@FF12: Digital will decide the fate of TV

19 Mar,2012

[youtube width=”400″ height=”250″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r_uR54g7cbI[/youtube]
Video By Shruti Pushkarna

By A Correspondent


When you get a diverse set of panellists together to discuss a medium that’s been changing the way media functions in the country, there is bound to be endless debate on how the medium is preparing itself to face the oncoming challenges and opportunities of the future. And so when the panel discussion on ‘TV’s Many Personas: Evolution of Business Models and Technologies in the Digital Era’ took off, it was interesting to see the panellists move away from the usual banter surrounding the medium to the more serious and in-demand topic demanding attention – impact of digital on the medium of television. The panellists comprised Tarun Katial, CEO, Reliance Broadcast, Punitha Arumugam, Group CEO, Madison, LV Krishnan, CEO, TAM and Vishal Malhotra, Business Head – Digital, ZEEL. The session was moderated by Rajiv Makhni, Managing Editor, Technology, NDTV.


LV Krishnan of TAM began by bringing to the fore his thoughts on audience measurement as he said, “As digitisation happens, it will be much easier to track consumers; this will be more easy to expedite than what analog does right now given the enormous constraints analog is faced with, including infrastructural challenges, pricing issues, reach, etc.” In fact Mr Krishnan provided a more bullish perspective as he said that in the US and UK, Nielsen had already made a significant progress as they already measure online content (videos), on the mobile and such evolved devices. It won’t be long before that becomes a reality in India too. He also went on to cite an example of a client – Unilever in the US, who was being exposed to the culture of GRPs, TRPs, etc – terms that are more endearing to the Indian setting.


Tarun Katial provided a more holistic setting that his network BIG CBs was adapting to given the impending challenges that digital was casting on the broadcast industry. Mr Katial said that his network was focusing on a few key areas, namely, moving away from the traditional norm of selling DVDs in stores to selling them online and renewing focus around how does it revolutionise and monetise the content that it owns. Katial advocated that the way forward would be for broadcasters to analyse how much they are liked and needed by viewers, basis which they will be able to score an edge over peers in the business.


Punitha Arumugam put forth her points as she bought to the fore 4Es that will redefine the way the industry will function in the future. She said that because of digitisation there is bound to be an expansion in ratings as viewership and reach is expected to rise because of digital. She cited the example of rural cities and towns that are seeing an increasing entry of DTH players in recent times. The second E that she put forth was on behalf of the planning industry as she said that agencies and advertisers were looking at engaging better with their consumers and be able to narrowcast. The third E was the need to bring about efficiency and lastly, the need to encompass all digital streams leading to better measurement. Highlighting the core issues of digital being a nascent medium to advertisers she said, “Clients are indeed excited about being on the digital medium but it is just 5 per cent of the total ad spends and therein lies the problem. This is because most clients still do not know how to go about engaging with digital but all this will change and 2012 is expected to show digital as being the third largest contributor of ad spends ranging between 6-7 per cent.”


Vishal Malhotra, Business Head – Digital, ZEEL said that digital was a new avenue for Zee at the moment and that it had a lot of catching up to do with what other players were offering. But it was doing enough on its part to appease audiences watch content of their choice through Ditto TV, their newly launched venture.


Mr Krishnan added further by stating that there were several myths that could be busted with digital. He said that there is a new concept of destination viewing that is evolving which will not necessarily guarantee more reach but it will guarantee enhanced reach. Another myth surrounds the viability to pay for content that is accessed, especially in the rural areas. With rural areas still finding it difficult to accept the high cost of service, the ability for content to go pay will need a revisit in marketing strategies especially in rural areas. And the biggest myth would be around measurement as content would be measured across multiple platforms like TV, iPads, mobile, etc and not through mediums as is being done now. That may bring about a significant shift in the viewing patterns of consumers, he said.


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