NEWSNEXT 2021: 'While digital is moving ahead, it's not a threat to traditional media'

A panel of industry experts discussed whether digital disruption will change the dynamics of content viewing and monetisation in the years to come

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Updated: Apr 5, 2021 12:59 PM
newsnext 2021

The lag between the eyeballs and monetisation on Indian news media is impacting the production quality of content, a panel speaking at NewsNext 2021 opined while discussing “Newsonomics: Is Digital Disruption of News TV The Fight That Matters?” They noted that irrespective of the medium, the news industry hasn’t been able to attract substantial advertising and subscription revenues. 

The virtual panel moderated by NewsX Associate Editor (Special Projects) Tarun Nangia also featured Business Strategist Lloyd Mathias; Network18 (Broadcast) CEO, History TV18 & FYI TV18 MD Avinash Kaul; and PTC Network MD Rabindra Narayan. 

Kaul shared, “There is a big demand and supply gap in the news media industry when it comes to advertising. There are hundreds of channels and publishers but there are just 18,000 television advertisers on average every year. On print, the count is just three lakhs every year. But when you look at Google ad words, millions of micro advertisers spend money there. That is where the problem lies. Even for subscription on TV channels, you pay 2-3 rupees every month. How can you expect quality content in such an amount? ” 

Narayan said that now independent journalists and content creators are capable of setting up broadcasting channels with minimum investments and that is changing how the audience is viewing the content. “You have to find ways to get to the audience and then get your content out to that particular one. You cannot replicate the same amount of revenue as television but even the biggest organisations with expensive equipment, big offices, and popular anchors are earning so little in revenue.” 

However, they noted that the changing dynamics of content creation and delivery, headlined by subscription-based digital platforms will change the course for the better in the coming years. 

Subscribing to Kaul’s thoughts, Mathia highlighted, “Yes, there is a multiplicity of options but the non-desirability to pay for watching quality content is changing now, with the likes of Amazon and Netflix. The future is digital and it will help advertisers and content creators.”

He however noted that this does not mean that the traditional mediums will die. “Historically speaking, television has taken the centre stage in the last decade or so but the prior media of print and radio still holds ground. There are certain advertisers who still believe in their value. I think we are at a similar cusp between TV and digital right now, where the latter is clearly moving ahead today. But it is not an immediate threat to the traditional media.”

He added, “It effectively means that it is going to be very heavily credibility-dependent. A lot of it will move towards analysis and interpretation.”

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