The comeback is always stronger than the setback: Pawan Jailkhani, 9X Media

Guest Column: Pawan Jailkhani, the CRO of 9X Media, is confident that the media industry will emerge stronger from the coronavirus crisis provided that it stands united

e4m by Pawan Jailkhani
Published: Apr 10, 2020 9:08 AM  | 4 min read
Pawan Jailkhani

The world is going through some tough times both emotionally and economically. During the course of my career in the media industry, this is the third economic crisis I have seen. And so far, it has been the worst. Having said that, it’s important to note that whenever there has been an economic crisis in the country or the world, immediately post that, the economic condition has always bounced back with unprecedented growth. 

Specifically speaking about our media industry, it has been through some of the worst hiccups. The Global Recession had impacted a slowdown from an advertising perspective back in 2008-09. Another one was the Service Tax issue a decade ago. So, I have seen the phase where there was a complete lockdown in terms of advertising activity. We went through three phases of digitization, which disrupted the industry completely. Even the demonetisation in 2016 and later the GST phases disrupted our industry. Last year too, we saw the FTA-pay regime happening, which impacted the industry in a big way.

Fortunately, in all these phases across bodies -- be it broadcasters, media house, publishers, digital platforms, clients or agencies -- we all have worked together.  In the worst of the scenarios, I have seen the industry unite and be considerate towards each other.  I have seen brands collaborating with media platforms and media agencies to bring about the best possible results. Even in the worst scenario of service tax issue a decade ago, broadcasters and publishers have collaborated with brands and agencies.  And I presume the current scenario should not be different from the way we have collaborated in the past. I want to appeal to all the brands or agencies that this is a temporary phase and this too shall pass! 

The media industry in India is anyway undervalued in terms of pricing. That being said, I urge everyone to be sensitive towards the current situation and no one should get into negotiation in terms of rates or CPRPs. Instead, it’s time for us to unite and work together as an industry and find innovative ways to bring social change in the form of advertising. While it is an adverse situation, we should see the positivity in this adversity. Remember, this is the best time in terms of viewership and engagement. I also appeal to broadcasters that they should be patient and invest in their own brand instead of devaluing it. 

In the gloomy lockdown situation, viewers are turning to music as it has the power to uplift the spirits. Being India’s largest music broadcaster with the highest reach, we are experiencing unprecedented viewership. As many as 340 million people across age groups equating to 60% of total TV population in HSM have watched music channels in recent 2 weeks according to BARC.

This is the best time for brands to build loyalty with the consumers and to drive social change through advertising. As an industry, we need support from clients to advertise right now.  Similarly, I believe that all the broadcasters and publishers that have patience and resilience will see growth. I advise broadcasters to not come under the pressure, keep your brand value intact and invest in people and skills. 

This crisis will have its own positive effects, which we'll see after six months. The World will change for better the way we consume, see, interact and conduct. Also, since this is a pandemic, impacting almost every country, beyond globalization, localization will also be a new norm. The industry has seen dark days, and each time, we have come out stronger. This time, it will be no different. 

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not in any way represent the views of

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