At the recently concluded #PorterPrize 2017 event on Wednesday, MK Anand, MD and CEO, Times Network, stressed on the uniqueness of the English-speaking Indian audience and how his brand has led the competition by catering to their needs. He mentioned how the Times of India brand is completing 180 years and still growing in this market in 2018. “As a network, we have something to contribute to this discourse on competitive strategy,” he said.
Anand, who has been with the brand for 27 years, said, “We focus entirely and completely on our consumer. We at the Times Network serve the English-speaking Indian TV audiences. Our audience is unique. Nowhere in the world is the language of the elite so distinct from the population like it is in India. That presents a unique market opportunity. And that’s the billion-dollar advertising that we clock in every year through our newspaper and healthy revenues by the Network.”
He mentioned that the above factor doesn't go into building their brand. “We look at the social opportunity. That's why Times of India (ToI) and the Times Group resonate. Each of you carries a part of ToI inside you. We as Indians have ToI as a very important brand in our lives. That's really the social opportunity of the English language, which the Times Group capitalizes on. By a simple language filter, we are able to collect the most important and distinct audience group of influencers in this country,” he said.
He expressed his happiness on being associated with #PorterPrize 2017. “Our association started after being honoured with the Porter prize for creating distinctive value,” he said.
He stated that the Indian audience was leading the country in academia, corporates, bureaucracy, politics, media, glamour and in the smallest units of middle-class and lower middle-class households. He added, “The leader of the family is usually English literate and consumes some bit of English.”
Anand justified the English audience with figures. “English audiences are constantly deciding. They are the growth engine of India. One of two English viewers is engaged by Times Network. There are about 21 crore people watching English television out of 130 crore Indians. The distribution by digital, which is happening over six to seven years, has expanded the scope of television further,” he said. He added that with TV entering more homes, non-English households will look at English channels for global news.
Anand said that the reason why the Times Network knows what ‘Indians at the top of the pyramid’ seek is because of their leadership in all genres of the English medium, be it newspapers, movies and more. He added that the network doesn’t compromise on ethics while running its business. “Indians like you and I are seeking validation for our need of speed. As a responsible and reputed brand, we don’t compromise on corporate brands and business ethics. We make integrity the core of our business functions and that is mandatory. That’s being competitive in terms of running a business. Our methods, when we create such content and distribution, are as clear as our intentions,” he said.
Anand insisted on the consumer being their top priority. He said, “We launch channels with the aim to address the audience’s current stated and unstated needs and critical issues and not to become number one. It’s the wrong objective. That pressure makes people lose their essence of integrity and take shortcuts, which we don’t encourage. For lasting popularity and being number one for decades and centuries, integrity and core values are the most important elements that should be a part of our competitive values. That is the highest reward of our competitive spirit.”