Introducing: Media Matrix, a new weekly column by Paritosh Joshi

03 May,2012

By Paritosh Joshi


A young man who currently works in one of the Big Three television networks dropped by for some career advice last week. After graduating from business school, he has spent almost five years at the job, the first two in Ad Sales and the next three in Marketing. He feels like he is beginning to stagnate and has raised the issue with his boss. Boss suggested that he move back into Ad Sales.


What would you advise him?


If he planned to be in the broadcast industry for the long haul, say the next decade, I suggested that he stay in Marketing. If it was just the next two or three however, he was likely better off shifting back to Ad Sales.


Seems cryptic? Hang on, we should soon see why.


Marketing’s role at most Indian broadcasters only comes in when all aspects of the channel, show or event have already been finalized. All that remains is to build awareness of the impending launch to try and ensure the quickest possible pace of sampling among viewers. Talented creative agency is called in and briefed. Wit, emotion, action and drama are poured in and out pops a striking, often award winning, campaign. All that remains to be done is splashing out a large sum on a media plan and the job is done.


If you learned your Marketing at one of the putative Universities of the discipline, P&G or Unilever or one of the beverage majors for instance, you would expect to lead, not follow the process and centre every decision at each stage on the consumer. It would probably offend you to be treated merely as a deliverer of advertising and media campaigns. Given the circumstances, you would want to shift closer to either the Content or the Ad Sales side of the business, where the action really was.


Things are going to start changing. As soon as July 1, 2012 actually.


For as long as we’ve had C&S TV inIndia, going on 20 years now, the biggest impediment in its expansion has been limited bandwidth due to analog delivery. With capacity of less than 70 channels delivered at indifferent resolution and scratchy audio, the biggest challenge before a channel is to get distribution at whatever cost. Once this hurdle has been negotiated, it enters a relatively limited range of options available in any given genre. The rest depends on casting as wide a content net as possible. Almost every channel tries to be all things to all viewers.


Mandatory digitization arrives in the big metros on July 1. In a fell swoop, channel choice is set to grow three-fold or more. Costs of distribution should fall rather sharply, removing a significant entry barrier and opening doors for many more content providers. Inevitably, the days of every channel wanting to be ‘One size fits all’ must give way to specific consumer needs driving product design. International channels already show this precision in proposition and content. Comedy Central makes no bones about what it stands for and will stay close to the promise. Fox has a whole portfolio of well-designed channels that identify and then single mindedly go after a tightly defined benefit.


And make no mistake. This is the direction where all of Indian television is headed; the era of the Marketing-led broadcasting business.


Paritosh Joshi was until recently CEO, Star CJ. He has been a marketer, a mediaperson and been a key officebearer on industry bodies. He can reached via his Twitter handle @paritoshZero


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One response to “Introducing: Media Matrix, a new weekly column by Paritosh Joshi”

  1. Miss.Aarifa Juliet Khan says:

    Paritosh Matrix : Interesting Article,awaiting for many more to follow soon..!!