Dear Delegate, I trust you got a copy of the exchange4media FICCI Frames 2008 newsletter with extensive coverage of the opening day. It was heartening for us when many of you enquired in the morning about the newsletter covering on Day 1. The fault was ours – the printed copies took longer than expected to reach the venue from the printing press. My team did its best, worked late into the night, but some things are beyond our control. We apologise.
Some debates have a way of remaining a debate in perpetuity. Like, for instance, whether content is king or distribution is God. Going a little bit forward, the morning of Day 2 at FICCI Frames 2008 saw a lively debate on ‘What, Where and How: Media choices in the expanding Universe’. Paritosh Joshi of Star India has a knack for leading and lifting such panel discussions to a high level. We saw him do that at the recently held exchange4media Conclave 2008 in Mumbai. He moderated the Frames morning session with similar felicity yesterday.
Prakash Bajpai, President, Reliance Infocomm, held that while such debates would continue, it must be remembered that it is technology that will keep pushing the frontiers in the broadcast industry. The searing growth of mobile telephony and convergence opportunities had already opened up a whole range of exciting frontiers on the distribution side. While it may have become a fashion to talk about the telecom and convergence models, Pat McDougal, Senior VP, Inmarsat Europe, had a word of caution: Mobile TV is an unproven business model and still in a trial phase. “There is an element of immaturity in this technology for push-type mobile TV content. Where is the spectrum going to come from?” he asked.
The learning? Media choice is going to be the next debate in perpetuity for a long while. The only aspect that nobody dared argue against: that the consumer/viewer is the real king. Meeting the demand of anywhere-anytime TV is a challenge that has to be met in the near future.
It is interesting to see how the radio players tend to agree and then disagree on the way forward. Perhaps this is a characteristic of a new medium. They all seem to know of the potential of this media, they readily throw growth figures, yet, invariably, they tend to develop goose pimples when pressed for a route map of the road ahead. Viability remains a serious problem for most FM players, barring the top few FM brands. Radio Mirchi is upbeat, given its overall reach and the comfort of the muscle that comes from being part of the country’s largest media house. But Abraham Thomas of Red FM once again made a strong point, which he also highlighted at the recent exchange4media Conclave on Radio in Kolkata: that FM is a localised platform, and media planners and their clients should desist from uniform national campaigns. In the case of FM radio, one shoe cannot fit all.