‘Monetisation of news platforms biggest challenge in digital era’
At e4m-DNPA Future of Digital Media Conference, Dr Annurag Batra, Chairman & Editor-in-Chief, Businessworld & exchange4media, spoke to CEOs on monetisation, fake news, consumer attention & much more
Published - Jan 30, 2023 10:58 AM | 3 min read
At the e4m-DNPA Future of Digital Media Conference, a panel discussion with CEOs of top companies was held to discuss digital media and how the new generation of readers is influencing media houses and their ways of connecting with their audiences.
The panel was chaired by Dr Annurag Batra, Chairman & Editor-in-Chief, Businessworld & exchange4media. On the panel were Avinash Pandey, CEO, ABP Network; Puneet Jain, CEO, Hindustan Times; Hemant Jain, President and Business Head (Digital), Lokmat, and Sanjay Sindhwani, CEO, The Indian Express (digital).
Avinash Pandey spoke about the challenges in the digital era. “The biggest challenge today is reaching out to the consumer. When everybody has become a publisher and a broadcaster, how your authentic news reaches the consumer first, and how you monetize it best is the biggest challenge today in our industry.”
Speaking on the opportunities that the digital world has created for publishers, Puneet Jain said: “I think the biggest opportunity for our publishers’ communities is the tremendous interest and love we see from our users. All of us continue to track millions who are using our platforms to consume news on a daily basis. In fact, what we are seeing is a huge reinforcement towards credible journalism in these interesting times of a social world we are living in.”
Sanjay Sindhwani veered the discussion to the problem of fake news and how publishers and consumers together can fight it. “The opportunity is massive. But I think the cost is also massive. I think today what is happening is if the media business doesn't become viable, then we'll see a lot of fake news floating around. When you're trying to bait clicks, you try to provoke people with things, which may not be real or factual. So, I think that's the cost of it. And I think in a democracy, it's very important that people value good content and good news sources and learn to pay for it.”
Taking the discussion ahead, Hemant Jain spoke about how the short attention span of consumers is the biggest challenge for consumers today. “While monetization continues to be the lowest common denominator and the most common challenge for most news publishers across the world, I think if you keep the consumer at the centre of your entire ecosystem and the business model, there is a huge shift in consumer behaviour with regard to the attention span. So, if you look at human attention today it is the lowest. Now, how do you evolve yourself keeping the shift in consumer behaviour in terms of newer formats of news media content, which ensures that you are able to create the right connect with the consumer and thereby create a great value proposition is something which would which all of us would have to kind of today embrace as one of our bigger challenges.”
He ends his view by talking about first-party data as a big opportunity for media publishers and how they can monetise it. “The big opportunity I see is our investment of time, money and resource in building the first-party data because it's not just about collecting data, but it's about managing customer lifecycle. So, most of us complain about the lesser frequency of visitations in a month, lesser time spent and how do we increase frequency and time spent to increase a better value proposition for advertisers? Now, that's interesting, because we have to start thinking like B2C brands, where we start not only capturing consumer data, but also start serving content which is more relevant more contextual, and in the process, collect enriched data, which can be monetized or leveraged at a higher value or premium when it comes to advertising.”
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