The Global Business Media Forum, in its final day, focussed on new horizons in business media. Each of the sessions gave a refreshing perspective of the existing business principles in the business media sector. The concluding day also saw an interesting Q&A session between Dr Pramath Raj Sinha, Founder & MD, 9.9 Mediaworx, and columnist, media consultant and writer Vanita Kohli-Khandekar.
Kohli-Khandekar commenced the session by asking Dr Sinha to give the audience a sense of what he was into, to which Dr Sinha gave a brief overview of his company, 9.9 Mediaworx. While discussing about his portfolio of products, Dr Sinha interestingly commented that he was keen to move out of the ‘technology only’ space that his company was working now. He also informed that an initiative in this regard had already been taken and that 9.9 Mediaworx now published titles like ‘CTO Forum’, ‘CFO India’ and ‘India Inc’.
On being asked to comment on the Indian B2B space, Dr Sinha gave a few interesting statistics. He said that print advertising in the ‘B2B Magazine’, published by Crain Publications in the USA was worth $8.5 billion. The business magazine industry in the US was worth roughly around $23 billion. In comparison, the value of the industry in India was around Rs 1,000 crore, which translated into $200 million, which was roughly just one-hundredth of the US market. India was thus at a very early stage where the business media industry was concerned. “It is an emerging industry,” Dr. Sinha noted.
Kohli-Khandekar here pointed out that compared to mass media, the advantage of ‘scale’ was always less in B2B. To this, Dr Pramath Sinha commented that in B2B, there was an absence of financial muscle. He added, “Indian B2B media has not really been able to demonstrate its profitability. For long, publishers have been successful in specific domains. However, the real challenge has been to replicate the success in other domains or scaling it up.” When asked how the global biggies had managed to do it, Dr Sinha replied, “The Indian business media has largely been promoter dependant. Also, in general business is more relationship in B2B. Thus, people are constrained by their own limitations to grow organically.”
“In order to scale up a business, there have to be people who are ready to monetise it. On the other hand, in a typical B2B space the promoters are more than happy with fair share of profits and thus, have no ambition to monetise their businesses,” he added.
The session concluded with Kohli-Khandekar asking Dr Sinha about the absence or lack of matrix in B2B in India and whether there was a specific reason for it. To this, Dr Sinha replied, “The clients, specifically, technology clients, are least concerned about audit. Their rationale is that the industry being small, they can very well see the reach of the publication. However, they would be very much interested in ‘measurability’.
Many of the audience members, such as Alok Brara, Publisher, India Infrastructure; Sreekant Khandekar, Co-founder and Director, Afaqs, also agreed with Dr Sinha on this point. The session concluded with most of the industry stalwarts agreeing on the fact of creating an association of B2B publishers to steer the B2B media industry in the direction of stupendous growth.
Global Business Media Forum: Turning the spotlight on the B2B media community