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exchange4media Conclave 2008: In Digital anybody can be producers and publishers, says Murugavel Janakiraman

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exchange4media Conclave 2008: In Digital anybody can be producers and publishers, says Murugavel Janakiraman

After stimulating debates on ‘Print 3.0’ in Delhi and ‘Television 3.0’ in Mumbai, the exchange4media Conclave 2008 moved to Bangalore on March 14, where some of the top honchos of new age media companies put the spotlight on ‘Digital 2.0’. Delivering the keynote address, Murugavel Janakiraman, Founder & CEO, Consim Info Pvt Ltd, and Chairman of the Internet & Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), raised some important issues pertaining to `Digital 2.0’.

exchange4media Conclave 2008 is a four-city initiative that seeks to create a platform to discuss and debate the burning issues that impact various domains, including television, radio, print and digital. NDTV Media is the Presenting Sponsor for this four-city mega industry event.

Delivering the keynote address on ‘Will digital be the next TV in India anytime soon’, Janakiraman shared his perceptive on the topic. Conceding that the limited number of broadband users was hampering the growth of the digital media in India, Janakiraman said that digital could not replace television anytime in the near future as there was no comparison between reach of television and the reach of the Internet. “There are only 40 million Internet users as against 500-plus million television viewers. So, where is the comparison?” he asked.

Stating that the market was still dominated by print and television, Janakiraman said that globally television and print advertising was much bigger than online advertising, except in the UK, where the money spent on the Internet was slightly higher than television. Having said that, he added, that Internet as a medium was growing and would continue to grow.

Speaking about the scenario in India, he said that Internet advertising was very minimal compared to print and television. Though Internet advertising was growing, it would not replace television or print advertising in the near future, he added. Elaborating on the pros and cons of television and Internet advertising, Janakiraman said that there was very high entry barrier as far as television advertising was concerned. “It is not like anybody can get into television advertising as it requires certain business scale and size. Even to put a commercial on television it costs anywhere between Rs 3 lakh and Rs 5 lakh, and another Rs 2-3 crore for making a commercial,” he pointed out, adding, that considering all these factors, television could have only a limited number of advertisers.

According to him, the beauty of Internet advertising was that it had a long trail of advertisers. Anybody could advertise on the Internet and there was no entry barrier, and the amount of money spend on Internet advertising was very small, Janakiraman said, adding that television advertising was very intrusive, whereas Internet advertising was non-intrusive and did not affect the way one consumed the content. “On the Internet you can consume the content and still ignore the advertisement, but that is the not the case with the television, where one is forced to watch a commercial even if he/she does not like to,” he further said.

Listing out the advantages of Internet advertising over television further, Janakiraman said that television cut across the demographics and one could not target a particular group of audience, while through Internet one could target any individual. “While television cuts across demographics, Internet reaches specific Internet Protocol addresses. Another great advantage of Internet advertising is ‘personalisation’. Today, I can target a particular individual by name on the Internet, which is not possible with television,” he pointed out.

‘Can a brand be built by Internet advertising’ was another pertinent point that Janakiraman raised at the Conclave. “In the US, several multi-billion dollar companies built their brands by purely advertising on the Internet,” he said. Citing the examples of eBay, Amazon, and Google, he said that these companies had built their brands just by advertising on the Internet. However, according to him, a combination of Internet and television advertising was the best way to build a brand in India as Internet penetration was very low here. He added, “The Internet is the best medium to reach the youngsters as they spent most of their time online.”

Convergence of several medium was another important topic that Janakiraman emphasised on. He said, “While we are discussing whether Internet is going to be the next big thing, interestingly, there is a convergence happening across the globe. While television is becoming Internet with IPTV, the telcos in the US have realised that they cannot survive if they have not become triple play – video, voice and data – player. Video is going to be the future of Internet. Today, video is not a big thing in India because of the limited number of broadband users. But in the US, video on Internet is already a big thing. Therefore, Internet is becoming a giant video channel and a lot of video content is consumed through Internet.”

Speaking further on video on Internet, Janakiraman said that as far as television was concerned, only professionals could create content. On the contrary, anybody could become producers and publishers on the Internet. “That is why Internet is becoming a giant video channel and television has metamorphosed into Internet with the emergence of IPTV. This is an interesting convergent to watch out for,” he noted.

He foresaw Internet taking over television eventually. In his concluding remark, Janakiraman said, “Internet as a medium is going to grow substantially, if not today, Internet will definitely take over television in terms of reach, advertising etcetera eventually. People will spend less time on television, and TV as a medium is going to have limited number of advertisers, channels and inventories. On the other hand, Internet can have unlimited number of inventories as people are going to spend more and more time on the Internet.”

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