"To leverage technology, get into niche content"

Uday Shankar, CEO, STAR India feels deeper understanding of consumers & recognition of talent can help broadcasters evolve

e4m by Saloni Surti
Updated: Oct 25, 2012 8:10 PM
"To leverage technology, get into niche content"

In the era of analogue cable, broadcasters have had a specific approach towards content and target audience. However, with digitisation, the face of Indian broadcasting industry is changing tremendously. While the audience has evolved with the technology, change in broadcasters’ approach is a debated question.

For Uday Shankar, CEO, STAR India, broadcasters have not taken efforts to exploit technology.

With the arrival of digitisation came a number of opportunities that were not exploited by broadcasters. For instance, DTH services give a wider option in terms of variety, they also provide better picture quality, thus giving broadcasters an opportunity to create and circulate more content.

Despite the fact that the opportunity is big, it has not been leveraged to the fullest. The economics have not worked out and the distribution of same kind of content is persistent.

According to Shankar, sharper and deeper understanding of consumers and recognition of talent can help broadcasters evolve in the right direction.

There was no need for segmentation until a few years ago. Now broadcasters need to segregate their content regionally. Consumers living in different parts of the country have different customs and traits and thus, the content has to be generated accordingly. A content creator has to live and breathe the universe he is working for.

Shankar highlighted the fact that analogue cable was universal distribution and lacked the local touch. Digitisation enables the broadcast of segmented content and content creators need to leverage on this opportunity. He insisted, “We need to remember that the strength of our country lies in its diversity.”

He further observed that digitisation alone will not bring about the change.

While broadcasters create regional content to bank on the opportunities provided by digitisation, they also need to create a connect with their audience. The characters that they create should depict reality and capture the economics right. “A broadcaster cannot sit in Mumbai and decide how Bihar looks like,” Shankar noted. To get the equation right, broadcasters need to be authentic. They need to hit the road and find out for themselves.

Shankar pointed out that with digitisation, broadcasters have the opportunity to take content penetration deeper. The content generators need to move away from the broad definition of content and get into niche.

Digitisation has a lot more in store than what broadcasters anticipate. With less than seven days left for the DAS deadline, the timing cannot be less than perfect for broadcasters to have a change in approach.

Uday Shankar was sharing his views at the Mumbai leg of the e4m Conclave on October 23, 2012. He was speaking on the topic ‘As technology ushers in a New Broadcasting Era, are we prepared?’ The Conclave was presented by Jagran.

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