In an exclusive interaction with exchange4media, Varghese Chandy, Chief General Manager- Marketing & Advertising Sales, Malayala Manorama talks about the top trends and highlights of the year 2014.
What are the top developments in the print domain this year from an industry perspective?
Ache Din promised to bring a revival in the industry and economy, neither the ache din nor the revival has happened. Though the government has given some positive indications about its good intentions, after 200 days in governance, the industry has started bemoaning lack of ‘radical ideas’ and ‘bold initiatives’ by the Modi government.
Election brought in a flurry of activities in the media, particularly in the Hindi belt. The Southern market did not get much benefit of the election ad money. Political parties, individual candidates heavily utilized cheaper digital and social media option for campaigning. The Elections failed to generate the promised growth.
Digital media took centrestage in the Indian media scenario with a 300 million strong internet user base.
Google India turned out to be a contender for one of the top slots in the media space in India. Google India reportedly closed last financial year with over $500 million turnover. It will become a $1 billion company in 1-2 years.
Diwali was surprisingly good in the relevant markets. E-retailers, smartphones, automobiles lit up Diwali for media houses. Brick-and-Mortar shops too spent a decent amount to compete with online shops.
Onam was decently good for us, offsetting to some extent the setbacks in first quarter of FY'15. Post Onam, towards the year end, the market is upbeat with a lot of action. However, volatility is very evident.
What are the challenges that the industry is facing in your view?
Macro economic conditions continue to be a matter of worry. Consumption-led growth is yet to take off. Sky rocketing stock market indices and improving CAD (Current Account Deficit) are yet to percolate down to real growth in consumer wages and consequently in personal consumption.
Huge pressure on rate is another concern. Media trading is coming into the fore relegating media measurement science and basics of media planning into the back seat.
Which is that one top property or event or initiative in the print industry that comes to your mind for 2014?
Offering integrated solutions for clients by the big media houses including ours have shown results. Times of India's Passion Trails evoked much interest in me. Creating and nurturing interest based groups and finding ways to monetize them is a commendable initiative. In the coming years, more such efforts that try to leverage newspaper dailies' unique 'human connect' factor can be expected.