Monday, April 20, 2009

Indian Media & How it will evolve in the next 5 years

Indian media history

The history of Indian media dates back to year 1887, when Bal Gangadhar Tilak launched Kesari. But the history dates back to Hickey's Bengal Gazette or Calcutta General Advertiser which was launched in 1780. Through the rulers of Indian Colony had their own news paper and international editions of newspapers available then for their updates. The main job of the media then and now remains the same of informing the consumers about the goings-on in the society.

Mahatma Gandhi had often used media to lobby against imposing of new laws by the British government. Like, way back in 1906 when the British government imposed new poll-tax Zulus in South Africa, Mahatma Gandhi often wrote column in ‘Indian Opinion’ to create awareness about the ill-effects of the new tax. Also, when in India he used to send press notes to media providing them with information on the Congress proceedings, freedom struggle, etc.

Shahid Bhagat Singh used media to convey his message during his court trial period. These trials were attended by journalists who conveyed his message across to them, which in turn reached the citizens and freedom fighters of India i.e. the target audiance.

Of late, even novel authors Jeffery Archer have demonstrated the use of media through his novels Cane & Able and Prodigal Daughter. So, media has played a big role during the Indian freedom struggle by conveying message and action plan of the freedom fighters to the common people, while on the other hand the authors have created stories based on the media and its involvement in the story characters.

Present scenario of Indian media

Media has greatly evolved since its nascent stage, since its printing days. Earlier it was only print media, and then came radio channels, with the opening of the television medium, the media sector witnessed the launch of electronic media, further evolution saw the birth of internet. With the launch of each new medium the consumer started receiving news quicker.

Usually, print media takes atleast 24 hours for the news to appear, radio and television procure within 24 hours, while Internet takes probably less than an hour to go online and reach the readers. Through the Indian consumers have seen and experienced different mediums there is yet a lot to come.

At present, in the Indian media scenario there is a battle between the publications and electronic media for exclusive content. This led news channels/publications to define the news they will be covering in terms of general news, financial news, technology news, political news, lifestyle, movies, etc. With the growing number of publications and TV channels the journalists have started sensitizing all the news to gain TRPs. But this trend is slowly growing towards nsumers’ oriented content, because the consumer is the king and viewer ship matters.
This was the same era blogs started gaining some popularity, but still they were in a very nascent stage and consumers were hardly referring to blogs for news, also the print and television media was criticizing the bloggers for their credibility.

But matters changed when the infamous Drudge Report published Monica Lewinsky scandal and opened a can of worms. The Drudge Report changed the media scenario completely, and blogs got credibility in the minds of the readers.

It is interesting to know how the media evolved with the readers/viewers taste patterns. Below are some of the listed exampled of how media has changed according to consumer taste patterns:
  1. Mid-day the tabloid, Mumbai: It covers news relevant to city in which it runs the edition. Most of the news is about some gossip, sensitize situation, celebrity gossips, etc, but there are some exclusives which it covers using visual aids. These videos are uploaded on Mid-Day website for readers who want to understand the story in-dept. So the readers now can SEE & HEAR the news. The readers can also vote on the news content about there review.
  2. Economic Times a financial publication, India: The publication is the no.1 financial news publication in India. The publication also has online presence through the website so, oftenthe print stories appear on the website. The website is updated every hour with the latest developments in the market; this news might not be available in the print edition. Some of the stories get extensive and in-depth analysis on the website as lot of space is available online, and readers often comment on those stories.
  3. Times Ascent a supplement from TOI: This is a bi-weekly supplement from the Times group free with the Times of India edition. The supplement also has a huge presence online with the Times Ascent website. The supplement has restricted space for stories, so the website offers this platform for most stories. The website has dedicated column for HR heads who often write on new trends, CSR initiatives, interview techniques, etc. This website also has internal content tie-up with website for content sharing, which helps the jobseekers with new HR trends information.
  4. Most of the TV channels have an online presence in terms of videos of exclusive stories and transcripts of the same. The electronic media has evolved to such an extent that each show can be seen live on the website. So viewers at any location can watch their favorite shows.
  5. With more consumers interested in blogs, the senior journalists often run official blogs connected to the publication/TV channel websites. The journalists share their views on these blogs, which are related to the economic scenario of the country/city.
  6. ET Now a soon to be launched business news channel: ET Now which will be launched by Times group as an extension to Economic Times newspaper has the teams of ET Now and Economic Times working together along with the website correspondents. With this the sharing of news content across the three media channels will be flexible. Any exclusives will be covered by the electronic media using visual aids, the print media will cover the important aspect of the story and the website will cover full length with in-dept analysis receiving updates every hour. Now to check how the consumers have responded it will be connected to SMSs service. The same news will be Twitted by the consumers and bookmarked on del.ici.ous.
  7. With the media changing according to the consumer taste, the consumer himself becomes a journalist. The Indian media has started to experience it with the launch of CJ (Citizen Journalist) by CNN-IBN and a website dedicated to citizen journalists so anybody can report about any happenings.

Future of Indian media

The Indian media is growing at rapid speed involving different tools available online and mobile to garner readers/consumers attention. But the question remains where it is headed towards? What is the future? How will we experience the news or how to get readers involved in the story?

Some new medium for the media industry which will become a common place for the consumers/readers in the future are as follows:

  1. Podcasts -
  2. Electronic paper -
  3. News on mobile -
  4. Info-entertainment – Information combined with entertainment, so consumers get information through entertainment shows.
  5. Social networking -
  6. Professional bloggers -
  7. Bluetooth 4.0 – For sharing information
  8. Skype -
  9. Mobile 3G enabled

The future of media is highly unpredictable with the number of innovations in the space of communications are increasing. With the rise of alternative communication mediums the news will be more factual and statistics proven for the consumers to understand. In the future the content matter will be less and visuals will be more as consumers will like to grasp and understand the story faster wasting less amount of time. The films will be of shorter length, so we can watch a whole movie in an hour.

The news on the TV Channels will be easily downloadable by sending a message. Recently launched Mobibuzz TV ( provides content for mobile media, they cover the news which is uploaded on their website, by registering on the website the consumer can select the content he/she wants to see. This content is sent to the consumers’ mobile through MMS. With the launch of 3G platform this content can be easily downloaded on a business phone. These platforms offer the consumers to decide what they want to view and when, so the consumer will be king who decides on the news content. The news will be more consumer centric as the story will have followers commenting and interacting with the journalist.

There is a high possibility of 3 –D news which can get viewers involved and let them experience the story.

With the evolution of media, the public relations industry will evolve with more focus on the brand/product/company specific communication, also the industry will have measuring tools for that communication. This evolution will also impact product communication strategy, which will become innovative and involve the consumers into the product.

Here is a case study on the product communication in the future where the character portraying Mihir from ‘Kyuki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi’ is working in Tata Teleservices Ltd as manager Human Resource dept.

  • The story will revolve around his work-place area promoting the working environment at the company.
  • This helps to promote the new vacancies in the company, when he informs the web development dept.
  • As the work involves interaction with different dept, he will interact with the the sales and marketing dept, so through this the new services and offerings can be promoted.
  • Mhir uses a Tata Nano a common mans car to go for shopping on weekends so promotes the car.
  • Mihir often uses ICICI Bank ATM so the services are highlighted, in turn he starts learning to use the netbanking service, and this informs the viewers how to use netbanking service.

A lot of products can be marketed using this format for the soap-serials, since a lot of different companies will be marketing through this platform, the product placement and communications rates will be inexpensive for the companies. Also with the launch of satellite communications channels like DTH and CAS and the newest form of cable i.e. IPTV brand communication will be a lot easier. The set-top boxes will tap the viewer ship patterns and post that can communicate with the consumers through alternate mediums may be RIFD

However, it will be very difficult to gauge the innovations in media industry. The communication tools available internationally, are now easily available in India. With the rise in demand for the better content the media will provide better and shorter content for consumers. The need for better content will create demand for better PR professionals who will provide all the information required by the journalists. So, it will be important for these professionals to become information centers for the journalists/bloggers. Earlier the corporate communicate dept. was a part in the marketing dept, then with evolution the corporate communication manager started managing the marketing role also. Now the total communication of the company i.e. internal and external is managed by the corporate communication team.
With further evolution, the corporate communications role will also involve the information officers’ role and executive assist to the Managing Director, to advice on the different communication strategies for the company.
Last but not the least: consumer will be the king who will decide what type of new he/she wants and how he/she wants.


Anonymous said...

Indian Media Tamaashaa
Rajesh Unnikrishnan is not the only one who connived with the stock market operators to spread rumours about companies. There are others are well, like Santosh Nair, Shailesh Menon, Sugato Ghosh in ET. These people use their editorial space to help the market operators spreading wrong information about the companies, which make an impact on the stock prices. No prizes for guessing on what they gain from this.

ET should immediately close columns like "Heard On Street", which are nothing but an ideal news planting platforms.

The management should also deploy a team and analyse the corporate stories written by these reporters (Rajesh, santosh, Sugato, Shailesh & the likes)and they will realize that most of the events reported by them have turned out to be false.

There is a proper RATE CARD for various ET columns that big operators flaunt in the market.


Rajesh Chawla

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