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Bring Simplification To The Media Industry, Say Experts

With the media industry facing calls for more transparency, many industry experts feel that there is a need for simplifying the process

Media agencies have been under the scanner since the beginning of this year, as marketers have asked for more transparency and accountability from them.

Speaking about how the media industry should address this, Sam Balsara, Chairman and Managing Director at Madison World, said that he was a firm believer in simplifying business but "a simple idea is not so easy to stumble upon." He went on to give the example of a man he considered to be the Master of Simple Ideas, Dhirubhai Ambani. He said that this great man's simple idea of making more money by selling yarn had led to the establishment of the Reliance empire that we know today. However "to get that simple idea, it calls for certain mastery of the subject."

Madhav Nene, GM of Marketing Services - Automobile Division at Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd, agreed with Balsara and said that in today's world, data has become an integral part of making key marketing decisions. According to him, however, there needs to be one form of measurement in the industry instead of scattered ones such as impressions and cost per thousands. This, according to Nene, is how simplification can be brought about in the industry.

Kashyap Vadapalli, CMO at Pepperfry, said that the presence of Amazon and Flipkart had made the ecosystem complex because they were trying to target everyone. He believes that sanity can be brought about to this ecosystem with the help of well thought-out plans. He was in support of what Balsara and Nene had said as he too believes that we should not rely on data for everything but should try to shift the focus to simplicity instead. According to him, the simplicity of understanding what it is that the buyer wants has not been brought in yet. He also said that the media agencies should not be held responsible for the sales as their partners are not able to give them exact numbers for traffic.

Facebook's Agency Head, Vidhyadhar Kale said that Facebook worked on a self-serve model where the market decided the value. He also said that efficiency is highly important but Facebook "would rather stay focused on delivering business results."

According to Sakal Media Group's CMO Krishna Menon, understanding what it is that the customer wants is the most important part of simplification. He said that Sakal was present across digital, TV and print and they had come up with an integrated solution scheme through which they could provide all three together.

However, in contrast, CEO of Lodestar UM Nandini Dias believed that simplification had been brought in to some extent by the media agencies. She said that the media planners were the ones who had already brought in simplification to the industry with the help of their tools and techniques. "We have 800 channels, 36,000 publications expected to predict ratings to the sixth decimal, get the pre and post-correct to the deviation of two or four per cent and we deliver it all the time." She did, however, agree with the fact that processes needed to be created that would help the industry think and implement their work in a better manner.

The discussion was part of the panel session at the third edition of Exchange4media's Media Ace awards held in Mumbai.

Balsara concluded the discussion by saying that the main reason for this complication was the fears about confidentiality that existed between different segments of the media. He believes that the entire industry should take on simplification as a challenge, instead of doubting each other and only then will they be able to conquer it.

(Reporting by Sanaa Mehra, a student of Bachelors of Mass Media (Journalism) at Jai Hind College)

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