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Future is about atomisation of the newspaper: Santosh Desai

13-August-2012
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Future is about atomisation of the newspaper: Santosh Desai

The year 2020 promises to be an indicative watershed of behavioural shift of media consumers that business practitioners need to be geared for. What is so special about 2020? It is the year when the millennium child will be on the threshold of becoming an adult and when they are certain to make their presence felt in various decision-making processes by then.

Already forces are in play that is changing the Indian consumers – growth of nuclear families, rapid urbanisation, rising incomes and so on. Santosh Desai, MD & CEO, Future Brands India, sees technology changing the way the media industry functions. He felt, “Every gadget, every technology will have a specific function that is mediated by its own nature and limitations; whereas, the digital world is much more about own intention.”

According to Desai, today mobile is close to becoming a universal gadget. “At the moment you have the technology, then idea of the applications is actually taking the notion of limited technology and building a universe of options that you can now access,” he noted. In the digital world, everything is reduced to electronic binaries, thus facilitating the move from one form to another.

He further said that the model of change would be more linear. While there will be greater media consumption, the pattern of the evolution is likely to be linear. “With each of us has become mini broadcasting stations, the importance of media will only grow,” Desai said. He called cricket, cinema and political scandals the “common currencies” that would continue to pull Indians together. How media organisations can form more central themes and appeal to the sense of universal currency is something that everyone will engage in.

“If you look Twitter as a medium, at one level it is deeply democratising and it is segmenting. But without the trends which give you sort of a map, something like the front page of a newspaper, you cannot comprehend it. The coming together of segmentation and idea of aberration is a interesting dynamic,” Desai added.

Looking ahead, he said that we would see much more “atomisation”, wherein our day has fractured into moments and every moment has become significant. “Simultaneously, we can process different things at the same time wherever we are,” he said.

Similarly, newspapers in the digital medium will comprise several elements, and each of those elements will be an independent entity. “When you send links, you will be able to dismember a newspaper and consume only that part that you are interested in. In consumer terms, we will see a clash between wanting to belong to a common identity and have common interest vis-à-vis pursuing one’s own interests, both at national and hyper local segments,” Desai observed.

Santosh Desai was expressing his views at the 6th International News Media Association (INMA) South Asia conference, held in New Delhi on August 7 and 8, 2012.

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