#FF14 Day 2: Despite advent of multiple platforms, television still rules

14 Mar,2014

By A Correspondent


With the explosion of a host of content delivery platforms in India, it is increasingly becoming demanding for traditional mediums to spruce up their offering and do it in a manner that is platform-agnostic. The observation is particularly true for the medium of television that is being confronted with newer challenges as a host of platforms are making a beeline to offer content in their own unique ways.


The session on ‘Television is Dead – Long Live Television’ on day 2 of FICCI Frames discussed how content providers can reach out to consumers in a multi-platform world and who will be the ecosystem winners and losers in the future. The panelists comprised of Anuj Gandhi, Group CEO, Indiacast Media Distribution; Sanjay Gupta, COO, Star India and Todd Miller, CEO, Celestial Tiger Entertainment. The session was moderated by Vivek Couto, Executive Director, MPA.


Mr Couto began by shedding light on how the traditional medium of television was still ruling the viewership pie and was not being as impacted by the emergence of other digital options including mobile. He presented the example of a developed market like US that was still seeing a healthy growth trend. Asserting that the future will be about consolidation, Couto said that the medium needed to get away from its garb of being a defensive medium and rather play the role of being an aggressor.


Sanjay Gupta began by taking the audience back to a decade ago where it was prophesied that the medium of print would die with the invasion of television. “But that is obviously not the case with the medium of print growing by two times its total share today. We therefore are living in exciting times as new mediums are providing newer opportunities.” Mr Gupta advised that instead of looking at it as a TV business, the players should be platform-agnostic and receptive of changes that the newer platforms have to offer.”


For Anuj Gandhi, the last two years were indeed exciting for the Indian broadcast industry largely for the digitization exercise that was undertaken on a national level. “While there were more than 40 companies that were launched, more than half of them shut down after facing challenges. The problem is that we lack scale,” said Gandhi. Mr Gandhi affirmed that it was still looking at opportunities on the digital platforms in terms of providing content for ‘binge viewing’ format.


Todd Miller pitched in by saying that whatever the prevailing trend, the important medium to connect with the viewer still continues to be television. Despite the emergence of multiple platforms, television will still be the preferred vehicle as that is where the viewer’s tend to be the stickiest, he said.


Offering an advice to the audience, Sanjay Gupta said that there was no attempt being made in terms of scale for viewing content of choice on linear platforms. “That is a challenge that the content creators need to resolve,” he said.


According to Anuj Gandhi, the challenge still remains that the bandwidth speeds for accessing data on internet continues to be problematic. And this is despite the explosion of smartphones and tablets in the country. He cautioned the gathering that brands needed to be ready with high-value content when technologies like 4G etc take off. But come what may, television will continue to evolve as a medium and will become more ‘pull’ medium for attracting viewers than being a ‘push’ medium.


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