Sanjeev Kotnala: Media needs a makeover in the visual digial world

08 Jul,2015

By Sanjeev Kotnala


One of my friends not from advertising and media world was working on a presentation for his Senior Vice President. A part in it dealt with the current status and future trend in the media and entertainment scene in India.  Somewhere, he decided to bring it alive pictorially in the digitally visual driven world.


Once you have the presentation format and slide layout, life become easy. Now he was concentrating on visual aiding the same. He did what any other self-respecting-professional in his place would have done. He Googled and set out in his search for the best representation in sync with the presentation thought.  What Google played back was just amazing.


If he was an outsider and was neither Indian nor PIO, I would understand his dilemma.  He  was completely dependent on the digital visual signatures and traces for his impression and perception about India. Truly the images that were staring back would represent this country but in early 1990’s.


It was nothing complicated and this is not something exaggerated. He Googled for few simple terms like ‘Reading Newspaper India’, ‘Watching television India’, ‘Media watching Cinema India’ and ‘listening radio India’ etc. The selection of pictures that he found himself staring on his screen projected an image that we all would vouch to be misguiding. But then he had used a completely trusted reliable global resource and an effective reference source even for advertising and communication.


This too in an era where the government is shouting the gigital mantra few times every week.


Surprisingly, the problem progressively decreases as we move from newspaper- Category to English News paper – Sub Category to TOI- a Brand.


Again if you search for  ‘Reading Dainik Bhaskar’, the image that you get are much nearer to what the brand team may associate and want to see in an ‘egosurf’ results.


Now, this is not an isolated case. The problem remains when you search for other medium be it TV, Radio or outdoor.The search keeps throwing up throwing up images like sea throws garbage on marine drive after high tide. The digital visual imagery does no justice to the status.


So I am not sure, whose job it is to intervene and ensure that the first page of media image search, reflects the true picture. Is it the duty of the brands? It is definitely whenever it’s the brand in question. And they are doing a decent enough job. Maybe they need to just tweak their digital feed.  The beautiful pictures both category, brand and their audience which is much part of the B2B or B2C communication be properly tagged in this unforgiving highly dynamic digital world. Maybe it is a role of the industry associations that represent these media. Otherwise in a longer term we will find no change but people blaming  ‘Made in India’, ‘Swatch Bharat’, ‘Incredible India’ and maybe even a foreign hand for the same.


Let me be honest, I am not sure if the search originated at LA or London, would the Google algorithm would have served the same images.  But, that is neither important nor the point being made.


I did ‘egosurf’ myself to check if I am digitally alive, relevant and updated. At least, I could see the areas I should be working on.


Maybe it is time that we do an ‘egosurf’ for the category, brand and associated consumers imagery and take some steps to correct as much as possible. It will not only work for the media but also the country.


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