Inflection point of Digital Media?

Inflection point of Digital Media?

Or could it be just another hunch? Our team was at the recently concluded WAT Summit to explore our understanding of this inflection point. Mingling amongst the who’s who of the digital media industry and gaining ‘gyan’ from the gurus, we did anticipate good times for India are indeed coming up!
The keynote speech by Ajit Balakrishnan, CEO of Rediff.com, threw light on a load of statistics.  India, with its more than one billion population, 50% of which is under 25 years has only 7% with access to internet, most of which is urban. This % further reduces as usage is mitigated with the exorbitant pricing structure. To top it, India has the highest broadband prices in the world but that’s not where we aspire to be the highest, do we? The good thing is that Myanmar is slightly more expensive than us!  Still mired in the 2G scam, whereas Japan, UK — are already operating on 4G, India surely has to walk the tight rope fast.
The reassuring factor is his being in the government committee that reviews India’s IT act and it felt nice to know that they are in the midst of positive changes that will shape the digital future of our country. Whatever development we may have missed in the last 60 years is now occurring at accelerated speed or so it seems. Personifying the market of 78 million with his description of the common man in a scooter with his wife in the pillion, a kid in her lap and a child standing before her dad, he explained how it is important for the growth of India to cater to him, make useful products for him and support his aspirations towards a better life. The example of Nano being created to cater to this common man brought home the point at once. On a rather philosophical end note, he emphasized that we continue to work hard on our ideas, sow the seeds, believe in the ‘right time’ and enjoy the harvest later.
Inspired and charged, the summit now continued with its 1st Panel discussing ‘Growth requirement for digital media and entertainment’.  The need to start early, change the definition of ROI and get mobile products ready in time for the 3G revolution was put forth. The panel was divided as to the amount required for a start-up in India and their predictions for the next big digital revolution. Video, gaming, movies, social networking would spell as the new entertainment coupled with utility products like bill payment, etc. going digital would be indeed the way to go.


The 2nd Panel : Social media opportunities for brands and businesses enlightened the fact that there have been no ideas emerging from the Indian digital media area; we are thriving on techniques as yet. The doubling of Facebook users in India within a span of ten months and the need for brands to purely ‘participate’ and not ‘moderate’ in the social conversations were some of the areas discussed. The panel stood united in emphasising that in a Digital World, it is very important for Brands to be honest, than ever before. The recent dip in viewership of NDTV after its editor Barkha Dutt’s infamous tape with ‘Nira Radia’ reflects the emotional connect a brand shares with its viewers.


Going further with the 3rd Panel : Way forward to mobile monetization and banking, which gave us a taste of the exciting times ahead in mobile usage. A key area highlighted here was the ‘location’ factor that made mobiles uniquely powerful for target marketing. Some of the points discussed were that SMS marketing needs to be less intrusive for it to be effective and mobile payments needs to be more secure for it to be effective!


The last and 4th Panel : Startup v/s VC perspective, was on our panel-to-look-out-for list. We were making personal notes here on the do’s and don’ts for a Startup when he visits the Venture Capitalist. When asked about what puts VC’s off, the panel said it could be anything from lack of expertise on the subject, lack of focus to projecting a 5-year revenue plan! What really takes the cake for VC’s is projecting just what you are, nothing more or less. Somebody pointed out that the VC’s who are ‘God’ before funding, turn into ‘dog’ after funding!


When we look back to scout for insights, LHI has one too many – With the opening up of the digital space and 3G, new avenues for brands and businesses as well as the end users has come up; the penetration to the bottom of the pyramid is now within our means thereby bridging the gap between providers and users. It does seem to be the inflection point alright but is India prepared?
Do write to us with your take. . .