The MxMIndia Annual 2012: The One Big Idea

17 Dec,2012


By A Correspondent


The word idea may throw up various images. In recent times of a cellular phone company with its ads going ‘honey bunny’. Or its star endorser asking “What’s your idea, Sirji?”.


But, mercifully, the core definition of the word idea stays. For MxMIndia’s first annual, we asked a cross-section of the industry on what’s their big idea for their business… what, according to them, is the concept of mental impression that could change the game for them and others?


The objective was to have an unputdownable issue, but one which the business could benefit from. A volume that senior and entry-level professionals will read and develop their own ‘Big Ideas’. A special issue that students consider necessary add-ons to their textbooks.


While we have over a hundred professionals comprising the Who’s Who of the industry responding to our simple question, there are some who didn’t respond, or were travelling or on vacation, or just too busy to write in by our deadline.


For an industry that has built its fortunes on the premise of ideas, it surely needs some soul-searching to figure what could be the way forward if it has to take a big leap into the future.


It was heartening to see the experts treat our request as a no-holds-barred attempt as they reverted with a bevy of options that had us gasping for more. Some gave their views on a macro level, others out of the experience at their own place of work. While it may be a task to list out the options here, the two favourites that had the seal of approval by most were technology and content. Technology, that would play an integral role in making things work seamlessly in the future, and, the right and proper usage of content with which any domain could create a distinction for itself.


Punit Goenka

Being the biggest by marketshare and popularity, the domain of broadcast had a fair share of ideas that experts thought would make it suitable for the industry’s smooth transition to the future. Sharing one such vision for the future was Punit Goenka, MD & CEO of ZEEL, who had the following to say: “The screens are getting smaller and entertainment too is getting more and more customized. Content, too, on the other hand, needs a fresh perspective, when it comes to this new ecosystem which is in its nascent stage. Avenues for premium and niche content have widened up, and the audience is now in a more acceptable phase than ever before.” Proposing his big idea for the industry, Goenka said that “Narrowcasting is something which I believe has the potential of turning into a big idea which has the scope of altering the broadcasting industry. Surely at this stage, there are immense constraints to it, in terms of internet connectivity, bandwidth charges, cost of devices, etc, but the key is that the future certainly is digital and there are two ways to the same. Narrowcasting would bring in more choices for the viewers, with the influx of new channels and new content patterns.”


Raj Nayak

Raj Nayak, CEO of Colors had an equally enriching idea as he envisioned: “A lot of avenues that were not available earlier like content on mobile etc will start opening up in a big way with 4G. Broadcasters will increasingly be looking up to digital to bring in more viewers and also revenue for the network.”


Providing a vision statement on behalf of the advertisers, media veteran Sam Balsara Chairman & Managing Director, Madison World had the following to share: “From an advertiser’s perspective, the one idea that I would like to propose to advertisers who use TV heavily is to supplement their ad spends in TV, with some spends in at least one other medium – either Print, Radio, Outdoor or Digital, if not a couple. There is considerable merit in balancing quantitative data on Reach, Frequency, GRPs and

Sam Balsara

CPRP with qualitative aspects on how the human mind responds to a stimulus and our experience shows that in majority of the cases where advertising copy quality is average, multimedia campaigns deliver far better on sales and brand KPIs than single media campaigns.”


As for the second-most sought after medium of print, Rahul Kansal, Executive President, Bennett, Coleman and Co. Ltd believed that technology again would be the catalyst that would drive this medium ahead. He said: “Newspapers should be able to engage the readers in a variety of ways and should be able to stimulate all senses of its consumers. What I mean is that print has been largely restricted to having a

Rahul Kansal

one-dimensional appeal where one plays only with visual elements. But what really is stopping us from taking advantage of the technological advances and say, add an audio element to the medium? Or we can even look at stimulating a sense of smell in the print medium. I am not saying that such experiments are not happening but they are few and far between and the need is to increase the frequency of such innovations that will help develop better engagement with our readers.”


While most experts had something good to share about the impact that digital has on their business, a more fine vision was provided by Sanjay Trehan, Head, MSN India who said that to be really meaningful, “the one big idea that could potentially change the face of the digital industry in India must reach people with the kind of content that makes a difference to their lives (Hyperlocal), in a language that they understand (Vernacular) and on a device that is personal as well as ubiquitous (Mobile).” According to Trehan, to be really powerful in today’s digital ecosystem, “an idea must also co-opt the community into the creative process (Social).”


Prashant Panday

Being the most undervalued medium of them all, Prashant Panday, CEO and Executive Director, ENIL (Radio Mirchi) had a sharp message to share as he said, “There is just one simple thing the government must do to do to release the animal spirits of the radio medium – get out of the deep freeze! The deep freeze is apparent. The Phase-3 policy of radio reforms was announced in July 2011. It’s already been 14 months and there is not even a mention of when the auctions will take place. In contrast, the Phase-2 auctions were conducted within six months of the policy announcement in 2006.” Adding another dimension to his appeal, Panday added that there is one other crucial thing the government must do before Phase-3 auctions to change the face of radio. “It must accept the recommendations of TRAI and reduce the ‘separation’ between two adjoining FM channels from the present 800 Khz to 400 Khz. This one single initiative will help double the number of channels in every city.”


Arvind Sharma

Highly accountable for giving clients their due through way of recognition, Arvind Sharma Chairman & CEO, India Subcontinent, Leo Burnett India had the following message on behalf of the creative frat. He said: “I believe that just like the TV dominant era required a new way of thinking about brand communications – brand stories, a new way of thinking about brands is needed today. A way of thinking that will drive synergies through TV & print, social media, smartphones, mall activations, PR and branded content. In my view this new way of thinking will be ‘Participation platforms’.”



Agreeing that the medium of outdoor wasn’t seeing the same rush as the others, Sunder Hemrajani, Managing Director, Times OOH was more straightforward as he pointed out: “Out-of-home in India is in a stage of flux. Though there is a positive momentum in terms of a rapidly growing transit segment, the industry continues to wade through the muddy waters of regulation, measurability, pricing issues & the challenges of creating differentiation.” Advocating a way ahead, Mr Hemrajani said: “In times of flux, what anchors an industry is the ‘big Idea’ – a daring leap of faith that does more than change the rules of the game. It changes the playing field itself.”


Prema Sagar

Though public relations is ignored by many as part of the media and entertainment ecosystem, MxMIndia believes it plays a vital role. Senior practitioner Prema Sagar who is Principal & Founder, Genesis Burson-Marsteller, had the following to share: “The future of Public Relations in India will hinge on how we build trust and manage perceptions in a period when media and communications channels are evolving rapidly. The proliferation of social media as a credible news source comes down to one thing — trust. With so many resources available to get news and information, audiences only seek sources they deem truly credible.” Suggesting a way forward, Prema Sagar said: “In order for our industry to continue forward and keep pace with advancements, we must be transparent and open — what I refer to as ethical influencing.”


Note the comments above are just nine of the over hundred captains of the Indian media and entertainment sector. Also writing in the MxM Annual 2012 is our battery of columnists (in order of their last names): Ranjona Banerji, Jaisurya Das, Paritosh Joshi, Shailesh Kapoor, Peter Mukerjea, Sundeep Nagpal and Anil Thakraney. Plus all members of Team MxMIndia, save those on leave or sabbatical.


With abundant insights and secrets to what could drive several media domains into a successful future, MxMIndia’s Annual 2012 Issue titled ‘The One Big Idea’ is truly a collector’s edition. It is for private circulation only. To lay your hands on this must-read issue and for bulk copies, you could write to


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