Indian market perfectly represents our new tech-centric mission: Jason Farkas

VP & GM, CNN Business, on technology being an integral part of each and every business across the world

e4m by Apeksha Mishra
Updated: Nov 22, 2018 8:30 AM

CNN Business believes that India’s economy and growing Internet user base makes the this market perfectly resonate and represent the storyline that they believe in, which is about Tech being an integral part of each and every business driving their economy. In an interview with exchange4media, Jason Farkas, VP & General Manager, of CNN Business, spoke to us about how the brand looks at an integrated form of media marketing mix in order to sustain consistent growth. Here are the edited excerpts: 


What new strategy are you taking with CNN Business. Will it focus more on the tech sector, and what other areas do you plan to cover?



CNN Business is chronicling the biggest financial story of our time. The rapid pace of change emanating from the tech industry is putting technology at the centre of all businesses. The way we are looking at the world now is that all industries across the world, be it media, retail, FMCG etc. are being challenged someway or the other to perform by its ability to adapt to technology. We at CNN also cover the companies, personalities, and innovations that are driving businesses forward. We believe and therefore are narrating the story of how technology is driving all industries at present.


As CNN Business is set to integrate with CNN TV programming could you throw some light on the benefits the viewers can reap post this association?


That’s right. CNN Business is truly multi-platform. We have an enormous presence on Digital, social media and across television, as well. All the businesses reporting on CNN International have an association with CNN Business. We are fully integrated across CNN and CNN International on-air programming with special branded segments fronted by senior anchors from the editorial team. Our business content is shared and cross-promoted with CNN International shows such as Quest Means Business, First Move with Julia Chatterley, The Express etc. CNN International experts also contribute news and their analyses to CNN Business.



In the business of journalism, how do you think traditional media is able to stand out in today's digital era. What according to you is the future business model, and any attempts at reviving traditional media in today's digital world?


I don’t think any journalism organisation in today’s time practices using a single platform any longer. It’s how we make digital and traditional marketing together a part of our marketing mix. Even for a legacy print or television organisation, it’s important to have a plan to know how to tackle the digital future. It’s crucial to have a strong social presence and to plan your business keeping in mind the emerging technology trends within the market. For CNN, Integrating various forms of media marketing has always been one of the best ways to keep the business growing stronger.


However, there’s no single silver bullet for all media organisations to figure out and practice it in order to monetise and scale. The answer differs from one organisation to another.



How does today's Indian market look like to you in terms of business? Can we look at more collaborations and expanding CNN's footprint with brands and marketers here?


There’s absolutely enormous opportunity in the Indian market for CNN Business. India is one of the largest English speaking countries in the world and we are an English language-first organisation. We have been looking carefully at the areas of interest for Indian readers in the past and we have noticed a significant interest in our technology coverage. As you know, CNN Business is focused on telling the story about how technology is at the centre of all global industries. As we make that transition, we think this will directly appeal to the Indian market. Further more, the Indian Digital market is beginning to be fully tapped. With another 800 miliion people in India set to come online and join the Internet in the next two years, we definitely, see this as a coiled spring opportunity for us.

How do you see Indian media in terms of business. How does CNN & TV18's collaboration plan to offer a global approach to journalism in today's time?


The collaboration between CNN and TV18 has been incredibly successful, especially in terms of exposing the Indian market place to the CNN brand. TV18 has our full support in ramping up their initiatives so as to further enhace relevance for the global-minded Indian audience. Our only content sales news affiliate in India is CNN News 18, which started long back in the year 2005.


Do you see subscription model becoming a reality for Indian media too which is highly dependent on ad revenue currently?


The potential for ad sales growth in India remains to be very strong. With the huge wave of Indians coming onto the Internet, that will make for four times the size of U.S market in terms of population. Hence, we expect a tremendous ad-revenue growth in India. With respect to the U.S with everyone on the Internet, we almost have a 100% penetration of digital at this point in time.


We continue to look at the subcription model as an opportunity going forward to help us out with some interesting possibilities for the future of CNN.


With the growing number of mobile and Internet users in India, technology has reached a new level altogether. How can CNN Business leverage this?


The Indian market and Indian cosumers are extremely tech and mobile focused, respectively. This is an incredible opportunity for CNN Business as no other giant economy can better encapsulate the storyline that we are trying to tell, of tech as the central driver of all economies. To us, India represents it perfectly. We believe there are many stories in the region that are impeccably in line with our new mission.


What is your take on 'Video First'?


There has obviously been tremendous growth in the Video market place. The truth of the matter is that CNN because of its history as a television organization does video better than any other organization. Unlike other digital outlets that started only as print publications, which are now trying to figure out the video space, we began as a Video organization at the core. Hence, with technology evolving, bandwidth is getting stronger, and users have become interested in video formats on their mobile phones. We definitely see this as playing directly into our core strength.  

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