MxM Mondays: How useful are conferences?

04 Mar,2013


By Johnson Napier


It’s that time of the year when honchos and executives across industry domains squeeze out time from their schedules to catch up on trends and events. It’s the season for conferences and all-day seminars, especially for folk from Media. After the Indian Magazine Congress 2013 that was held a fortnight ago, delegates will fill the halls at Hotel Renaissance, Powai for FICCI Frames 2013.


But while conclaves and industry gatherings do serve a purpose, there have been questions about the quality of discussions and relevance of topics, and whether they have brought about any impact or change. The lack of new ideas at these dos also bothers those who attend the events with the hope of getting something more.


MxMIndia asked industrywallahs what they think of conferences and whether more needs to be done in terms of relevance and generation of new ideas.


Anwesh Bose, Senior VP, DDB Mudra Max

“Well, the ideas are there but the discussions are not well thought of. What happens at most conferences is that things get left at the discussion stage and it doesn’t go any further. There is no effort seen where it comes to implementing solutions. Also, most of the events are sponsor-driven and are not taken seriously. Even something like Goafest is more of a celebration thing than something that is followed at Cannes. So when organisers send out invites they should be serious about whom they are calling and what they intend to achieve by hosting such seminars.”


Sanjeev Gupta, MD, Global Advertisers

“The Indian media industry is at a nascent stage in comparison to western countries. We need to continuously improve our methods, approach and strategy. And for that, we need to have common platforms to discuss our challenges and difficulties with industry experts more often. Trade shows, exhibitions of new technology, conferences, workshops all have various topics to discuss including new trends and growth pattern of the industry. We would like to suggest that these conferences should be more interactive, touch new subjects and discuss data from an Indian perspective.


“The numbers of media conferences in India are still very less, we need to organize more such events in future for the betterment of the industry. We would also like to suggest that we need to organize these shows in Tier II & Tier III cities to understand the needs of rural India.”


Nisha Narayanan, Senior VP – Projects and Programming, 93.5 Red FM

“Conferences are good platforms for germination of ideas and are good conversation builders. When industry leaders from media sit at a forum together, conversations that get built give fresher and newer perspective to issues being discussed. However it has a fair chance of being repetitive if the topics are the same and the policy has not changed.


“For instance since 2006 of phase 2 of FM radio, the radio players have the same issues and regardless of the event, the same issues become rather boring to the audience. Now with phase 3, we hope to engage people with fresh concerns and celebrations.”


Krishna Prasad, Editor-in-chief, Outlook

“Trade conferences provide a legitimate forum for networking and schmoozing. But individuals and institutions which organize and take part in them need to jump out of the box of cliches if they have to fulfil their core mandate, which is presumably to inspire and throw new light. In other words, there needs to be more ‘disruption’, rather than everybody nodding their heads sagely between checking their phones and yawning. And there needs to be more intense questioning of the holy cows, rather than blind acceptance of their received and perceived wisdom.”


Prema Sagar, Principal and Founder, Genesis Burson-Marsteller

“Conferences in India, trade or otherwise, were deeply boring in the years gone by. In recent times, the subjects are more global in scope with local focus. Every expert, speaker and academician is happy to be part of conferences in India…. there are now better speakers with good content and articulation, there is more learning on new subjects, and networking is always a great takeaway. What needs to improve is better planning and execution of events, follow-up papers on subjects that provide further value to those attendees who value the ongoing engagement.”



Srinivasan K Swamy, CMD, RK Swamy BBDO

“Good conferences with a timely and focused theme and a set of good speakers are always relevant. Unfortunately we have too many of these undifferentiated ones. They all have the same topics discussed, the same speakers and more often the same audience! Also in many conferences there is too much selling by the speaker about his company, and that is a put-off for audiences.


“Some introspection is needed before embarking on the next conference on three dimensions: Is the theme addressing the current and the immediate needs of the intended audience? Can we divide this theme into topics that can be looked at closely, multi-dimensionally? Can we get engaging speakers to address the chosen subjects – not something they can repackage from their earlier presentations?”


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One response to “MxM Mondays: How useful are conferences?”

  1. Sanjay Rakecha says:

    i agree with Nisha

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