

3:00 p.m. - 3:45 p.m.

Monetising Digital Content: The South Asia Experiment

The topic in this session is a perennial source of mystery to a question that would work for consumers of any content, in a world where a surfeit of options are spoiling the audience’s choices. There are a variety of models available throughout the world with different outcomes. One sees the new dominant model of how to monetize digital content strategically so that the investment is paid for and the users don’t get de-energized in their appetite for content consumption.

In this session the disseminators of content will deliberate with the moderator the road to a practical approach to monetizing digital content.


Shaili Chopra Shaili Chopra
Founder SheThePeople.TV & Journalist


Sandeep_A Sandeep Amar
Founder, Inaaj and Publishers Digital Lab

Akila Urankar Akila Urankar
President, Business Standard

Steven Spieczny Rajiv Verma
President, INMA South Asia

4:15 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.

High Time Readers Pay For Content In Print Media

Newspapers in India have been damaged and hampered by an “invitation” price that does not pay even for the cover - the direct variable cost of the newspaper. Consequently, there is over dependence on advertisers to subsidise every newspapers’ business model. With the advent of digital news sources, the willingness to pay the cover price has further dwindled. At the same time the user of every media format is suffering from severe lapses in attention spans to enable her to appreciate or consume long formats of content or any content that is not real time or interactive. This is often accompanied by an apathy towards commercial communication. With an audience spectrum from those born in the fifties to those born post 2000, each age group has perhaps developed their unique preferences for news/content consumption. The measurability of digital medium and geo targeted audience that are active participants of content consumption have contributed towards different matrices of cost efficiency for advertisers.

In this session the moderator and panel will discuss ways of balancing/resolving the entry barriers for both the users and the advertisers; how would legacy newspapers and magazines rewrite the rules of content pricing and advertising pricing, providing a new opportunity to turbo charge both the demand and supply side of the business.


Girish_Menon M.K. Venu
Founding Editor, The Wire


Sanjeev Bhargava Sanjeev Bhargava
Brand Director, Times of India

Sridhar Aranala Sridhar Aranala
Head of Sales and Distribution, The Hindu

Basant Rathore Basant Rathore
Senior Vice President Strategy and Business Development, Dainik Jagran

Friday, November 22 - Conference Day 2

8:00 a.m. - 9:00 a.m.

Registration and Welcome Coffee

9:00 a.m. - 9:10 a.m.

Welcome Back

Bhaskar Das Bhaskar Das
Conference Curator
@bedee0805 Bhaskar Das LinkedIn

9:10 a.m. - 9:55 a.m.

Newsroom Transformation: How to Drive a Culture Change

As technology merges entry barriers in every industry, it is also affecting the media landscape. What is in store for news in the digital era and what will form a clear path forward for monetization strategy and content syndication is yet to emerge. But what has already been manifestly clear is that mainstream media would increasingly find themselves a step behind in reporting of news worldwide vis a vis open networks taking information instantly, widely and in accessible packages. As readers and viewers seek more immediate methods of information delivery alongside validation and cogent analysis, it becomes imperative to an organization’s survival to adjust their goals, method and organization structure to meet the changing demands of the new audience. Perhaps the business of journalism in the mainstream media would become less extractive and more collaborative. Global connectivity will introduce new contributors to the supply chain. But all the above aspects would only be possible in established news organizations consciously moving towards attitude transformations in the newsroom where audience data literacy and ability to moderate modern technology equipment would drive culture change.

In this session the speaker will talk about the roadmap to change, and integrate real world examples of such changes in a variety of organizations from across the globe.


Jaspreet Bindra Jagdish Mitra
Chief Strategy Officer and Head of Growth, TechMahindra

Fireside Chat:

Anup Gupta Anup Gupta
Managing Editor, Integration, HT Media Ltd

9:55 a.m. - 10:40 a.m.

Business Models That Are Working Globally and Relevant For Print Medium

The changes that have been sweeping the world of business have made many businesses redundant. It is the general belief that a company’s demise is caused by an infliction called VUCA - Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity. But in reality, businesses die not always due to VUCA but due to corporate myopia, hubris of success and excessive attachments to existing business models. For business process continuity, a transformation from a `fixed mindset’ to a `growth mindset’ has to be regularly explored.

In this session the speaker will examine various typologies of successful business models. This session will further guide delegates towards the importance of periodically questioning the existing and future business models to be in sync with the changing landscape of businesses.


Nimisha Jain Ankush Wadehra
Partner and Co-lead Media, India, Boston Consulting Group

Fireside Chat:

Pradyuman_M Pradyuman Maheswari
Editor-in-Chief & CEO, MxM India

10:40 a.m. - 11:25 a.m.

Navigating Digital Platforms For Growth

Technology today has ensured that the future of a business can be imagined vividly and transparently. From technologies that alter lives (increase productivity, safety, quality of life, etc.) to future considerations (creating on line identities, resisting political change, cyber terrorism, countries operating simultaneously in both physical and virtual worlds), more often than not the digital medium is perceived as more a vice than virtue, because of our increasing dependence on digital platforms. Concerns like invasion of privacy, manipulation of data, cyber fraud and others, act as a potential nemesis of the digital world.

In this session the speakers and the moderator will talk about how to navigate and leverage the world of digital ecosystem; explore ways of competing and collaborating with other companies to create and capture value; deliberate on how machines can expand organizational human time; speak of ways to learn techniques of assembling teams to experiment with new ideas; and, eventually, revisit hardwired core beliefs and reinvent an organization’s play book for a thriving digital future.


Puneet Gupt Puneet Gupt
COO, Times Internet


Milind Khandekar Milind Khandekar
Digital Editor, India, BBC

Bharat Gupta Bharat Gupta
CEO, Jagran New Media

Bharat Gupta Shouneel Charles
Executive Vice President, Times Network

12:00 p.m. - 12:45 p.m.

Mobile and Consumer Evolution

The smartphone has emerged as the primary screen of choice from which to consume a variety of content at the users’ personal prime time. The affordability of the ease of use of the device and content has created new benchmarks of an engaged audience.

In this session, Neeraj Roy from Hungama Digital Media, will walk the delegates through the evolutionary journey of mobile phones which has contributed to the continuous evolutionary trajectory of consumers in general across a variety of users.

Hearing about a mix of global and Indian experiences in this space will enable the delegate to get a preview of the new world that is dominated by an instrument that fits in the palms of their hands.


Neeraj Roy Neeraj Roy
Managing Director, Hungama Digital Media Pvt Ltd

Fireside Chat:

Rajesh_S Rajesh Sawhney
Co-Founder, InnerChef and Founder, Global Superangels Forum

12:45 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.

The Changing Paradigm For Editors: A Perspective On the Transformative Time For Journalism

Editors across the world have already confronted a new paradigm of content dissemination due to a number of factors mainly ranging from the audience to the user, from format to content, from mono media to multi media, from periodicity to real time, from scarcity to bundance, from distribution to access, from linear to hyper text, and from data to knowledge, among the very many examples that are out there.

This calls for aggressive transformation for journalism per se. There is no single answer to these challenges. Not to mention decoding fake news.

In this session the moderator and the panelists would deliberate on how to save this changing paradigm in an ambidextrous way.


Sevanti N Sevanti Ninan
Media Commentator, and Founder-Editor,


Siddharth Varadarajan Siddharth Varadarajan
Founder Editor, The Wire

Ritu Kapur Bahl Ritu Kapur Bahl
The Quint

Anant Nath Anant Nath
Editor, the Caravan and Executive Publisher, Delhi Press

2:30 p.m. - 3:15 p.m.

What Will CEOs Do Now: A Discussion On Consumerism

In today's world unless a news content provider uniquely positions it's content and delivers an indelible experience, audiences will not stick to the offering. With rising competition, any new entrant can inject friction in the mind of a supposedly satisfied consumer. Value added complementarity and quality of experience while consuming content are dominant factors contributing to stickiness.

What matters is how to create content that upgrades and adds value to the audiences' requirements. The study of audience pattern of consumption needs data literacy, leading to development of insight and foresight on a dynamic basis. It is perhaps a myth that audiences do not want to pay for content. Empirical evidence of Netflix, Amazon, The Economist do not corroborate such a perception. Value added content in a world of plethora of sources is critical for survival.

In this session, CEOs will try to explore routes for value added content that will be a differentiator for news media, in a low trust world, eliciting legitimate value for the effort journalists put in creating content and become the harbinger of a new business model for news media.


Bhaskar Das Bhaskar Das
Conference Curator¬
@bedee0805 Bhaskar Das LinkedIn


Praveen Someshwar Praveen Someshwar
Managing Director and CEO, HT Media Ltd

Vinay Maheswari Vinay Maheswari
Executive Director and CEO, Sakshi Media Ltd

Pawan Agarwal Pawan Agarwal
Deputy Managing Director, Dainik Bhaskar Corp Ltd
Pawan Agrawal LinkedIn

3:15 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.

What Will CEOs Do Now: A Discussion On Advertising

Advertising as a road to monetisation is the centrepiece of news media's business model. The more premium the audience, the more premium, advertisers are usually ready to pay. This has been the axiom of the newspaper industry for long. But with the advent of the internet and shift in consumer audience behaviour, inter category migration of attention and engagement has become a reality. It has resulted also in its wake, a redistribution of advertising investment. Besides, any derived business will always be affected by air pockets in the economic environment and sectoral environment of an advertiser. Transformation of business cycles in turn results in the business models of the newspaper industry facing strong headwinds. Advertisers want more bang for their buck of investment in various media and get demanding about the outcome matrix, RoI and proof of quantity and quality of consumer immersion. And finally the tendencies of ad avoidance by the consumer has proved to be the proverbial last straw on the camel's back.

This panel is for the CEOs of revenue functions in news media companies to find a solution that would take care of the various imperatives mentioned. This panel would jointly calibrate a way forward to circumnavigate the unfolding grammar of monetisation.


Srinivas Rao Srinivas Rao
National Director Buying, MediaCom


I_Venkat I Venkat, Director
Eenadu Group

Suresh Balkrishna Suresh Balkrishna
Chief Revenue Officer, The Hindu

Rajeev Beotra Rajeev Beotra
Executive Director, HT Media Ltd.

Sivakumar Sundaram Sivakumar Sundaram
President, Revenue, Times of India Group

Suresh Balkrishna Satyajit Sengupta
Chief Corporate Sales & Marketing Officer, Dainik Bhaskar

4:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.

News Media Outlook: What's Over the Horizon for Publishers

This closing keynote will take the delegates on a journey through all the pertinent developments in the news media space from across the world, the current and emerging global best practices being deployed, a vision for the applications to the South Asia market, and a snapshot of the cutting edge movements we can expect in the very near future. This will be a session for the delegates to be brought up to speed and what to lookout for in the coming future, on the entire news media ecosystem.

Earl Wilkinson Earl J. Wilkinson
Executive Director and CEO, International News Media Association (INMA)

@earljwilkinson Earl J. Wilkinson

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