More than hot air as Indian publishers are honoured for innovation

Three Indian companies and a Kiwi publisher account for 80 per cent of the bright ideas in this year's WAN-Ifra Print Innovation Awards.

India's DB Corp, Malayala Manorama - with a 10 MW wind turbine - and the Times of India were honoured for advertising innovation, sustainability innovation and product innovation respectively, while New Zealand's Stuff won the award for special editions.

The only non-Asia Pacific publisher among award-winners - open to newspaper and magazine publishers as well as advertisers and advertising agencies - was Denmark's Børneavisen, honoured in the products for young readers category.

"Innovation in print is essential for newspapers, and this year's contestants demonstrated a number of creative innovations," said World Printers Forum director Ingi Rafn Olafsson. "It was really inspiring to see this year's ideas."

Anu Ahola of sponsor UPM Communications Papers said that while many people think everything has been done already, "a lot of good ideas are floating around" with some having been developed in innovative ways.

"In this year's awards, it is particularly great to see how quickly our community came up with COVID-19 related innovations in print. This highlights the relevance of printed products for our consumers."

Winners were:

Advertising Innovation: DB Corp

DB Corp, publisher of Dainik Bhaskar, one of India's leading dailies, won the Advertising Innovation category with its "spine card" innovation. The spine card advertisement printed for its automobile client Mahindra & Mahindra, for the launch of their Mahindra Supro Maxi truck, was the first of its kind in India. All-colour 125 mm x 180 (5"x7") spine cards featuring the Supro Maxi truck and logo were pasted in the spine of the second and third pages of Dainik Bhaskar (Hindi), Divya Bhaskar (Gujarati) and Divya Marathi (Marathi).

"One of our core values is being a trendsetter," said DB Corp chief technology officer Adi Batnagar. "Being true to our DNA we created a innovation which stood out and did not miss a single eye."

Product Innovation: Times of India

In the Product Innovation category, Mumbai-headquartered Times of India won with their 'Pour and Reveal" project. The idea was to raise awareness among students about which blood groups could be donated to a compatible group.

Bennett Coleman & Co technical director Snehasis Roy said this was the third time in a row the publisher had won a product innovation award in the competition. "There have been almost 159 different innovations that we have launched," he said. "We could monetise about 59 innovations so far and our revenue is $245 million.

"It's been a great journey so far."

Special Editions: Stuff

The 'Forever Project' from Stuff New Zealand bagged the award in the Special Editions category. The magazine, which is a quarterly special edition, focusses on climate change and sustainability. The first edition of the magazine was published in March 2020 and drew overwhelming feedback.

Editor-in-chief Patrick Crewdson said the project brought together journalists from all over Stuff newsrooms and staff from all around the company to show climate change and sustainability are priorities for the whole organisation.

"We have packaged New Zealand's most innovative and ambitious climate change reporting in a striking and carbon neutral magazine worth holding on to, and a digital hub.

"We have turned this into an opportunity for advertising clients to reach conscious consumers and tell their own sustainability stories and it's a symbol of Stuff's commitment to reducing its own environmental impact through a science based approach."

Sustainability Innovation: Malayala Manorama

In the Sustainability Innovation category, India's Malayala Manorama won with their 10 MW Wind Turbine Project (pictured) an initiative to promote green energy while becoming self-sufficient at their plant in Palakkad, Kerala.

"Our press operations are 100 per cent on renewable energy, generated by captive 10 MW wind turbine generators installed in 2018. Our annual consumption for 21 presses spread across Kerala is about 21 million units whereas the generation is around 26 millions units. This helps us to reduce the carbon footprint a lot," said chief general manager Shibu George.

Products for Young Readers: Børneavisen

Denmark's Børneavisen, a weekly print newspaper for children, was the winner in the Products for Young Readers category. Børneavisen is aimed at children between the ages of nine and 12. The 24-page newspaper has a subscription model and contains news from around the world as well as stories on animals, sports, food, social media, science, politics and so on. The newspaper is completely ad-free.

Said chief executive and editor-in-chief Louise Abildgaard Grøn, "When we launched the newspaper two years ago some people were very sceptical about a print newspaper for children in a digital age. But two years later we have proven them wrong.

"The response has been overwhelming. The print newspaper is the main product, but we are embracing the digital by our own app, which enables the children to be engaged and be involved in the editorial process. Besides that, the app makes it possible for us to be close to the children and understand their world."

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