Cross media ownership has been a hotly debated topic, with strong supporters as well as detractors. Some feel that even if businessmen or politicians are not allowed to own media properties, there are various other ways of owning them.
Jehangir Pocha, CEO, NewsX felt that the challenge before media is the intellectual framework; it is not the bigger questions but the smaller challenges that matter. “The big issues of the day are very compelling; they are great to debate, but they are ultimately collegial. The issues that will shape our industry are those that are much more granular,” he pointed out.
Pocha also stressed on a proper and statistically valid method of calculating market share.
Regarding who could own media, he remarked, “When we say media should not be owned by businessmen and politicians, we need to remember that there are thousands of ways of owning media. It’s a bit like marriage, you can spend 35 years with a man or women and not be married to him or her. We must reintegrate ourselves with the granular issues that affect our future.”
He expressed his apprehension about where the media industry is headed. “The great fear that I live with is that I have 20-30 working years ahead of me, but I am not sure my industry will give me those. I genuinely fear for the future of media. I wonder whether there will still be jobs in this industry 20 years from now or will it all degenerate.”
Meanwhile, sharing his experiences in the telecom industry, TV Ramachandran, Chairman, ASSOCHAM, admitted that he didn’t know much about cross media ownership. He pointed out that there was intense competition in the telecom industry and there is a lot of concern about concentration of market power, ownership, and so on. “We have benefited from excellent regulation. But we have also seen the maximum noise from telecom players regarding the regulations. We tend to argue, but we believe this sort of healthy engagement helps the sector move forward.”
He further said that along with various media, there is also need to look at social media, which is now becoming a very big influence.
Jehangir Pocha and TV Ramachandran were speaking at a conference organised by ASSOCHAM on Cross Media Ownership. The conference was held in New Delhi on July 27, 2012.