Cross media ownership is very topical. Today, there are huge changes in technology, in how media is consumed, how entertainment is being provided and what is influencing decision-making. This is not the India of the 1950s. The world has completely changed, said Rahul Khullar, Chairman, TRAI.
“India has witnessed overweening influence of the media over the last few years. It’s in your face every single day. Just go and see what is happening in UK and other countries,” added Khullar.
Khullar stated few examples wherein an individual can own only two forms of media at a time. This, he said, is the rule in many jurisdictions. On forming regulation, he will be accepting views from various stakeholders of the country and then make a decision.
Everywhere around the globe, there is some form of regulation practised. The reasons behind this are conflict of interest, domination in and by the media, reduced competition, undue broadcasting mandates, plurality of ownership and diversity of opinion.
Because of conflict of interest, nobody accepts a large industrial estate having a banking license. If in any market, one newspaper forms an opinion, then that becomes domination in the media.
Talking about the plurality and diversity, Khullar further added, “No democracy can survive if you do not have plurality and diversity.”
Taking the conversation a step forward, he spoke about the international experience and said that it comes in three forms – entry, mergers and acquisitions, and growth and size. We have vertical integration and horizontal integration. Vertical integration becomes a monopolised way; on the other hand, horizontal integration leads to influencing the audience as one individual, he said.
Media, being a market for ideas, is a completely different ball game. Media is competing with each other and trying to influence consumers and audiences.
Rahul Khullar was speaking at a conference organised by ASSOCHAM on Cross Media Ownership. The conference was held in New Delhi on July 27, 2012.