Day 2 of the 18th Asian Media Information and Communication Centre (AMIC) annual conference hosted 12 different parallel sessions on themes as distinct as media and gender, online democracy, and media law and regulations, among others.
Among all the afternoon sessions, the one titled ‘Media, Advertising and Public Relations’ saw full house, brimming with representatives from various universities across the world. Prof Alan D’Souza, Acting Dean, Mudra Institute of Communications Research (MICORE) chaired the session. The panelists included Dr Varsha Jain, MICORE; Rukma Vasudev, Manipal University, India; Dr CHSN Murthy, Manipal University, India; and Dr Augustine Pang, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.
Commencing the discussions, Prof D’Souza alluded to the growing celebrity endorsement in the Indian advertising industry.
In an effort to enlighten the audience more on the study of celebrity endorsements, Dr Varsha Jain, compared the use of celebrities by advertisers in India with those in the West. She said, “The Indian advertising industry uses celebrities in 60 per cent of advertisements as against to 25-35 per cent in the West. Yet, there has been little research on the industry perspective of celebrity endorsements in India. Studies in the West suggest that factors of selection for endorsement vary across countries.”
She further noted that Indian advertising professionals were taking a myopic view of celebrities’ backgrounds and instead invariably used them in their campaigns. Further criticising the overuse of celebrities, she said, “Celebrity endorsements are felt to be more suitable for low involvement rather than high involvement products. The audience needs a combination of both in a unique way of entertainment through the celebrity along with compelling logic to buy the product.”
After this probing presentation on celebrity endorsements, next panelist Rukma Vasudev dwelt on the dynamics of newspaper business in India. Describing the journey of the newspaper industry as having undergone a tectonic shift, Vasudev said, “Revenue generation and profit-making are the mantras now. The focus of the newspaper industry has started gradually shifting from reader to advertiser. Consequently, content is getting shaped not just by what the readers want, but also by what the advertisers demand.”
Vasudev concluded her presentation by describing the current status of the newspaper industry as a gradual collapse of the ‘wall’ that existed between editorial and advertising/ sales departments of the newspaper.
Dr CHSN Murthy presented an analytical study on ‘Constructivism and Spin Doctoring in Indian Mass Media’. The presentation talked about the adversarial role played by India’s print media and the gradual decline of globalisation of Indian economy since 1990s. It also mentioned about the shrinking space for public service, both in print and the electronic media, with more reference to crime, law, film entertainment and sports.
In his concluding comments, Dr Murthy demanded an alternative media, replacing the existing spin-doctored or market-driven print and electronic media.
The session ended with the last panelist, Dr Augustine Pang, presenting a study on ‘Credibility Governance’. In his presentation, he used the case study of Singapore government’s management of a charity scandal arising from the National Kidney Foundation (NFK) crisis.
The other 11 concurrent sessions kept the audience engaged at the ongoing AMIC annual conference at Le Meridien in Delhi. The conference will conclude on July 16.
AMIC is a non-profit NGO with the mission of spearheading the development of media and communication expertise in Asia.
AMIC 2009 explores issues concerning media, democracy and governance
Accountability, transparency, ICT, social transformation take centrestage at AMIC 2009