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Digital media offers triple play opportunity for broadcasters















MUMBAI: As mobile and online media grow in India, broadcasters have a triple play opportunity to explore the three screens: broadcast, net and mobile. TV channels can create online and mobile communities around shows.


This was a key point that came up in a session on "Online Media Platforms: Creating an audience of one and a billion."

 

"NDTV Convergence, which looks after the new media space, will grow in three years to become a top priority business. While TV will not shut down it is important that broadcasters embrace the net and mobile. These are already mainstream media. Broadcasters have a strategic advantage to use the three screen method to enhance brand value among viewers," said NDTV Networks CEO Vikram Chandra.



The net and mobile allows broadcasters to build communities around TV shows and campaigns. Elaborating on this, Chandra offered the examples of ‘Save The Tiger‘ and Jessica Lal where the broadcaster used the mobile and the net to galvanise people.


Petitions were signed and SMS‘ expressing support were sent. "This way a channel can migrate its audience from the TV onto the net and mobile and then back to the TV," Chandra said.


Chandra also cited the show Gadget Guru where the net has been very useful in building up viewer affinity. He predicts that there will be a "secular rise" in spending on new media. That is why NDTV a few months back launched a Wap portal. In course of time, the revenue that content providers get will grow.

 
MSN is also betting that the online space will grow in India. It launched a beta version of MSN video last month. "This works with pre roll ads and because content is premium we can get $25 per 1000 impressions.," said Microsoft product director Sushmita Vij. There are interactive features like Email The Video, I Am The Video.

MSN is talking with Indian companies to get them on board. Globally, MSN Video has 500 content partners like NBC and Fox.


"MSN Video gets two billion streams a year globally all of which are monetized. It offers content providers the chance to express their editorial voice. So for the Oscars, for instance, in addition to actual footage there will also be some behind the scenes content, the fashion on display etc. We have grown our business by 1000 per cent by looking at the whole story. While there is a lean back audience, the trendsetters want content when it is convenient. That is what we offer. The net offers a vast distribution network and one can narrowcast. As a content provider you know who the consumers are and what they want. As a consumer you have control in terms of content access," said Vij.


Speaking about web 2.0 Infoedge Media founder and CEO Sanjeev Bikchandani said that it uses more intelligence like algorithms and collective intelligence. "This has allowed for democratisation of production tools. But while some web 2.0 companies like Bebo were successful, they eventually became a part of a large online media enterprise."


Revenue is a challenge, though. Some like MySpace are able to generate $100 million in revenue while others aren‘t so lucky. Online advertising is shifting towards search marketing. "Google has monetised this. Technology has to evolve in order to make the net a reality on the mobile. At the moment the mobile is mainly good for email. In India broadband prese3nts a major challenge for the development of web 2.0. In addition Indians are not used to putting videos of themselves," said Bikchandani.


BigFlicks COO Kamal Giachandani laid emphasis on the long tail effect that online media platforms offer. He offered the example of Netflix, saying that 30 per cent of its sales happen from DVDs that are not available offline. So the net has the advantage of giving a bigger choice compared to traditional outlets. At the same time one must remember that the audience is loyal to content as opposed to the platform. As broadband penetration grows in India, it is the niche content creators who will benefit the most.


Canada‘s Now Public co-founder and CEO Leonard Brody spoke about the importance of citizen journalism. "What we have noticed is that people do it for social engagement. We get two million readers a month and 700 pieces of content a day. Consumers are moving towards a higher personal locality. One reason why Facebook news feeds are checked out more by users than traditional news sources is that you get information that is personally relevant."


The site uses the crowd source model and gives complete editorial control to users. Since they use citizen journalists, often they get videos in places where other agencies have not been able to go. Brody says that the agency has 140,000 reporters, out of which 10,000 are active daily.


"The newspaper business is dying abroad. Newspapers will have to focus more on analysis as opposed to breaking news as it would already be known," said Brody.

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