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Future of media lies in following young customers: NDTV New Media Congress

The third session of the NDTV New Media Congress discussed issues related with Traditional Media versus New Media and how traditional mass media has been evolving with the advent of the new media (internet). Vir Sanghvi, advisory editorial director at HT Media, chaired the panel whose members included Viren Popli, SVP and head, mobile entertainment, Star India; Kevin Obi, SVP, digital assets, NBC Universal International; and Tarun Katial, COO, Big 92.7 FM.

The third session of the NDTV New Media Congress discussed issues related with Traditional Media versus New Media and how traditional mass media has been evolving with the advent of the new media (internet). Vir Sanghvi, advisory editorial director at HT Media, chaired the panel whose members included Viren Popli, SVP and head, mobile entertainment, Star India; Kevin Obi, SVP, digital assets, NBC Universal International; and Tarun Katial, COO, Big 92.7 FM.

Kevin Obi said the future of media lies in following the young customers. According to Obi, convergence of video and internet is the most pressing near term trend. He said convergence is a reality. It’s both an opportunity as well as a threat. He found infrastructural issues as a major barrier to convergence.

Viren Popli of Star India said a great opportunity lies for entrepreneurs to create light content which can be consumed by the audience considering that we have limited bandwidth. According to him, regulation is the biggest bottleneck in the adoption of latest technology.

While discussing the future of traditional media, Vir Sanghvi said, there is nothing that suggests that people don’t want great, well researched content. Even for entertainment, people do want quality content, Sanghvi added.

In the days of YouTube, how traditional TV channels are going to survive? On this Kevin Obi made a provocative statement. According to him, almost 90 per cent of the YouTube content is rubbish. “And the problem with rubbish is that it’s not monetisable.”

The discussion tended to become a debate on traditional versus new media. But, Kevin Obi tried to keep the discussion on track by saying it’s not traditional versus new media. Vir Sanghvi also pitched in, “Convergence is a reality. All of it can work together. It’s no longer a battle. It’s a co-operation.”

Viren Popli wondered what’s new about new media. Responding to that Vir Sanghvi said, new media is much more democratic. It has given people access to create content and make their voice heard.

Why do you need editors when internet empowers one to choose the content that he wants to consume? According to Vir Sanghvi, some people can of course choose for themselves but there are still others who want someone to make these choices for them. And this is where editors come handy.

Does internet pose a threat to the traditional media like print and TV as the trends in US would suggest? Vir Sanghvi of HT Media didn’t think so. He said, “We should be a little wary of comparing ourselves with the West. In India we have not seen a transition from print to TV to internet. Here, all these have happened so suddenly. India really changed in the 1990s when TV and internet all arrived almost simultaneously, even newspaper prices went down during the same period.”

While talking about the limitation of new media, Vir Sanghvi said new media is not good for creating unusual brand though it can surely make Bollywood more popular!

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