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People watch mobile TV for 15-24 minutes a day: New Media Congress

The internet is the biggest leveller, truly empowering people and it is this medium, which will enable India to leapfrog its technological and infrastructural deficiencies and fuel its growth, according to KVL Narayan Rao, group CEO and executive director, NDTV. While giving his welcome address at NDTV New Media Congress organised by NDTV Convergence on 8th May 2008 in New Delhi, KVL Narayan Rao said, “This Congress aims to provide a medium for an enriching exchange of ideas ranging across various aspects of the new media ecosystem.”

The internet is the biggest leveller, truly empowering people and it is this medium, which will enable India to leapfrog its technological and infrastructural deficiencies and fuel its growth, according to KVL Narayan Rao, group CEO and executive director, NDTV. While giving his welcome address at NDTV New Media Congress organised by NDTV Convergence on 8th May 2008 in New Delhi, KVL Narayan Rao said, “This Congress aims to provide a medium for an enriching exchange of ideas ranging across various aspects of the new media ecosystem.”

The first session of the NDTV New Media Congress was chaired by Vikram Chandra, CEO of NDTV Networks. The other members of the panel included Kim Reid, CEO, mobile TV platforms, MIH Group; Azhar Rafee, executive vice president, Reuters; Andrew Paulson, president, SUP (LiveJournal.com); and Roshan Gupta, business head, North and South India, Polycom. Roshan Gupta was representing Yugal Sharma, regional director, India and South Asia, Polycom, who addressed the session through video conferencing. The speakers of the panel talked about Digital Media: Worldwide Developments, Issues and Case Studies.

Kim Reid spoke about the great opportunity that lies before MIH in the area of delivering mobile TV. He said the world-wide average for mobile TV usage is 15-24 minutes a day, while in Europe it’s 16-38 minutes a day. In Korea, it’s as high as 129 minutes a day. He also said that the mobile TV content is not just watched while one is commuting but also from home and workplace. Talking about the various revenue models of mobile TV, Kim Reid said while pay TV generates revenue, free TV drives usage. He said the made for mobile content has not succeeded yet because of the huge cost factor involved.

According to Kim Reid, India needs regulatory mechanism, innovation in technologies and content, fast deployment of latest technology, mass penetration of mobile devices, and sustainable economic model in order to see a successful mobile TV business in the country. He also said that linear TV channels like sports and news are critical for the success of mobile TV. On that Vikram Chandra said, “In India, certainly, we will like to see cricket matches on mobile.”

Azhar Rafee said a new media entity does not just mean creating a new website. According to him, Reuters India has different websites for different markets. “In India, we have a Reuters India website targeted at affluent people. Then, there is a mobile initiative targeted at farmers where they can find weather forecasts, latest market prices, crop advisory services and agricultural news.” According to Rafee, new media is yet to fully arrive in India as the audience, interactivity and technology are still emerging in the country.

Andrew Paulson of LiveJournal.com had an interesting advice for the delegates. He said, “You (in India) and I (in Russia) should not be concerned about innovation but implementation; because, real innovation is just around the corner.”

According to Paulson, “MySpace is all about showing off (how sexy you are) while Facebook is all about finding friends. On the other hand, while Friendster is mostly popular in Indonesia and South East Asia, Orkut is mostly used in India and Brazil.” Then what about his own, LiveJournal.com? “LiveJournal is about arguing and discussing. It’s mostly about text-based and community.”

Andrew Paulson also talked about how The New York Times once published a controversial story on Russia and linked it on LiveJournal.com where users commented on the story. These comments were then translated from Russian to English and republished in NYT. Certainly, an interesting practice that the Indian print media too could do well to adopt for providing a better experience to their readers!

Yugal Sharma of Polycom also presented his thoughts, but through video conferencing. Probably, the best way to drive his message that people, participating in various conferences, should travel (by air) less and help protect the environment. Instead, they should embrace digital video conferencing technology. Amen!

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