Paritosh Joshi: _____________ Maketh A Man

18 Jul,2012

By Paritosh Joshi

 

Surely, you are wondering why I chose to leave that first word blank when everyone knows the word that completes the aphorism?

 

A Methuselah of our Media & Communications business came by a few years ago, when I was still gainfully employed and not a lily of the field, to talk about the media and their place in our lives. The conversation made an impression on me, abiding enough that I am compelled to develop it in today’s essay.

 

Let me rewind to my early memories circa 1968.Kanpurhad no local English newspaper. The Times of India would ship theDelhi‘Dak’ Edition to our mofussil outpost. By the time the (now only of distant memory) Toofan Mail with her imposing steam locomotive growled intoKanpurstation with the precious newspaper, it would already be a day late. The news wasn’t yet stale, mind. After all, the only other source of news and current affairs we had, was the nightly bulletin on All India Radio delivered in the richly textured baritones of Jasdev Singh, Ashok Bajpai and their ilk. I must add that the scratchy Short Wave signals that our prized Murphy radio managed to extract from the ether made listening challenging at the best of times. Barring the most momentous of events and emergencies, the world beyond the nearest 10 kilometers was at least two days away. And it didn’t matter. Life, as we led it then, had little or nothing to do with the world beyond.

 

Fast forward to 1977, nearly a whole decade later. We lived inNasikjust 175 kilometers fromBombay. Yes, in those days it was stillBombay.  Here was a city that offered not just one but TWO local (also local language) newspapers, Gavkari and Deshdoot. Times ofIndia,Bombay’s Dak edition would reach us the same day except it probably carried the previous day’s stories. There was still no television inNasik, so we still were served only by the stale newspaper and the highly expurgated radio. Not a lot had changed. Our lives continued to be led in the isolation and serenity of small townIndiaand, quite frankly, we didn’t think we were missing anything.

 

Things began to change with the move toBombayin 1980. Suddenly, a television arrived at home. Black & White it may have been and only for a few hours of low fidelity transmission every day. And featuring exciting content such as missing people’s reports and Krishi Darshan, the farmers’ show, only occasionally spiced up with Chitrahar and Chhayageet. From consuming less than an hour’s worth of assorted media (perhaps half an hour each of radio and newspaper), our days now had at least another hour dedicated to TV.

 

Television continued to grow. Print began to proliferate, not just in the form of a growing range of magazines, but also as a daily in the form of the afternoon or evening tabloid. Soon there was a Mid-Day fan and an Afternoon aficionado; an India Today enthusiast and a Week loyalist; a Stardust addict and a Filmfare feeder. Between all the diversity now available to them, many consumers were spending several hours a day just consuming all the options they were fond of.

 

Cut to 2012. From perhaps 2 or 3 hours of exposure to various media a day, the modern urban Indian probably spends 4 or more hours a day consuming or in some way interacting with one medium or another. And it is no longer just urbanIndiaeither. DTH is available all over the country and a subscriber in the most remote hamlet has to just train its little antenna toward the sky to receive the latest content from around the world, a lot of it for free, in full digital video and Dolby Stereophonic Audio.

 

People are defining themselves by the mix of content they consume.

 

Can there be a segmentation approach that is based on shared commonalities AND uniquenesses in the way people consume the media?

 

Which is why I left that heading blank.

 

It really ought to read:

 

Media maketh the man!

 

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

 

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One response to “Paritosh Joshi: _____________ Maketh A Man”

  1. Abhay Sharma says:

    On a different note, I would say, Media unmaketh the Man. Too much media consumption has made us abnormal nerds and would soon have drastic evolutionary bearings on our species…:-)

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