What Ticks for Indian Consumers/ Men – Rahul Kansal and Meenakshi Menon

18 Sep,2014

Continuing with our extracts from the second edition of the MxMIndia Annual, we present contributions by Rahul Kansal and Meenakshi Menon


‘Men have always been a critical segment for any newspaper’ 


By Rahul Kansal


The Times of India (TOI) is a newspaper that is read by all consumer segments – men, women, young adults, senior citizens and even kids/students for that matter. If I were to choose one consumer segment which has a higher affinity for the brand – that segment would be men.


That, however, does not mean women, kids or young adults do not read the Times of India. If you look at kids as a segment, they’re always hungry for knowledge; they want to he heard, they have an opinion and their opinion is based on a lot of reading which they do at schools, colleges, even on the internet while they are home. Most kids also have access to smart-phones today, so that allows them to stay connected 24×7. So yes, kids are an important segment for a newspaper.




Engaging men: A challenge for Indian media


By Meenakshi Menon


As any woman will tell you engaging men is easy. Keeping them engaged is tough. Keeping them engaged and involved is near impossible. What women know intuitively is what media has discovered much to its dismay.


Sports and News have always been the two broad genres that delivered more males than females. But these two genres were not happy with missing out on the FMCG money! So what did they do? Look at IPL; it is less cricket and more entertainment. In a desire to get large numbers of the female audiences hooked onto cricket, content was modified. Mandira Bedi and her noodle straps became the main draw for female audiences.




Talking about men, they’ve always been a critical segment for any newspaper. In most households, even today, men shoulder the responsibilities of the family – be it income generation, financial planning and security. We have seen a rise in the advertising (in the newspaper) coming from brands that cater to men and that is evident from the number of real estate and financial services ads in the newspaper. How do we engage with our readers on a day-to-day basis? One way of doing that is by making optimum use of media platforms. Print, yes. But also digital. I feel newspapers have a distinct advantage over television.


That is it allows you to create the necessary buzz/impact for a product launch or a major announcement which a company intends to make to the public at large. This, we offer clients via clutter-breaking innovations. Once these innovations are out in the market, we take it online and really get the people talking about it on Twitter, Facebook, Whatsapp etc. We have done quite a lot of innovations in the past and in all the cases clients have got a terrific response.


That’s what TOI delivers. Social media, I believe, does a far better job of building the brand’s prestige than any other medium. And as we all know, everybody is on social media today. At TOI, we try to strike a conversation with our readers across media platforms. In the next six years, I think there will be more brands that would go print plus digital as their core marketing strategy.




If she can become a cricket commentator, I can jolly well join her was the mantra. What started out as a strategy to get the girls has in my opinion backfired because it started boring the boys! The very first IPL delivered a 25+ male audience of 23 million (average of all matches), with the 6th IPL this was 19.53 million. It could be that some men decided to stay away because sports is about guts and glory not waxed chest and manicured eyebrows! The attempt to widen the appeal of IPL and bring in female/family audiences has had some subtle but dramatic impact on male audiences.


The kind of advertising you see on IPL has also changed dramatically. The FMCG brigade is not just present but is moving into a dominant position. You are as likely to see ads for sanitary towels as you are for condoms. Test cricket on the other hand is still a male bastion and the environment is not yet sullied with “Family/ Female” product advertising. Which is why male audiences are still engaged and involved in cricket while IPL is now family tamasha, and thus its ability to engage and involve male audiences is on the decline.


F1 and Tennis on the other hand continue to be male dominated sporting events. These have been able to attract female audiences but in relatively smaller numbers. Globally sports has been a great way of delivering involved male audiences but in India our desperate need to be all things to all people has ended in moving the only sport that we view as a country into a family drama! If you think I am being cynical take a look at our news channels. From promoting movies to fashion houses, tete-a-tete’s with film stars and astrological forecast for the day – everything to bring in the women.


Why is it that our media owners need to soap up every genre? When was the last time you saw a film starlet on a promo tour on BBC, CNN or Al Jazeera? Here again it has been a desire to tap into ad dollars. The appeasement policy of the media has resulted in a situation where genre/channel character is so diffused that very soon every man in this country would prefer to watch the soaps on the GEC channels. In fact the GECs with their new programming strategies are now going to grab the male audiences so women you would end up seeing a lot more men in your TV neighborhood!.





Tomorrow: Friday, September 19:  Women – Raj Nayak and Sathyamurthy Namakkal


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