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Channel neutral idea is the Holy Grail: R Gowthaman on Digital Media

20-July-2009
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Channel neutral idea is the Holy Grail: R Gowthaman on Digital Media

Leaders from media service agencies gathered at Taj Lands End Hotel in Mumbai for Media Review 2009, organised by the Bombay Ad Club on July 17, where they took stock of the growth of the various domains. Apart from senior officials of the media services industry, the audience comprised people from the lower and mid-managements of media agencies and media owners.

R Gowthaman (better known as G-Man), Leader, Mindshare South Asia, began the review by taking stock of the digital medium. By G-Man’s own admission, reviewing or being able to pave the road ahead of the digital medium was a dilemma. He noted, “Anything done in the year gone would have no relevance in the future, such is the pace of the digital medium.”

What G-Man instead presented was “thought starters”, wherein the only part that had any reflection of the past was that that digital was the fastest growing medium in the advertising industry.

G-Man noted that while it was impossible for one to predict what the future held, the one aspect that was sure to happen in this medium was convergence of technology. One point to ponder upon here was that whether the media industry was paying enough attention to understanding technology. G-Man asked, “We send planners to understand print and television, but how many have sent planners to understand digital technology? We are focussing on the Orkuts and the Facebooks, but not the technology behind it.”

G-Man also pointed out the multiple industries such as telecom operators, broadcasters, electronic publishers, ISPs, content creators, and software development that had become a part of this value chain. As these industries integrated forward and backward to create communication ideas and platforms, on the face of it, it was difficult to understand what role media could play here.

For G-Man, while the road ahead had to be about specifics like database marketing and direct marketing, it was imperative for the industry to invest in research for the medium to be able to get a grip on what the future of this medium held. He added that while print medium was like boating in a lake, and television was like boating in a river, digital medium was like white-water rafting.

Whether it was audience, market, time, weight or environment, the information coming from this medium was hourly; the medium was available anywhere, anytime, and the most important part was that it was engaging.

“Channel neutral idea is the Holy Grail,” concluded G-Man.

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