Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Choosing the right media career - for YOU

There are literally hundreds of career options in Media. But which one is the right one for you? I get many students who have the wrong notion of what the Industry is about. Some come in with stars in their eyes, seeing only the glamour that is associated with the media. They either want to become actors, news anchors, or someone who is seen on screens.
There are some who think they are great photographers, cinematographers, or DOPs (Director of Photography) as they are called now. But making those short films using a handycam, shooting a documentary with a DSLR does NOT mean that you become a DOP overnight.
Or just because you have directed a couple of short films does NOT make you a Director in the Industry.
Some also are very passionate about going into film production. I have seen many students who, after a few days find that job exhausting, and learn the hard way that they are not fit for the production side. There is also a notion that just because you do a course in Management in Media, you get a management position (which pays more) in media!
I have also met many who think they know all about digital marketing just because they have some great posts on their FB and Instagram accounts, or have a good number of followers. Again, just that much is NOT Digital Marketing.
I am definitely NOT trying to discourage you all. Because there I have so many of my former students who, despite the hardships, 18 - 19 hour days,  exhaustion, still enjoy their job in production. I have many who have learnt the ropes after a lot of hard work and are reaping the benefits, earning super salaries. Some of my students have become independent producer too, while some know much more than me now in Digital Marketing.

What is important is that you should think hard, understand your strengths and weaknesses and recognize them. Don't fool yourself, because the Industry is very clear about one thing... it does not recognize your religion, caste, creed, or your financial status. It recognizes ONLY professionalism.
There HAS to be a balance between your knowledge, your passion, and your skills. Just because you are good at something may not necessarily translate into a rewarding profession - for you.
It is good to look up to someone, but it is important that you make your own way, tread your own path and make a fantastic career in media.
I invite everyone who wishes to make a career in media to meet me. If you have the inclination, I have the time! (Pun intended).
Send me an email, or call 022 39554277 / 78 to fix up an appointment with me. If some of you wish to come in together, you are welcome. We can have a counseling session. I am OK with individuals, or groups.
Come, let's meet. I am Director, MET institute of Mass Media, Bandra. I am giving a brief intro below. You may also email me on my personal email ID: mangesh.karandikar@gmail.com

The author is Director, MET Institute of Mass Media, Bandra, Mumbai. 
MET IMM offers a 360o  practical, hands-on approach with live projects in all its 
Advanced PG Courses in Mass Media Management in 

Advertising
Entertainment (Film, Television and Digital Media Production)
Digital Marketing
Journalism znd Public Relations. 

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

PG in Media - Degree or Diploma?

This is a question I have been often asked during my 16 years in media education. There are benefits and limitations in both. 



So what do you get in a degree course? Well, you get a degree, of course. Along with that you get very good theoretical and conceptual understanding of the subjects. After getting a PG degree, you can further do your NET/SLET and get into the teaching profession, or do your M.Phil., or Ph.D. Teaching is a great profession, and many have made careers in teaching. I too, am a teacher in media! Only, teaching is not just a profession, but a mission. And unless you treat it such, you are bound to fail. And I do make a sincere request. Do spend at least a couple of years in the industry, learn the ropes before you enter the teaching profession. This is for your own good, and more importantly you will do justice to the profession and your students who look up to you.

Alternately, you can enter the industry. But unless you have practical knowledge / training the industry might not treat you well. In many Universities, syllabuses are not updated / revised for years. And then by the time it is, 3 batches are out with outdated knowledge. Secondly, most departments / institutes do not have even the basic infrastructure and equipment to train students even in the basic skills that are necessary along with the knowledge. This is never because the faculty who run the department are not aware, but simply because of budget constraints. Thirdly, faculty who teach are many times hired for their 'degrees' and not for the experience in the industry, or for skills required to teach the new generation of students. Lastly, many Universities have a poor placement record, or actually do not offer placements at all! 

When you look for a degree course, you must check the computer labs, find who is teaching in the courses, how is the industry connect, are there any industry faculty giving the latest 'gyaan' to you, and then choose.

So what about a diploma? Does it have to be a 'recognized' diploma, affiliated to a University, or the AICTE? Well, many students do think so, and parents do too. But does the industry care? Really? Actually, no. The industry cares only about talent, skills, and professionalism. What is the use of a degree or even a diploma if you don't have the basic skills, desperately needed by the industry today? What is the use of a 'Management' diploma in media, if you are not trained to produce it? You can't 'manage' media, or it's people if you don't know how to produce media content in all formats.

Even in diploma courses, you have to be careful in choosing the right one. Institutes with Diplomas have the flexibility of updating the syllabus. Private institutes usually have good equipment as they are not limited by Government budgets. But you need to find out before joining...Ask the following questions:

Who teaches in the institute? 
Are there any faculty with real industry experience?
How is the curriculum? 
Is it updated? When was it last updated? 
Does the institute have a studio? Sound lab? Cameras and lights? Blue/green screen?
Do students get live projects?
What is the percentage of practical knowledge imparted?
Ask these questions. DO NOT get swayed by those beautifully printed brochures. In a degree course many students are happy with the degree. But how many are actually happy with the degree curriculum, teachers, and institute? This is also valid for a diploma course. So also find, search for students from the institute, get in touch with them and ASK. Try and find alumni and ask them. I am sure you are all adept at Facebook and Google search. There are so many other things you can check. Does the institute call industry experts to guide students? Who gets called? Ask.

In conclusion, I would summarize it as follows:
1. The Industry cares more about professionalism, knowledge and skills than a degree or a diploma.
2. If an institute / university does not have equipment, studios, and industry faculty, or faculty who can train you for the industry, your degree will be good for a Ph.D. further, or the teaching profession, unless you are very talented yourself.
3. Check with existing students and alumni about their institute. Probe. Learn, and then decide.
4. It is a myth that to enter the media industry, a degree is required. 
5. The industry requires and respects talent, dedication, and professionalism, not whether you have a degree or a diploma.

The author is Director, MET Institute of Mass Media, Bandra, Mumbai. 
MET IMM offers a 360o  practical, hands-on approach with live projects in all its 

Advanced PG Courses in Mass Media Management in 

  • Advertising
  • Entertainment (Film, Television and Digital Media Production)
  • Digital Marketing
  • Journalism & Public Relations. 

He is  available for counseling students. Do email : mangesh.karandikar@gmail.com

Sunday, May 12, 2019

For every face you see on the screen, there are hundreds that work behind it.

"Behind every face you see on the screen, there are hundreds that work behind it. And those are more stable professions."


Imagine a film without a story and a script. Of course, you do come across some without any story, pun intended. Or imagine a a news bulletin without a teleprompter, newspaper without a journalist, a film being made without a lightman and the chaiwala, or a travel show without a team of researchers.  I could name HUNDREDS of such professions and job functions without whom, you will simple not be able to produce a media product.

You could say that you you are a YouTuber, independent, operate your own camera and lights, but what about those who did the programming for you? Those who enabled encoding of your videos? You require people, and the media business is not a job, or a profession, in which you can produce AND distribute content without several people working behind the screen.

I salute all those people and all those professions which allow us, enable us to create those dreams on the screen. The only film that I know of (do correct me if I am wrong) which publicly recognized these efforts ON SCREEN was OM Shanti OM by Farah Khan.  I simply loved the last part where all the people behind the scenes were duly recognized. Kudos to her.

The media profession is NOT just about glamour, it is a lot of hard work, sweat and blood, unending hours of work, but it is worth every second, when you see it on the screen, and get applauded.

Films are not just a source of entertainment and time-pass, they allow us to escape from the real world even if for some time, they provide us knowledge and information, make us nostalgic, help in companionship and conversation building, and release tension. Films have their own language, film making is an art, but a film is also a result of hard work, planning, and sweat and blood.
To make a film, one should understand the Language of Film. With this blog post I am beginning a series which talk about the 'Language and Grammar of Films' As film makers, we use a language that not only tells a story, but we also create a product which could have a profound impact on the audiences. We tell our stories in a language that the audience may not understand, but certainly FEEL.

To know more about the courses that will help you enter the media industry, click on :  http://bit.ly/2vFfLTb  And do share the link of this blog...

Do keep visiting.... meanwhile here's something for you...

Do you know what is a low angle shot? It is a camera angle where the camera is place at a lower level, angling upwards, making the character look bigger. So please tell me which one's you remember, the one that you think is the best low angle shot you have seen in the comments section below.

The author is Director, MET Institute of Mass Media, Bandra, Mumbai. MET IMM offers PG Courses in Advertising, Film and Television Production, Digital Marketing, and Journalism & Public Relations.




Friday, May 10, 2019

The Language of Films 1 - Low Angle Shot

"For every face you see on the screen, there are hundreds that work behind it. And those are more stable professions." 

Films are not just a source of entertainment and time-pass, they allow us to escape from the real world even if for some time, they provide us knowledge and information, make us nostalgic, help in companionship and conversation building, and release tension. Films have their own language, film making is an art, but a film is also a result of hard work, planning, and sweat and blood.
To make a film, one should understand the Language of Film. As film makers, we use a language that not only tells a story, but we also create a product which could have a profound impact on the audiences. We tell our stories in a language that the audience may not understand, but certainly FEEL. 
Let's consider the Low Angle Shot. The dictionary(dictionary.com) meaning is as follows:
low-angle shot[ loh-ang-guh l ]
noun (in motion pictures or photography)
a shot taken with the camera placed in a position below and pointing upward at the subject.

So how does this affect the audience? Remember the scene in the Hindi film Dabangg? When Salman Khan kicks in the door of the warehouse and walks inside, remember how the camera is placed? The camera tracks BACKWARDS Salman walking (more about camera movement in a later blog post), and is lower near the ground. The name of the film is Dabangg, right? So shouldn't Salman look like one? So he appears larger then life, and has the Dabangg effect on the audience. What an entry!
If you are a Star Wars fan, remember how Darth Vader is mostly shown in low angle shots. Christopher Nolan has used low angel shots for the 'Joker' in The Dark Knight a powerful image.
Can you remember more such shots? Do comment...

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Selecting the Best Media Institute for your PG

So are you done with your graduation? Just appeared for your final exams? And now looking forward to join a PG Course in Media, Advertising, Public Relations, Journalism, Film making, Television, Digital Marketing?

There are several courses and institutes. But how do you choose? Here are some tips:
  1. Look at the syllabus: Check out the syllabus of the institute. Is it updated? Ask the institute when it was last updated. Does it include the latest requirements by the industry?
  2. Check out the faculty: Media training requires faculty that are trained in the latest techniques and technology. It requires working journalists, working PR professionals, film makers, ad professionals, because that is what gives you the edge over others. See how many faculty are in-house, and check their qualifications and experience in media. Check the list of faculty on the website of the institute.
  3. Contact students, get a feedback: Either when you visit the institute, or search online, connect with students who study in the institute. ASK them how their college/institute is, how is the teaching/learning, etc.
  4. Connect with the alumni: One of the best parameters to judge the standing of an institute is its alumni. Find out from the institute, get names and contact the alumni. If a institute hesitates to give you names of students or alumni, you know what that means!
  5. Industry Connect: How many people from the industry visit the campus? How many come in for guest sessions and regular lectures? What is their qualification? Standing in the industry?
  6. Infrastructure and Equipment: Media training CANNOT be taught only in classrooms. Does the institute have a studio, shooting floor, audio recording facilities / recording studio? Does is have a green screen, blue screen? Are students allowed to make sets for their shoots? Does the institute have video editing lab? Does the institute have cameras and lights? ASK these questions. Don't hesitate. It's your right to know.
  7. Internships and Placements: Do you get internship from the institute, or you are left on your own? Which organisations are the students interning with? How many organisations keep returning to the institute for interns?Same with Placements. Where are the students placed? Do students get to make a choice? How many chances do the students get for placements?
  8. MUST visit the institute:You MUST visit the institute before you decide. NEVER fall for beautiful looking brochures and hand-outs. Also, don't believe everything just because it's on the website. VISIT, ASK QUESTIONS. See for yourself the facilities, speak to students, connect with the alumni.
Remember, this is the last frontier before you enter the industry. The industry worships only one thing - PROFESSIONALISM and PROFESSIONAL TRAINING. So be sure, and make an educated choice.

I wish you the very BEST for your future in the world of media.

I am always there to assist you, counsel you. For any queries or concerns, connect with me on my personal email ID - mangesh.karandikar@gmail.com

To know more about the courses that will help you enter the media industry, click on :  http://bit.ly/2vFfLTb  And do share the link of this blog...

Do keep visiting....

The author is Director, MET Institute of Mass Media, Bandra, Mumbai. 
MET IMM offers a 360o  practical, hands-on approach with live projects in all its 

Advanced PG Courses in Mass Media Management in 
  • Advertising
  • Entertainment (Film, Television and Digital Media Production)
  • Digital Marketing
  • Journalism & Public Relations. 

He is  available for counseling students. Do email : mangesh.karandikar@gmail.com

Friday, March 15, 2019

Digital Mutants - A Reality?

In my last two posts I have written about Digital Mutants, as a hypothesis based on observation, experience and pure guesswork. I am not a prophetic, and certainly not Marshall McLuhan. When I wrote about Digital Mutants, it was just an idea, so I decided to do some research. What I read is not surprising, and at least partly vindicates my stance. 



Here is a small review of the literature I have found:

A study done by researchers in Kings College, London found that there is a 39 per cent difference in the DNA of the highest and the lowest users of social media. They have attributed inherited genetic factors rather than environmental effects to these differences. You can read the full articles here:

Another interesting article detailed what neuroscientist, writer and broadcaster Baroness Susan Greenfield addresses in her recent book entitled “Is Social Media Changing our Brain? You can get the gist of in this short video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HffWFd_6bJ0

Another study found that 48 percent of the individual differences in CIUS (Compulsive Internet Use Scale) score were influenced by genetic factors. Here's the link to the research article: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25582809

I also found an article which says meditation can alter your DNA which is essentially a psychological process affecting your physiology. For research minded readers, there are several articles and research papers online. In conclusion, scientists and researchers will prove if I am right or wrong. 

For me, the world of Digital Mutants is a reality.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Digital Immigrants? No More!

Marc Prensky coined the terms Digital Immigrants and Digital Natives in 2001. He explains how Digital Immigrant teachers - those who were not born in the digital age have learnt to adopt the new technology, and learnt to teach Digital Natives - the younger generation who are born digital.



I always call myself a successful digital immigrants someone who have not been just a witness, but an active participant in this digital media evolution. I have imbibed the digital DNA into my own, and sort of become an instant 'digital mutant' several times over, simply to survive, and not perish in the digital tsunami. I teach digital media production and marketing to students doing their postgraduate courses in advertising, entertainment, and digital marketing at the MET Institute of Mass Media, and have to be constantly on my toes, upgrading myself, to remain relevant.

But that will change soon - sooner than we thought. India has one of the world's cheapest data connectivity, and with fast proliferating mobile networks, it has spread to even the remotest corners of the country. With the country also being one of the youngest in the world (about 45% of the population is between 18 and 35 years of age - and that's HUGE), there will be no place for the 'Digital Immigrants', they will be extinct anyway.

People ask me that since I write so much about digital media, is it good or bad? Well, if you get enslaved by it, its bad, whereas if you enslave it, its good. But more than that, it is time that we, digital immigrants accept it as a way of life, and not treat digital technology is the 'other'.I know many of my friends who used to be apprehensive, and even abhor digital technology; now they all have started using it. They have not choice but to do so.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

A World of Digital Mutants?

For people in their 50's like me, the evolution of digital technology has been surprising, overwhelming, disrupting and overwhelming. I had not even seen a television set till I entered senior college, had seen the computer only in SciFi and James Bond movies let alone touch it. I never thought I would ever make a film, simply because my family did not have deep pockets. For us, even owning a telephone was a luxury, and no thought of a mobile phone ever crossed our minds.

I remember the time when I was first introduced to a computer in 1989; I was almost afraid to touch it. I remember how gingerly I used the mouse. I bought my first computer in 1992, which was a 386, with a 120 MB hard drive and a 4 MB RAM! And when there came along a 1.2 GB hard drive, we thought it could not get better than this.

For the last about 100,000 years, we, the Homo sapiens have evolved with nature. We have got used to the sun, the moon, the weather, and the sunrise and sunset diurnal cycle. We feel the seasons changing, and we have adapted accordingly. We did accept the industrial evolution, survived the wars, and so many catastrophes, but put digital technology on the timeline of evolution, and it forms just a very small fraction.



The life expectancy of humans is about 75 to 80 years. Some of us, who were fortunate to have been exposed to this technology adapted to these changes and adopted the new technology, whereas some simply feel lost in its labyrinth. Rather than evolving with the digital technology, which is necessarily a slow, adaptive process, we have to simply accept it. So we pounce upon the latest gadgets, imbibe them into our system, use them, and get ready for the next fast change. Its almost like we include a piece of the digital DNA into our own, transforming, mutating into a new being.

How else do we explain the dependence on technology, the socio-economic problems that are so prevalent today? But more on that later....

There is no time to EVOLVE, because if you don't mutate, you do not survive.

Quite simply, we are (turning into) a world of Digital Mutants. 

Saturday, August 18, 2018

No Love Lost?

This is for my students who are learning to analyse and write film reviews.

I came across an article in The Times of India online edition about box office collection of two films released on Independence Day - 'Satyamev Jayate and 'Gold'. I have copied a paragraph here for reference:

John Abraham's film clashed at the box office with Akshay Kumar's 'Gold' but there is no love lost here. Speaking about the clash in a previous interview, John told PTI, "Akshay is an actor in 'Gold', and I am an actor in 'Satyamev Jayate'. It's a producer's decision on both sides. So I have no say in that at all. As far as competing with Akshay is concerned, I want to make it clear that he is my senior in the industry."




Pay attention to 'but there is no love lost here'. I was surprised by the use of the idiom, because I haven't come across any article that show any animosity between John Abraham and Akshay Kumar, and nor do his words reflect anything but respect towards Akshay.

'No love lost' means dislike or hatred. The idiom has been wrongly used.

Here's a link to the original article (as on 18th August, 2018):

John Abraham's film clashed at the box office with Akshay Ku .. 



Tuesday, June 26, 2018

The Pandit and the Boatman - Theory and practical knowledge

I suppose everyone knows about this story of the Pandit and the Boatman from Kashmiri folklore. No? Well, here it is...

Once a Pandit hired a boat to cross a river. Bored, he asked the boatman whether he had read the Upanishads. When the boatman replied in negative, the Pandit said that he had wasted his life. With every such question, the Pandit kept saying how the boatman had wasted his life.

Suddenly, the boatman asked the Pandit if he knew swimming. The Pandit replied that he had read all the books about swimming. The boatman replied, "Then you better put what you read into practice because the boat is sinking!" The river water had risen and it was raining heavily by now.

Needless to say, the Pandit started drowning. The boatman said, "You have wasted all your life by just reading about swimming. You should have also practiced."

(Image Source: https://i.ytimg.com/vi/jc8XyK2bPgI/hqdefault.jpg)

Though theoretical knowledge is immensely valuable, it is useless if you don't put it into practice, at least in the media profession. And that is so true in all forms of media. Simply knowing how a camera functions, or how to make a film is just not enough. You need to practice what you learn. The more you write, the more films you make, the better you get.  Sadly, media education today is more about theory than practical training. As a media educator, I have been trying to make changes in the teaching-learning methodology.

Today, at MET Institute of Mass Media, I have been able to put together a syllabus which provides more than 75% media training in an intensive, hands-on practical format. We have also made sure that the marks our students get during these practical exercises are their final marks. This makes us devise newer ways to make our sessions more fruitful and also puts an onus on the students to do better.

How does that benefit students? By the time they complete their course, they are employable and industry ready. Learn more about our courses. Visit our website, or visit our campus, or call 02239554277 / 02239554275.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Why India having only 25% of it's population on the Internet is not such a bad thing

There was a well-written article recently about how only 25% of India's adult population use the Internet, and how it is among the lowest in the world. The article, quoting Pew Research, was not only critical about Digital India, but also had a little negative tone in reporting.

Well, let's look at it from a different angle. When 25% of India's population uses the Internet:

  • The numbers are more than the entire population of US of A 
  • It is almost 3 times that of South Korea! (The article compares our Internet usage with that of Korea)
  • Even with 25% of India's population on the Internet, we have the largest number of Facebook users in the world.
  • From 13% in 2013 to 25% in 2017, the number of Internet users in India has almost doubled

So is the 'only' 25% a limitation? Let's look at it from a perspective of opportunity. Think of the numbers that are not yet on the Internet. India's population is getting younger. The census figures show that 45% of India's population is between 18 and 35 years. It is also true that most if this population has made mobile phones their medium of choice. We are already looking at a trend of the younger generation using the Internet and the mobile phones for - well, almost everything they do. So many of my students have said that they hardly ever watch the television, and prefer watching even the TV shows on their mobile phones. With increasing reach of mobile phones and content being increasingly available in regional languages, it is probable that this 25% will change dramatically over the next few years.

(Image source: https://www.statista.com/statistics/255146/number-of-internet-users-in-india/)


We need to think of the opportunities that organisations will have. Why else are the Amazons and Walmarts so keen to invest their millions here, calling India the next investment destination? Digital Marketing organisations are having a field day, with most businesses jumping the bandwagon to promote their goods online. The digital medium has also created opportunities for small investors, women and home makers to become entrepreneurs, and they have been quite successful.

In conclusion, if ONLY 25% could open up so many opportunities, what would 100%, or even an increase of 10% be like? Remember, we are talking of 10% of INDIA's population!

Friday, June 22, 2018

BMM Graduate? But are you industry-ready? Employable?

What does it take to be job-ready, to take on the media world? Most academic programmes in media in India, offer several courses in all forms of media. Most courses are good, following a standard syllabus, mostly as per the guidelines given by UNESCO. Many institutes, however, lack the basic infrastructure and equipment required to train students in the modern form of media content creation. I have many friends across the country who can vouch for that.
It is always a struggle for institutes to keep adding the latest infrastructure and equipment, simply because whatever we buy is already redundant in this technology driven sector. However, the fact remains that equipment and curricula need to be revised as and when required, catering to industry needs, to make our students employable. It is sad that in many places, curricula are designed based on the capabilities of the faculty involved, rather than what is needed.
Today, after taking a feedback from the industry, it is clear that our media students lack in basic PRACTICAL skills in writing, film making, news reading, editing..... in general in CREATING content. Most have been taught the camera without being allowed to touch it. Institutes do not have the basic video editing software, and if available, there aren’t enough editing suites for students to practice. Writing skills are almost nil - not because students are dumb, but because our education system has been largely ignoring language skills.
So what should the students do?
Create content. As much as you can. Put it online. Start a blog, make one-minute films, make documentaries that show off your story telling skills, writing skills, and film making skills. The industry requires PROOF of what you can do.
Also you need to get trained. Get a training in an institute where you are given intensive, hands-on practical training, and your practical assignments are themselves your examinations. Go to an institute where you learn to create content for all forms of media.
Get ready for the industry folks, because this industry does not tolerate mediocrity. You will be booted out in no time if you are not a professional, or remain in the abyss of extras and low paying jobs.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Google Baba Ki Jay Part 3

When a was a newbie web designer sooooo many years back, we used to be very excited when we counted so many 'hits' on our website. One of the first ever websites in India on trekking 'indiantreks.com' was made by me way back on 1998-99 when the Internet was so new. We used to do a lot of things to get in the top 10 in the search ranking, but at that time it used to be Yahoo and not Google.

The spiders used by search engines used to primarily look at 3 things:

1. The keywords in the metatags
2. The text in your page
3. The number of backlinks

We used many tricks to get into the top 10....

One was to have text and links in the same colour as that of the page. This kept the text hidden on the browser, but the spiders were fooled into thinking that the page had a lot of backlinks.

Second was to spam the meta tags with lots and lots of keywords, again for the spiders to take notice

I had paid Rs.3500/- to book the indiantreks domain, but as domains became cheaper, we used to book a lot of domains, make single page websites, each pointing to the target website, thus getting a lot of external backlinks.

All these methods were used by a lot of web masters and web designers. Today, it almost amounts to cheating. Google has seen to that.

Today, the key elements of an effective website

  • Appearance
  • Content
  • Functionality
  • Website Usability (including the website being VERY mobile friendly)
  • Search Engine Optimization

The most effective website will reflect best practices across all of these elements.

Please remember, Google's Penguin and Panda updates of their algorithms are now dynamic in nature, and the algorithms are constantly updated. The key to get a better ranking is NOT to use the tricks I have mentioned before, That will actually BLACKLIST your websites. There is NO magic button, no trick that Google doesn't know.

The only mantra that I can give is CONTENT, GOOD CONTENT and USEFUL, RELEVANT CONTENT. Ask yourself, is this what a visitor is looking for? If you by luck or by hard work do come into the first 10, but fail to keep updating your content, Google will automatically push you down in the ranks. And remember, it is an algorithm working. No one is personally responsible, except you, of course.

Google Baba Ki Jay!

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Google Baba Ki Jay - Part 2

Big Brother Google is Watching You! All the time. How do you think Google gives you fairly accurate traffic information on Google Maps? Initially, Google Maps was used as just that - like a map. To find your way in an unknown place, or to know the distance between two places.

But some time in March 2012, Google developed an algorithm that measured the density of devices logged in to Google along with tracking the location based on GPS. So if you are logged in to Google on your mobile phone, tablet, or your computer or laptop, Google knows exactly where you are located.

This does raises privacy issues. What if you do not want to be tracked by Google? What if you don't want Google to know your location? Well, Google lets you opt out. Here's a link to know how to do just that:

http://bgr.com/2014/08/28/google-maps-location-tracking-opt-out/

Very recently, Google Maps has introduced a feature to actually let your contacts track your location. You can share your location with friends and family. All you have to do is keep the 'Location' or your GPS on, and click on the blue dot that shows your location on Google Map. You will see the menu from which you can share your location with the people you select.

Here are the screenshots:


I have just used the feature, so for the next one hour, my wife knows exactly where I am. If you are faking too much traffic because of which you are late for a meeting, be careful. People may just ask you to share your location. 

And spouses, sons, daughters, girlfriends and boyfriends, BEWARE :) !!!! Isn't this rather interesting? Readers, what do you think? Would love to know. Please do comment.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Google Baba Ki Jay - Part 1

Let me tell you a story I read when I was in the 3rd or 4th standard, probably in Chandamama the children's monthly.

A greedy man prays, does tapascharya, and pleases God. God appears before the man and asks him his wish.

"Var maango, vatsa", God says.

The man says, "I want to ask you a few questions before I wish for anything".

"Go ahead", God says.

"We are so small, so all that is in heaven must be bigger than here on earth?" God replies in affirmative.
So the man asks, "How much is your 1 kilo?"
"It is like million tons."
"And one acre?"
"Like a continent"
"And 1 litre"?
"Like one of your oceans."

Pleased, the man thinks for a while and says, "God, I am not greedy. I wish for just one acre of land, and only 100 rupees. Please grant me my wish."

God says, "Sure Vatsa, I will certainly grant you your wish. I will make the arrangements, and will be back in a minute." And he disappears!



Today, Google is like God. Omnipresent, watching you all the time, and with an answer to all your questions. Only one thing.....

Be careful what you ask for. Google will answer your questions, but it does not guess what is in your mind. The trick is in designing your query, trying out different keywords.

And for web designers and SEO professionals, it is designing their keywords and content that could match the query of the person searching the Internet. The real skill is in getting into the top 10 ranking on the first page that Google shows. For that you really have to work hard, and more importantly, get trained in Digital Marketing. At MET Institue of Mass Media, we have an Advanced PG Diploma in Digital Marketing, a course that trains you to be a professional Digital Marketeer. With practical sessions, hands-on approach and industry internship, this course will make you a complete Digital Marketing professional. Click here to know more about the course.

Till then, "Google Baba Ki Jay!!!"

(This series of posts will explore Digital Media, SEO, Social Media, and evolution of Internet and Internet based technologies)


Tuesday, February 14, 2017

I give you what you want!

I give you what you want, and I don't have the time, nor the inclination (pun intended) to think about what you, the society needs.

Like, I think you should also start thinking, instead of blaming me, the media, for all the unhappy, sad, evil, and all the wrongdoings in the society. Instead of brainlessly switching on channels and watching programs which insult, degrade, make fun of other people, and supposedly encourage superstition, maybe you should just go out, take a walk (pun intended again).

You think I should have some social responsibility, which I do agree. And I do give you programs that are beneficial to the society. But I have so many people working with me. You think all people who work for me should go hungry to bed? They don't deserve increments? They don't have family responsibilities and ambitions? Well, you are wrong. Being socially responsible cannot come at a cost of my family and my ambitions.

Like, I am the media. I am a business. I am here to make money, whether you like it or not. So I give you what you want. If you give me more TRP on TV Serials like Nagin, which you think is superstitious, despite the clear disclaimer, I am going to make more Nagins.

(Picture courtesy: http://static03.colorstv.com/0c7218304466166f0b9b56070d0d20b3_ls_l.jpg)

Like if you don't like it, please switch to some other programme or a channel, because I don't care about you as an individual. There are millions others who I have to worry about, who simply love to watch whatever I show. And they earn me the revenues.

Like, this is called the Uses and Gratifications Theory. Go ahead, read it online. Here's the link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uses_and_gratifications_theory




Monday, December 19, 2016

An Ear to the Ground

The Media and Communication sector, essentially has only one product - content. Content that touches the lives of people, affects the senses, invades privacy, content that becomes a part of our daily lives. Media products do not distinguish between, religion, caste, creed, status, or your geography or region. What we see on television is what the world sees. What we aspire for is what the world aspires for. And the products that we produce are for everyone's consumption. There are no geographical boundaries anymore.

I visited some remote villages in Maharashtra with my students for their Rural Immersion Program. The villages of Waghawale, Morni, Arav, Valvan and Chakdev are largely cut off from the rest of the world, especially in terms of transportation and mobile connectivity. There is just one bus that arrives in the evening and leaves in the morning. We found mobile connectivity in just 2 places, and that too with a poor signal. No newspapers are delivered to this entire area. The only relief is television, but the subscription to the services are not renewed regularly, because of lack of income.

This is where our future managers should look at. The rural India, which is getting rapidly urbanised is like a dormant volcano, waiting to erupt. The rumbling and tremors have started, and tomorrow's managers should have their ear to the ground to sense and detect them, to be able to deal with the massive demand for media products that is bound to flood the Indian media markets. 

The social, political and economic impact that this will cause will be highly disruptive in nature, and we simply must be ready to tackle it. Remember, media messages and content are polysemic in nature; even though they are same, their connotations are different.

 Meanwhile, my students Media and Communication have their ears firmly on the ground.



Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Do Read: A Pilot Study on Digital Transition in Newspapers in India

The profound changes that the media and communication sector has experienced are because of 2 factors: Digitization and Convergence. The newspaper industry has experienced major upheavals by the disruptive digital technologies. Here is an interesting study being conducted:

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Just an MBA does not make a manager in Media and Communication sector

We say this again. To be successful in manager in the media and communication sector, a management training program should also have creative courses in the curriculum. Citing from the article below, Excel Sheets don't make successful media products, at the same time, artistic brooding also doesn't. There has to be a balance of both to make a successful film.

"Industry insiders, admittedly those on the creative side, say the MBAs running studios do not understand story, script, or screenplay. So they play safe by signing on the biggest star they can. That done, they get the director the star wants. And then they look around for a script. If the movie fails, they can always say it is not their fault, after all, they did get the most saleable star."

Do read up folks, you will understand why the Advanced Diplomas in Management in Advertising, Entertainment, Digital Marketing, and Diplomas in Journalism and PR at MET Institute of Mass Media will help you for getting a rewarding career in the Media and Communication sector….

http://www.hindustantimes.com/bollywood/is-bollywood-in-the-middle-of-a-crisis/story-InpjeWErrwRJJZwswUcdEK.html

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

The jio Bomb

The Reliance's jio Bomb has burst. In the aftermath, it will be interesting the watch the game being played out by the mobile companies in the market, and in the quality of their services. Reliance's disruptive strategies are certainly not new. It has been a game changer in the past too. My earlier post Karlo Duniya Mitthi Mein -Part 3 gives the basics of Reliance's predatory pricing method to cause disruption.

There will no doubt, be an initial orgy of downloads using the free 4G services. But when the dust settles down after the free internet offer, the realities will take over. This launch could erupt into a price war, but what will be really interesting to watch is the effect it will have on the delivery and consumption of media content. The communication culture in India has been in a constant mode of adapting to newer technologies, with the cell phone winning hands down across the country. Today, the maximum growth in the media sector is in the mobile content segment - in terms of revenue and also content delivery. More and more content is delivered and consumed on mobile phones.

The 3G services in the country could never get over their teething problems, but with this 4G war being played out, let's hope that we get the speeds and bandwidth that have been promised by the operators. Media students and professionals, from the fields of journalism, entertainment, as well as media management will have to be alert and watch the story as it unfolds in the next few months.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Communication Design - 1


Why is designing our communication so important? Let me give you some examples...

Last week, I got an SMS saying that some money had been credited to my account. Well, if someone is kind enough to give me money without asking me, they are welcome. But I was curious to know who this kind soul was. So I called up customer care, input the data for the IVR menu and ultimately reached an executive. In a rasping voice he asked in Hindi, "Namaskar, mai xxx, aapki kya sahayata kar sakta hoon"? This, despite having requested for English as the language of choice. When I decided to speak in English, I was replied again in Hindi. When I persisted by asking my next  question in English, I got replies in broken not so fluent English. 

I then started speaking in Hindi and my queries got solved within no time. The point is, I had to design my communication to suit the situation. Had I persisted to speak in English, it would have taken probably twice the time I had to spend. I have nothing against Hindi at all and can speak very fluent Hindi. But wouldn't it have been appropriate for the service executive to have redesigned his communication?

I have this problem with several tele-marketing people too. I actually am polite to all the telemarketing people who modulate their voice appropriately, and have a smile in their voice. And I am very rude to those who call in a rasping or a nasal voice, who have no inclination to really communicate. I suppose they have a quota of calls to complete.

Just the way we make an impression about a person at first glance, we tend to make our first impression of people on hearing their voice for the first time, especially when we don't see them. So it is important to design our communication when we speak to a person on phone for the first time. Our mood, state of mind, attitude, everything reflects in our voice. We have to train ourself to reflect a smile in the voice when we reply answer the phone even if in the midst of a heated debate with someone. Or simply don't answer it!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Management Careers in Media - Caught in Transmedial Crossfire

While discussing possible collaboration and association with representatives from a University from UK today, I was speaking on the peculiarity of the media universe in India. This was also a subject for which I was invited to speak on in a conference in Sweden. A majority of the Indian population has very quickly adopted the transmedial nature of content creation and distribution. We are reorienting ourselves to an environment of transmedial communication, which is redefining our cultural contexts to an extent that we are reinventing the way we communicate with each other. 

I can cite a latest example - my driver.  To avoid reaching a meeting or a conference stressed out by driving in heavy Mumbai traffic, I decided to employ a driver. At 30 years of age, he is a representative of India's majority population. This month he purchased a 7 inch mobile phone and showing it off to me, he remarked, "Now I too can make and send video messages." Within days, he has mastered the phone, and now he prefers to send me a message on WhatsApp rather than call me. He uses smileys, pictures, forwards videos and images, he also sent me photographs of a minor accident he witnessed, and told me how he saved my car from damage. Now he has asked me to include him as his Facebook friend. I said he would have to add me which I am sure he will. 

 Management Courses in Media
(Image source: http://talkbusinessmagazine.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Untitled2.jpg)


The point is, he prefers to communicate more by pictures, graphs and videos, rather than typing messages, which he hates. In India, we have evolved our communication from oral - aural to written and printed, and back to oral - aural. This has caused disruption in our media universe, not just because of the evolution, but because suddenly, there are so many producers of content rather than consumers.

The effects of this evolution are terrifying and fascinating at the same time. I have written before too, but humans have not yet begun to understand media, and we are already faced with two of its very disruptive forms - the Internet and the mobile phones.  

Creators of content, as well as managers in media, will have to deal with this phenomenon. They have to remember that 'the public' is no more consisting of passive users, but that of active producers of media. They understand the medium, and also know how to create content. Taking the audiences for granted will be self defeating and probably suicidal. 

We need to look at all careers in media in this context. We also need to look at management education in media in this context.


I had explored this subject in a talk I gave in a recently concluded conference organized by the Bombay Psychological Association. But more about that in another post.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Management Careers in Media - Content Syndication

The Media and Communication industry has so many facets that it becomes difficult to keep a track of how many careers are available. The media has become all-pervasive especially after the the Internet got hitched up with mobile phones. The disruption these two technologies have caused is phenomenal, but they have also created several opportunities for those who wish to make a career in management in media, entertainment, and communication industry. I wrote about Media Planning and Buying as a management career. You need to understand media thoroughly to be a media planner. A regular MBA in Marketing or Finance will probably not be able to teach you this. But a media-specific curriculum will.

Let's look at another interesting career path. Very interesting because it is something that business schools do not usually teach as part of their curriculum, but has become an important managerial function nonetheless.

When your client creates content, be it a blog, a write-up, a film, a documentary… any content in any form, you need to be able to show it to the world. One way is paying huge amounts of money to the several modes of distribution, the other is devise methods by which the content gets generic popularity. Both methods are employed in the industry. 

Content Syndication is a process of of making your content available on multiple content delivery platforms, more specifically in today's context, online platforms. A Content Syndication Manager pushes the content - a website, a blog, a video, etc. to other websites or online media. This could be in form of full articles, or a link, or even a thumbnail.  The first step to content syndication is deciding on the goals for your business. Are you trying to drive traffic to your blog, giving product information, or to your website? Do you really want to syndicate a full article or maybe just an image, a headline, or a paragraph? You might want to look up RSS feeds. thumbnails, titles, or excerpts of a write-up. You need to think of ways to auto-generate leads rather then manually feeding several apps or sites.Content syndication is all about automated distribution of digital content, lead generation, co-branding, partnering with other sites. This is an exciting career, gaining a lot of importance every year. 


Qualifications: A management certification in media, with specific knowledge and experience in content planning, organization, and distribution on social media. You should be good at Social media analytics, and should be able to advise your client on which platform to host content for maximum impact. If you are doing your BMM, or your BMS, or even those in their third year of B.Com and B.Sc., you should look at this career seriously. It is not just about number crunching, but also creating content…. and media is not just entertainment.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Management Careers in Media - Media Planning and Buying

Media planning and buying is the function of procurement of media real estate at an optimal placement and price. Media buyers have to conduct market research to find the likely places where their client's customers and consumers tend to use media. Based on this research, they find the best advertising rates, and the best media to place the advertisements of their clients. In short, they 'buy' the media, or the advertising space/time for their clients.

Media planners have to be in touch with the media houses, their marketing executives and should be able to negotiate better rates for their clients. A good media buyer takes decisions on which media to buy and it requires both creative and business-driven decisions. Media Planners should be able to pick and choose an appropriate combination of media to help their clients reach their target audiences. The job can be pretty high profile as they with high level clients and top executives of organisations. The job is result oriented and also a high-pressure, deadline dependent job.

It requires excellent communication skills, and that too in multiple languages in India. You have to have very good persuasion  and negotiation skills; should have a very wide network of friends in the media. You need to be good at audience analysis, content analysis of all media including newspapers, television, radio and the Internet and social media. A media buyer should be adept at Google analytics, and social media analysis. A good media planner has to be fast on the feet, ready to quickly gauge the pulse of the audience and the trend in media - both in the traditional as well as online. You will have to advise your clients about the media to buy, strategize and sometimes, re-plan your strategy based on the latest trends and research results.

Qualifications: Employers prefer trained individuals over newbies, mainly because there is no scope in making mistakes, as media buying involves high amount of spends. Agencies, as well as organisations prefer candidates with a formal certification, with an internship during their course. You could check out such a management course here: The Best Management Program in Media and Communication

Following are some well known organizations for Media Planning and buying :

Group M, Strategem Media Pvt. Ltd., Havas Worldwide, Dentsu India, Lodestar, Lintas, Madison, Omnicom Media Group

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Rickshaws and Management

Last week, I was returning from Vile Parle from a meeting by a rickshaw. To avoid driving in the office rush, I kept my car parked near the office in Malad. Somewhere between Jogeshwari and Goregaon, the driver swerved to overtake a tempo, and the rear wheel went over an elevated drainage cover. 

I could feel the rickshaw tilting to the left. I threw my weight on the right and luckily, we stayed upright. It all happened very fast, and if I had not been alert, the rickshaw would have overturned. Needless to say, that got me thinking….

After 6 months at the helm of affairs as Director @Deviprasad Goenka Management College of Media Studies, I think it is like driving a rickshaw. Just listing a few management lessons I have learnt …

The wheels are my team mates, my colleagues with authority (learnt that today!) with whom I navigate the academic path. When they know the road better than me, I listen to them. I need to see that they have enough air, and deflate ones with too much of it! Sometimes, though, I have to replace the one's that do not function, or go out of shape. Better not to take the risk of toppling the rickshaw.

And while doing all this, I function as the fourth wheel, maintaining the critical balance.

Students are my passengers, they come and go, but I function solely for them. Without them I have nothing to do. If they say I am good, I get more passengers, and my institute grows. I need to care for them, play some music, keep the atmosphere lively, at the same time, see that they reach their destination, get to the right jobs. I have to make their journey comfortable, give them the best I can from my limited resources. I have to also ensure that each one has a pleasant journey, and occasionally offload an unruly passenger.

I may be driving a rickshaw, but I have to flaunt it like I am driving a Mercedes, and aspire to make it onto one. Its not about what I have, but how I show it. One of the most important lessons that I have learnt in the last 6 months is that I need to STOP thinking like a rickshaw walla and think like the owner a Mercedes. 

You know why? 

A rickshaw walla DREAMS of buying more rickshaws; a Mercedes owner PLANS to buy more Mercedes.

All comments, more insights welcome.