Shailesh Kapoor | BCCL 2.0: The Integrated Media Organization

08 Nov,2013

By Shailesh Kapoor

 

The oldest media organization of the country, The Times Of India group, also known as BCCL (Bennett Coleman & Co. Ltd.), completed 175 years last Sunday. In today’s world of instant gratification and media overload, history may hold little significance for many. But with more than a 150-year heritage gap between BCCL and other media bigwigs in the country today, fascination can’t be too far away.

 

Two aspects of BCCL interest me in particular. One, it remains the only true multimedia organization in the media and entertainment industry in India today. While Zee is a TV-cum-print force too, and Living Media has presence across television, print and radio, none of them match the scale at which BCCL has managed to operate across sectors. Their scale and dominance in print and radio is well-known, and the last four years have seen strong consolidation on the television side.

 

But BCCL’s multimedia presence goes beyond these three conventional media. They invested early in the internet, events and OOH businesses, albeit with varying degrees of success. In my stint at Zoom, I got a first-hand understanding of the power of a multimedia organization. There was always an ‘inhouse marketing option’ available to you, no matter which market or audience you wanted to reach.

 

Such cross-promotional opportunities can be a marketer’s delight. If you had the right idea, the system will give you the platform it deserves. At that time, with the TV business being nascent, set processes to exploit such opportunities did not exist. I’m sure they exist now, as one gets a flavor of the same while consuming BCCL products, especially the newspapers.

 

The second aspect of BCCL that interests me is the sales institution that it is. We all hear strong criticism of TOI ‘selling out’ through ad innovations that interfere with editorial content, and paid news via the Medianet platform. I find none of it either surprising or offensive, given the group’s clear sales focus. You can feel upset as a reader, but as a media commentator, you can’t help marvel at how BCCL has reinvented the advertiser part of their business over the last two decades.

 

Many top executives in television today, especially in the ad sales function, come from a Times Response (BCCL’s ad sales division) pedigree. They bring three distinct qualities with them – a leader’s attitude, strong sales processes and an appetite for sales innovation. In just this one way, BCCL’s contribution to the TV industry goes well beyond its TV channels alone.

 

It is difficult to say if integrated media organizations will be in vogue over the next 25 years. But in the era of convergence, integrated players like BCCL will hold an edge over other media giants.

 

Ten years ago, BCCL was primarily a print organization. Today, it has spread its wings. And many like me will be keenly watching its flight ahead!

 

Shailesh Kapoor is founder and CEO of media insights firm Ormax Media. He spent nine years in the television industry before turning entrepreneur. The views expressed here are his own. He can be reached at his Twitter handle @shaileshkapoor

 

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