Bangalore, the IT hub of India, played host to the third edition of the four-city exchange4media Conclave 2008. In keeping with the theme of ‘Digital 2.0’, a distinguished panel comprising Alok Kejriwal, Founder of Mobile2Win; Ratish Nair, CEO, Interactive Avenues; Rohinton Maloo, MD, Cutting Edge Media; Pushkar Sane, GM, Starcom IP, APAC; and, Sudha Natrajan, Joint President of Lintas Media Group, discussed on issues ranging from Web 2.0 to Internet advertising, ROI, etc. The discussion was moderated by Abhijit Saxena, CEO, Netcore.
The earlier editions of exchange4media Conclave 2008 held in Delhi on March 11 with the theme of ‘Print 3.0’ and Mumbai on March 13 with the theme of ‘Television 3.0’ had received tremendous response from the media industry. NDTV Media is the Presenting Sponsor for this four-city mega industry event.
At Bangalore, Netcore’s Saxena opened the discussion, saying, “Web 1.0 was about the PC, while Web 2.0 will be about mobile. Interestingly, the shift will happen from search to serve, which is a trend now. It’s a truth that more content these days get accessed via mobile, so is media on mobile a reality? Are the Indian media and marketers leveraging Web 2.0 well?”
Mobile2Win’s Kejriwal said, “Absolutely. Web 2.0 is about being interactive, it is transparent and open, it’s an ongoing process where one cannot rest with just putting something on the Net, as there are ten others who are ready to rip it apart. It is always on (such as the RSS feeds), it is community centric and best of all, it is portable.”
According to him, marketers and the media were leveraging this medium well and testimony to this fact was that web advertising had gone beyond banners, with iRead and Rediff ishare being good examples of that.
Interactive Avenues’ Nair was of the view that if one used innovative ways to reach consumers via the Net, it would pay rich dividends in times to come. He said, “Social media is one way of reaching consumers, like we have done for HDFC Standard Life Insurance, which explores the responsibility quotient on Facebook, thus not thrusting advertising but reaching select few who are interested.”
Cutting Edge Media’s Malloo was of the opinion that the medium did not have too many takers as it was not being used aggressively by marketers and agencies, and also not many had the adequate knowledge of the medium. He said, “The medium does not generate enough eyeballs as compared to other mediums – be it television or print. Statistics say that there are 700 newspapers, over 4 crore readers and 120 million TV sets constituting over 600 million TV viewers. Web pales in front of these staggering figures, which is crippled because of lack of Internet penetration in the country coupled with lack of any presentable data through research.”
Malloo, too, stressed on innovative content like Second Life, which, according to him, was the need for this alternative world.
Starcom IP’s Sane, too, felt that marketers had lost the pulse of the consumers. He said, “No one cares about Web 2.0. Consumers and marketers are looking in diverse directions and not leveraging it in the interest of the consumers.” According to him, in order to achieve success, one needed to observe little things, be ready to fail, embrace technology and remember that tried and tested didn’t work in this world.
Lintas Media Group’s Natrajan had an interesting take when she said, “We talk about numbers, volumes and ROI. I feel that the traditional media agency, be it the advertiser or media, have not done justice to the web. A mass advertiser would have to restructure the company if it decided to go the web way.”
She cited the example of Sunsilk’s online initiative – Gang Of Girls – which had generated initial interest because of the huge spends offline, though in long-term it failed.
The panel discussion concluded with everyone agreeing that there definitely was a keen interest in Internet advertising, innovation was the key to success.
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