The human side of business

SINGAPORE: While the talk of High Definition and digital training remained the buzzword for the major part of the day, there were also a few presentations that focussed on people who make these changes possible. Though, not too many attended these sessions, a few who made it added the human dimension to it.

So how can broadcasters survive in the rapidly changing world where they can perish at the very next moment? How do managers, policy makers, programmers understand the real needs of people in the developing nations? Also, the huge media boom in the Asia Pacific region has brought in certain manpower and human resource issues which were discussed.

In all, the afternoon session on the training needs of the media and entertainment industry across the world emphasised the need of training individuals to deal with change. Moving away from traditional methods of face-to-face training, the experts present offered many solutions – like distance or e-learning with the help of CDRoms, training by societies and engineers, self training for broadcasters. The session also turned out to be pretty interesting with live demonstrations.

Broadcast Electronics Inc, USA's Charles W Kelly, set the tone when he said, "If we ask the viewer what do they want - more resolution on the TV screens or better writers, the answer is obviously better writers who can write newer concepts and bring in fresh programming." So, if there are 100 channels why do they all look the same? The answer perhaps lies in capacity building of people involved in the industry and training them.

Here the panelists discussed the need of training writers who can change the face of television. This is again related to the lack of trained human resources, because of which channels have to bank on amateurs; which in the long run takes a toll on the business.

There are training needs to be met at the senior level. Say for example, how does an executive from the radio industry make a transition to the television industry or the other way round.

Drawing on his experiences from the Philippines, SBETP president Armand Ursal said, "It is very essential to train broadcast engineers to adapt to the changing technology needs. Also, when they have to deal with things like digital radio, and TV, it can take its toll."

I think engineer training is very important for the coming of age of the broadcast industries in all countries. Also, the manufacturers have to be brought into the loop to understand consumer demands."

Commonwealth Educational Media Centre for Asia programme officer Rukmini Vemraju emphasised the need for face-to-face training along with interactive. Marcel Gomez, Programme Manager, AIBD, Malaysia said, "We can help TV professionals across the world transit to the interactive world with the help of CDs."

Gomez, who has been involved in the project of developing such CDs gave live demonstrations to the people present. He said, "We develop instructional, interactive CDs on topics like how to develop your writing skills, learn news reporting etc. A rather expensiive exercise wherein we get experts from across the world to develop such content."

The final word came from Charles W Kelly, who summed up the whole session. "TV is not just an investment but also a responsibility, and we as an industry have to continue to keep learning to adapt to the rules, so that we are able to address the real needs of the people."

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