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WSTA to address changing needs of consumer at this week's annual conference

Published:  24 September, 2013

How well equipped the wine and spirits industry is in adapting to changes in consumer demand will be the central focus of the Wine & Spirit Trade Association's annual conference taking place in London on September 25.

To help give an outsider's view, Lord Black of Brentwood, executive director of the Telegraph Media Group and a Conservative Life Peer (pictured), will look at how the newspaper industry is transforming itself to keep up to date with changes in technology and consumer demand, and how readers now want to consume their news. He will also offer first-hand insight into the challenges of operating in an industry under imminent threat of new and significant regulation.

Speaking ahead of the conference, Lord Black said: "In a relatively short space of time the newspaper industry has had to adapt to fundamental changes in consumer demand - driven and facilitated by technological change. The physical product, the business model and the culture of readership have all changed at great speed. While change brings with it great challenges, it also provides an opportunity to review current business models and respond to consumers' needs.

"There is a similarly significant change in the future shape of regulation. The industry is making rapid progress in establishing a new and effective system of self-regulation, which is vital to the maintenance of press freedom and indeed to the reputation of Britain's media across the globe."

To discuss the issue of consumer engagement futher will be a panel debate featuring Barry Clark of the Future Foundation; Huw Pennell, managing director of Maxxium UK; Rebecca Smart, chief executive of Osprey Publishing; and Jon White, previously marketing director at Kimberly Clark and chair of the executive committee of ISBA (the voice of the British advertising sector).

Miles Beale, the WSTA's chief executive, said: "I am thrilled that we have such a high calibre of speakers from a range of industries who are well placed to offer a fresh perspective on the challenges facing our trade, as well as ideas for meeting the needs of today's consumer."

You can still get tickets to the conference from Louise Vaux - email Or you can follow the conference on Twitter at #wstaconference.