Transforming a mammoth organisation like HT Media into a digital-savvy entity has not been an easy task. However, under the leadership of Dr. JaiMenon, Group Director, Technology, HT Media, the 100-year-old organisationis taking on a new identitycomfortably, which makes it relevant to the demands of contemporary times.
Dr.Menon’s approach to this transformation has been unique. He has driven this change in a converged manner, which is now getting reflected through state-of-the-art integrated newsrooms that the organisation commands across its editions nationwide. “If you look at media, there are two kinds of players, one is the traditional medialike HT Media, and the second is the pure play digital players and the best part is that they are coexisting. It took us some time to jump on the digital bandwagon and when we set on this transformational journey, we asked ourselves a simple question—are we going to create a digital island or are we going to drive this transformation in a converged manner, and we went with the converged to set out an integrated transformation. The transformation was about moving from an enterprise kind of operation to an internet style of operation and we took a conscious call to set up integrated newsrooms where we have the traditional and the digital guys sitting together,” says Dr.Menon.
While his efforts have made the traditional and the digital coexist successfully, according to Dr.Menon, the biggest challenge in this change has been the issue of cultural transformation. “Cultural transformation has been the most difficult part of the digital transformation phase. It was about reorienting some people to talk and walk digital while they are still doing stuff in the traditional world. If we look at the daily dynamics of our work, people and the cultural aspect are the most important. We have rolled out integrated CMS’s, which is used for stories that go online and those that get printed in our editions across the country,” explains Dr.Menon.
Speaking about the changing dynamics of Media & Entertainment (M&E) industry and the blurred lines between Telecom and Media, he says, “I would like to share some perspectives about the kind of digital transformation going on right now. I have been fortunate to spend almost a decade and a half in the telecom industry,which is still witnessing a very interesting transformation. It has moved from being a voice industry to data industry and now a content industry. What is interesting to note is that the lines between telecom and mediaare getting blurred. When OTT came in a big way 5–6 years back, the engagement no longer required telecom providers. So, if you look at the 3 C’s—content, communication and commerce, they are coming together in a big way, be it the Telecom or Media industry. However, all of these require another ‘C ‘which is the context. It is the coming together of these four C’s that is driving the digital transformation.”
Talking about the challenges ahead for HT Media, given the rapid changes happening in the digital space, Dr.Menon shares, “We see this as a very exciting time for the traditional player, almost a 100-year-old company, to say that we are going to be digitally transformed in a big way.However, one of the toughest questions is whether M&E will remain as an isolated industry especially after telecom has blurred the lines. Moreover, I think business model innovation is going to be the biggest challenge in the time to come and we have to find ways to deal with it.”