I feel it’s one of the most interesting times to be a journalist, in India.
Despite lagging behind on the technological front the country offers immense possibilities to both media companies and professionals (including Journalists).
Convergence is the name of the game, with media houses embedding all their platforms together and dishing out to customers in various modes. From mobiles, to Facebook to tweets to print portals telecasting TV broadcasts of the media house it’s all happening sans 3G.
I am stressing on 3G for the fact that in UK 3Gis a passé and most catch their daily bit of news on their cell phones. This is yet to come to India, but still there is a lot of buzz in the media market sphere.
Going through the KPMGMedia&EntertainmentIndustryReport 2009 I chanced upon interesting numbers. 70% of population is below 30 years, only .47 % is advertising to GDP ratio( where as in USA its almost double at 0.9%) and there are 359 million people who can read but are currently not reading any publication.
To that add Wireless subscription reaches 670.60 Million(according to http://www.trai.gov.in)
The four together put forward a great opportunity for media marketers to expand their base.
The Indian Media Mougals are going full throttle to expand their base beyond their traditional boundaries.
In the last five years The Times of India has added seven new editions taking the tally to 16, of these four have come in last three years, not the most favourable of times. The Dainik Bhaskar group has raced to 48 editions in 11 editions including two English editions. The two are some examples which hint at the growth.
The growth signs have attracted conglomerates from west and there are trial tie ups. Daily Mail of the UK joined hands with India today group and launched Mail Today, the Wall Street Journal has a Joint venture with Hindustan Times dishes out Mint, whereas the Flagship brand HT has contact sharing agreement with Washington Post.
Forbes in arrangement with network 18 launched its India edition.
Reuters started with Bennett and Coleman Co. Ltd and came up with Times Now, but the venture lasted only for a year, CNN’s tie up with network 18 launched CNN-IBN. The rules governing the Foreign Direct Investment in media are under a watch for a long time and once relaxed will see more foreign players enter the market place.
Also there is a lot of integration of resources; most newspapers are vying for a television space and vice versa. The TOI has a news channel Times Now, The Hindu has tied up with NDTV to come up with NDTV Hindu in Chennai, the living media group despite having two news channels and a news weekly, came up with a newspaper Mail Today. The same applies in regional media, Dainik Bhaskar group has got Bhaskar TV in Rajasthan, Rajasthan Patrika runs a state channel 24news to name some.
All in One
Then there is a fight to put all these offerings at one platform, synchronise resources internally while converging them on a common platform. www.timesofindia.com is a neat example of the BCCL putting every offering of its on one platform.
One can read most of the 16 editions as they appear in print by logging on the paid epaper, see what the news channel has to say on developing stories, read blogs by various reporters, and be updated with current news on the portal. The same website links the readers to other offerings of the brand.
Other media houses are trying the same.
Not many trained hands
With this growth there is a demand for Journalist.
Many youngsters are drawn to the filed, some fuelled by passion, others driven by the perceived glamour that overshadows the prime job.
Having trained few aspiring journalists over the years I can say that the supply to fuel the demand is not passing through strict quality control. Many media houses have opened their own media schools where in the sole aim it seems is to get more students and be money wise.
These institutes are producing desktop journalists who don’t want to sweat it out in the field, for these ‘churnalists’ reports are all about dialling few people from the office number and getting quotes stacked up in a pre-set format.
If along with churning out new editions, focus is also given on developing good professionals, India will have much more in terms of quality and quantity to offer.