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….

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:

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