Cocktails and Tablets: Delegates and exhibitors connect at INK+BEYOND

Every year, Canada’s national newspaper conference sees hundreds of newspaper delegates congregate for two days of speaker sessions, awards galas and an extensive industry trade show with exhibitors who travel from across the country and the United States to show off their latest products and services.

The annual INK+BEYOND trade show allows newspaper publishers, editors and other executives to connect with industry suppliers that are reinventing old practices for the digital age and providing new tools and software to track how people get their news, and how publishers can capitalize on it.

This year’s trade show saw a number of returning exhibitors including e-solutions company Shoom, and RAM, a research and analysis system that measures how advertisements and articles are read and understood.

A number of new exhibitors also joined the conference for the first time this year including Ad Hub, Canada’s first and only online print advertising marketplace; First Genesis, a supplier of reclosable zipper bags and rubber bands, and ScribbleLive, a live blogging software company that partnered with Newspapers Canada on the INK+BEYOND conference live blog.

INK+BEYOND reporter Matt Dusenbury had a chance to interview some of the exhibitors on Thursday, April 26 during a special cocktail hour sponsored by NewspaperDirect. The networking event gave INK+BEYOND delegates a chance to get up close and personal with some of the exciting new software and publishing tools on offer.

As readers migrate to digital platforms, newspapers are faced with both opportunities and challenges. “There’s no brilliant answer, no silver bullet,” said Richard Sanders of Brainworks Software. “But we’re here to dig in and find what works.”

Brainworks focuses on delivering advertising and increasing circulation for newspapers while strengthening revenue in the process. The company has worked with several publications, including Montreal’s La Presse and Metro News Canada. By exploring digital as well as more traditional options, Sanders thinks newspapers can make up their losses in the marketplace. “Right now papers are faced with the problem of a multiple, fractured workflow…our goal is to unify that,” he said.

Elsewhere on the trade show floor, crowds gathered at a large display cradling several tablets and smartphones, each person waiting their turn to flick and paw at the screens, Beside the exhibit booth, Adobe’s Dave Weinberg answered all of the delegates’ questions as fast as he could, sometimes struggling to be heard over the people around him.

“This,” said Weinberg, pointing at a digital magazine running on a nearby iPad, “is a hybrid. It’s the best of print, and the best of the web.”

Weinberg came to INK+BEYOND to demonstrate some of Adobe System’s latest publishing tools, tailored toward mobile devices. Though several products were on display, it was the tablet publishing software in particular that excited Weinberg. He believes that this will be the game-changer