I have often heard people say that sometimes you are so close to the action that you miss most of the drama and the pace associated with it. And I guess there is some truth in that.
The coverage of Cannes Lions 2011 and the work on the exchange4media Conclave 2011 did not look out of the ordinary to me – it was, as they say, in a day’s work. But one month away from the industry, completely cut off from everything, and I returned to a host of changes that reminded me once again the pace of our industry – a thing, I daresay, I had by now taken for granted.
While I could put out a long list of things that achieved the ‘what are you saying’ from me on my return, in various conversations that I had with friends and people I respect, but there were few developments that truly stood out.
First on the list had to be the conversation of the merged IRS and NRS back in full force – so much so that the final stages of signing the agreement is just a few days away now. The last I heard on the subject, with some sense of action to it, was back in 2009. After that, it mostly appeared in MRUC and INS meetings and exchange4media columns and articles. It took our industry two years, and for some, only two years, to get this step going. And doesn’t matter the time it took, this has to be one of the most important developments I have had the chance to witness.
Being one of the reporters who listen to industry feedback on the gaps in readership data, and the impact that it directly has on the growth of the Indian print industry, I guess I understand what this merger means. When Lynn de Souza had first told me that the talks had finally begun on this, I didn’t imagine this is where we would be. But people like Ashish Bagga (CEO, India Today Group) and Sam Balsara (Chairman, Madison World) have made it happen. More than anything else, this development implies that when it matters, our industry factions and groups can unite for the common good of this industry.
The second news was that all preparations of AdAsia were in place now. AdAsia holds special interest to me right now, as despite being in this industry for over eight years, this would be my first. And I am all excited. I had only heard of the fantastic affair that the event was in 2003, when I had just joined, and the benchmark that it had set then. A benchmark that no other hosting country matched thereafter, and one that India is once again going to beat this year. If the AdAsia news so far is anything to go by, India will once again set a new standard at the event to be held in New Delhi this year. So AdAsia is back, and how...
The final development that I found kept coming in many conversations was Sony climbing to the number two position. Of course, it is ‘KBC’ and it is expected and blah blah blah... Well, let me tell you, just because it is ‘KBC’ does not mean it is expected. ‘KBC’ stopped doing well for Star after a while and the same can happen to Sony anytime. If the show works on the channel now, the channel deserves credit. But more than that, it is ‘Bade Acche Lagte Hain’ that is truly the talking point for Sony. After the longest time, Sony has got one fiction hit, and surprise, surprise, it comes from the house of the once Television Queen Ekta Kapoor.
I was not allowed to watch any television in the one-month break (when I had cut off, I meant it), but at least I got to hear a lot of what people are watching. And people (who visit my house) are watching a lot of Star, and shows like ‘Balika Vadhu’ and ‘Bade Acche Lagte Hain’. And it was great to see that there were ratings to support this viewing action.
Much is back in the time that I was away. And I am happy I got the chance to be once again reminded of the thrilling world that Indian marketing, media and advertising is. There always will be critics and people for the sake of drama, but until my time of being a cynic comes, I shall just relish the joy of being here...