When top media and advertising executives met to discuss the possibility of Integrated media company, the panelists at e4m Conclave in Mumbai nodded in unison. The panelists in an animated debate thrased out their views during the second panel discussion of “Is Integrated media company the only game in town for long-term survival?”
L V Krishnan, CEO, TAM Media Research moderated the panel which comprised of Rajat Jain, Managing Director, Walt Disney Television International (India); Vikram Sakhuja, Managing Director, Mindshare Fulcrum, South Asia; Pranesh Misra. COO, Lowe; Sharmista Rijhwani, Managing Director, Taj Television; Raj Nayak, CEO, NDTV Media; Apurva Purohit, ex COO, Times Television and Sunil Gupta, Country Head, Aprais.
Setting the tone of discussion, Krishnan said, “Integrated media company (IMC) offers multiple media platforms of communication under a single roof.” He proprosed, “Size does matter and hence it makes perfect sense for a company to intergrate itself. This is because the audience has changed tremendously in the past 8 odd years and there is a lot of fragmentaion that has happened. Now, there are new media touch points and with DTH becoming a major player, the customer has a new medium to experience interactivity.”
Jain too started off with explaining the vertical and horizontal media intergration of companies. He questioned, Is this the media of future? “For answering this it is important to understand that consumers today are bombarded with numerous media vehicles be it terrestial TV, Internet, Radio, SMS, etc, and since revenue is all about eyeball capturing, IMC is an option of the future. I believe that in essence moving ahead, integratrion is the path of future and whether it will be a vertical or a horizontal integration, that will have to depend on the company’s strength. Isolation definitely is not the way for future.”
With the emergence of diverse media companies, over time surviving on just one media business, either TV or print, is too risky for a company. “This is precisely why there is no doubt that IMC is here to stay. One needs to study the impact it will have on the media constituents – consumers, advertisers or media buyers and media business owners themselves and once that happens, we can find out that the impact on consumers of IMC is fairly minimal. Thus the thrust is on the media owners.”
On quizzing whether Zoom would have done better if it would have been packaged with Times Of India, Apurva said, “The art is to keep various media companies separate and so applies to all the media companies looking at intergation, because packaging can lead to discounting rather than providing any advantage.”
Nayak said, “There is no only way, so one can’t say that IMC is the only game in town for long-term survival. The objective here is to understand if there is natural brand extention and if the integration offers synergy then it makes perfect sense. It’s nice to talk about scale but one needs to also take into consideration the practical terms of running the business.”
Taking forward the debate of whether such a strategy is worthwhile in the first place, Rijhwani said, “The truth of the matter is that a company needs to evalute the time period it is operating in, the competition it is faced with and its core competency. This will lead the company to answer the question of whether intergartion will offer it its success. Consumer today is not just aware but is absolutely evolved and thus one will need to offer the consumer much more.”
In complete agreement, Sakhuja said, “The answer lies in what is the core competency growth model that you have applied to the company, just climbing onto a bandwagon won’t help. In an IMC, the consumer gives it a damn, whereas the media buyers look for one stop shop for its media requirements.”
Touching upon the co-brand value and citing an example of Zee TV’s movie telecast of Mujhse Shaadi Karogi, Misra stated, “Because advertisers and media houses do not respect the consumers for their advertisement tolerance and bombard them with ads, is the reason why consumers are turning off advertisements. Only because everything is advertised, we think it gives great ROI but it’s not the truth. We must have norms of advertising so as to not irritate the consumer and let them enjoy the brand value.”
Concluding the panel discussion Gupta asserted, “There is just no debate on whether or why, the debate is of how and when. One just needs to follow the money and then everything else will fall in place.”
The panelists agreed that the future is indeed perfect for an integrated media company.