ABP News-e4m Webinar: Around 40% ad inventory is now going into news: Vikram Sakhuja

Vikram Sakhuja, Group CEO, Madison Media & OOH- Madison World, explained that although we consume news from various sources today, we tend to trust some more than others depending on the medium

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Updated: Apr 28, 2020 9:30 AM
e4m Webinar with Vikram Sakhuja

Today, we are accepting mediocrity in the name of breaking news, said Vikram Sakhuja, Group CEO, Madison Media & OOH- Madison World, while speaking on a webinar conducted by A e4m.

Sakhuja was speaking on the topic “News- Trust, Authenticity and its unparalleled role in current times”, and when asked about how important trust and credibility is for the news, he says it’s important because the organizations who built it, are doing better today. He went on to explain that today we consume news from various sources, but we tend to trust some more than others depending upon the medium.

“We get different news from various sources like International Publication, Print, TV Broadcast, social media, news aggregators etc., and chance are all pieces of news are correct, but we tend to believe some more than others, depends upon the medium we received it from”, he said.

He further cites the example of Time Magazine. He recalls, “About 32 years ago, my then would-be wife used to work for Time Magazine and every Thursday, when they closed the issue, they used to be obsessed by something called 'Checkpoint Charlie' where they put any news that was verified at least twice. Today, in the rush to get out the news before our competitors, we are accepting mediocrity.”

To the question that is news getting its true value commercially, despite seeing an unprecedented rise in the last few weeks since lockdown, Sakhuja said, news is doing better than other genres if compared.

He said that, in a time like today, when we are dealing with a global crisis, people are depending on the news more than ever to make sense of things. “TV has grown by 40% and about 52% of it is contributed by an increase in the news. It’s driven by 12% more views and 35% more viewing. Share of news, which used to be at 6%-7%, has now gone up to 17%”, he stated.

He further said that “While online content consumption has not seen much rise, but only a 10% increase, but the consumption of news has gone up by 76%. Newspaper reading has also home up, according to surveys. There is a need for news currently. At this time, ideally, it should have been a bonanza for news houses, is unfortunately not translating to business the way expected. Media is a demand-supply game, and this April, the demand for advertising has gone down by 60%- 70% from the normal levels. Market forces determine value, and at this point in time, news it not undervalued. 40% of the entire inventory that was bought in the last three to four weeks was bought by news channels. News channels are finding their due share of value by finding a prominent place in media plans.”

Answering a viewer's questions about the value of credibility in today’s time, he said that its one factor, but not the most valued one. He explains, “When talking about credibility, the ideological question comes into play. Also, standards of credibility are different for people. Some people follow personality and some of the investigative prowess of journalism. Some just following the ability to break news and others are going after sensationalism. Then there are few who go after credibility and authenticity, but it’s just one factor, and not most important one. Unfortunately, the advertiser does not go by the credibility of the organization, but its popularity. The money goes where the eyeballs go.”

On the question of whether the advertiser would chase news post-COVID-19 as they are now, Sakhuja says that won’t be the case unless the genre continues to see a rise. He said, “Advertisers go where the eyeballs are. If news continues to grow as it is, then advertisers will keep putting money there, and if the consumer habits go back to normal, then, unfortunately, the news won’t see as dramatic viewership as it has now.”

He adds that Sports is a genre that’s going to see biggest spike post-COVID-19, as there has been a dearth of it currently. Also, when GEC will come back with new programming, it will also see a rise.

Explaining why media is not getting its due share of revenue despite huge popularity, Sakhuja says the reason is completion. He says, if we have a lesser number of news channels, they’ll have better rates.

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