20 Sep 2013

Will India See a Rise in Digital PR?

Will India See a Rise in Digital PR?

Sixty two! Yes, the rupee is 62 against the U.S. dollar (as of December 1, 2013). To us Indians, it looks like the dollar is on an escalator and the rupee is on a ventilator!

Image: Amit Kumar via Flickr, CC 3.0

The falling rupee has hit many Indians, and seems to have caught up with the Indian media in the past few months. Apart from the usual layoffs, cost reduction, and restructuring, we have seen newspapers and magazines getting thinner, TV stations cutting back on programming, and several publications and channels are on the block.

Due to tight marketing spends, even advertisers are shortening their commercials while maintaining or increasing the number of times they are aired, to ensure maximum spread for their ad spends.

Look at these examples to understand the changes that the Indian media industry has been going through in the past few months:

In May, NDTV Profit cut back on all non-market-hour programming, which meant the channel only needed a handful of anchors and reporters

In August, the TV 18 group laid off around 500 employees, including several of those responsible for its features programming

In July, Outlook Publishing (India) Pvt. Ltd discontinued the publication of three foreign titles, Marie Claire, Geo, and People””around 130 employees were laid off””and also converted its personal finance magazine from a fortnightly into a monthly

Business Standard sold its motoring magazine to Delhi Press

ABP Pvt. Ltd  has sold its business magazine – Businessworld to Anurag  Batra, owner of Exchange4media, and investor Vikram Jhunjhunwala for an undisclosed amount

Bloomberg India TV laid off 30-40 employees

HT Business  and HT Shine (supplements to the Hindustan Times) were discontinued and became a part of the main paper – the Hindustan Times

The Bengal Post paper in Kolkata was discontinued and all employees were laid off

In September, Mint announced that it would be reducing the number of pages, from 28 to 24, four days a week, Tuesdays through Fridays. The Monday and Saturday papers will remain unaffected.

It is rightly said that PR and journalism are interdependent. With the economic slowdown, we are starting to see traditional PR activities becoming slightly tougher as the rate at which newspapers/magazines are shutting down increases, their numbers of pages are reduced, and broadcast channels cut back on original programming.

With the ever-increasing competitive eco-system and never-ending client demands, traditional PR is set to face new challenges in India.

However, I believe that the PR agencies should take this as an opportunity rather than a challenge. With such alterations in the media industry, PR agencies have a window to get more creative and embrace newer avenues, such as social media platforms, more aggressively than before.

It’s time for the next big leap in the way PR agencies work in India.

The current changes in the media industry should mean a faster move into the digital domain in the Indian marketplace. India now has nearly 74 million Internet users, according to a recent ComScore report. Several media houses have started looking at digital as their next step, sooner than expected. For example, Kasturi and Sons Ltd, publisher of The Hindu, has recently launched iPad and mobile apps for its general and financial newspapers.

In the past decade, there has been a steep decline in the number of those who prefer thumbing through the newspaper with their morning tea. Now, checking news feeds on smart phones, scrolling through one’s Twitter handle, and checking updates on blogs, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ and other online networks have become part of the urban lifestyle.

Here are a couple of interesting statistics from the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI):

The size of the digital advertising market in the current fiscal year is estimated at Rs.2,260 crore (~$364.5M) and is expected to touch Rs.2,938 crore (~$473.8M) by the end of 2014

Ad spending on social media has shot up from Rs.94 crore (~$15.1M) in FY 2012 to Rs.300 crore (~$48.3M) in FY 2013

Also, media buyers estimate that video advertising on the Internet has been growing at a rapid 40% over the past year and is expected to speed up further to 60% in the next few months.

With this shift in the media landscape to digital platforms, digital PR needs to catch up to the trend.

Pitching journalists via phone calls, e-mails, and SMS’ are not the only ways of securing media coverage anymore. Holding events both online and offline is now part of media management. Debates/discussions on Google+ Hangouts, and live chats on Facebook or Twitter have become new promotional trends.

What will be interesting to see in the coming months is how many brands are really willing to jump on the digital bandwagon and allocate proper marketing funds to it. Today, simply getting a news release online is of not much value to Indian clients as opposed to a good spread of print coverage. However, with the changing media landscape, it will be fascinating to see if clients start to value online promotional mediums as much as they value the print medium.

What are your thoughts on the Indian PR digital evolution? I find it fascinating, but I want to hear what you think!

A version of this post originally ran on September 20, 2013 on Vikypedia.in. Shonaliburke.com republished it with minor edits and updates.

TESTIMONIALS

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Ancita always came across as an eager learner and willing to go the extra mile. She's got good language and social media skills and uses these to her advantage. She was also dependable and I believe she would be a good asset in any organization. I wish her well for the future.

Rony Thomas, Head of Communications, Amazon

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Ankita supported us in connecting with the CMO community on social media in India - she is knowledgeable, articulate, prompt and superbly organized. She is fast to learn and agile to create business impact, which distinguishes her in the projects she works on.

Rajesh Kumar Jindal, Vice President, Head of Marketing, SAP

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Although Ancita was part of the PR team, she gradually started taking interest in digital communication which I believe is an apt field for her. She effectively used her communication skills learnt in PR to deliver results in digital media which is a much needed talent in the industry. We worked together on google maps and on a project called PMOAppContest chat where Ancita ably demonstrated her creative and storytelling skills. She defined the flow of the chat and was a key campaign owner. The initiative was a huge success in India. Ancita is committed, disciplined and a diligent person and I am sure she is a great asset to her team and her organization.

Abhilasha Padhy, Communications Manager, Google

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Ancita is a Star performer at Six Degrees. She takes initiative and has a ‘To Do’ attitude. This has reflected in her taking up the onus of focusing her skills on Digital within the firm during the last one year and even on her own through an initiative like the SocialPowWow. She has a strong understanding of developing engaging content for audiences to increase relevance for brands. We believe that she has great potential to develop as an integrated communications professional.

Rishi Seth, Group CEO, Cohn & Wolfe Six Degrees

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PR professional, blogger, digital enthusiast. Driven, hardworking and result oriented, Ankita is always game to take up new challenges. Energetic and efficient, trust her to get things done. With keen interest in digital marketing she has been involved in various integrated comms campaigns and delivered successfully.

Cijo Mathew, General Manager, 20:20 MSL

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Ancita is one of the most dependable people I have ever come across. She is diligent, attentive and sharp which makes her a great asset for the team as well as clients. Within few years in PR, Ancita managed to build great media relations and helped her team crack some of the best stories. She is a great team player

Priyank Dubey, Communications Lead, ESPN

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Ancita and I have been working closely for 4 years now & it has been an inspiring journey thus far. It has been amazing to see her transformation from an curious social media learner to a professional digital media expert. Her knack for the understanding the digital landscape is special. While she certainly is an expert in various aspects of digital marketing but her initiative "SocialPowWow" has been really impressive. Today it's one of the most popular Twitter chats in India. She is great human being, hard worker & thinker. Her infectious smile can be an asset in any work environment. Wishing her all the success in any endeavours she chooses for herself.

Nitin Bhatia, Managing Director, Meltwater

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A dedicated, smart and media savvy publicist. Her sound understanding about the real estate business and clarity of thought makes her a go-to person for all communication queries. Strong command over english language and a collaborative team player makes her a best fit for a challenging role. I highly recommend her for a profile that requires a go-getter, passionate, dedicated, knowledgeable and intelligent person.

Nikhil Savio Gutal, Deputy Manager, Marketing & Communication, Cushman & Wakefield

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Ankita was one of the most diligent and hardworking students in our batch. There's a lot to learn from her, esp. her sense of punctuality, sincerity and work efficiency. It really was a lot of fun being together in the same class during our post graduation programme. I wish her good luck for all her future endeavours.

Sayani Bagchi, Area Sales Manager, Britannia Industries Limited

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Ancita is an extremely dedicated resource and a great value add for an organization. Her attention to detail, intelligence and proactive approach has always delighted the people she works with and the clients she services. Ancita is absolutely great with digital media and gives creative, yet practical ideas. I wish her all the best for future!

Shreya Sabharwal, Vice President, Ernst & Young

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Ancita has been a valued colleague at Six Degrees. She's focused and dedicated at work and brings in fresh thinking and approaches to mandates that she's entrusted with. Equally importantly she's a stickler for details and micro-manages things till the work gets done!

Rahul Mishra, General Manager, Cohn & Wolfe India

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Ancita is a thorough professional who is particular about deadlines and quality of work. You can always bank upon Ancita on any work that is on her task list. A proactive individual who not only pushes herself but her team too.

Siddharth Kumar, Deputy General Manager, Cohn & Wolfe India

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Ancita is a thorough professional and absolutely meticulous with her work. She took a lead in Digital when it was the upcoming hottest trend and that is commendable. Always ready to pitch in with ideas on a campaign,love her energy. She is and will be an asset to any organization that she chooses to be associated with. It has been a pleasure working with her here.

Pooja Poddar Jain, Account Director, Cohn & Wolfe Six Degrees

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Ancita is very good in her craft of digital PR and comes with sound knowledge on digital. She is a great team player and has shown great capabilities to lead any team project. She is a great colleague, it has always been a pleasure to work with her and is very easy to work with.

Shalini Gunashekar, Associate Account Director, Cohn & Wolfe Six Degrees

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SocialPowWow chat is one of the most innovative conversations involving small businesses and thought leaders. Ancita deserves a lot of credit for being the go-getter in bringing everyone together.

Cheval John, Founder & CEO, VallanoMedia, LLC, Houston

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I'm impressed and inspired by Ancita Satija for creating an initiative as cool as SocialPowWow and making it a movement. How many young professionals go above and beyond to make a mark and leave a legacy? Ancita has set an example for others to follow. I am sure this weekly tweet chat will grow to become much more than just a chat.

Amith Prabhu, Founding Dean @SCoReInd, CoFounder @PRAXISInd & @PRomiseFdn

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SocialPowWow is one of those must attend twitter chats like #TwitterSmarter #Hootchat #MediaChat with vibrant, engaged communities discussing relevant & trending topics on social media and with a smart and friendly host like Ancita!

Zen Yinger, CEO, ZenSocial, North Carolina

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Congratulations #SocialPowWow for completing two years. You have always been amazing in getting interesting people to exchange views on interesting and relevant topics. You are the platform that brings out-of-the-box minds together across the globe in the world of clatter. Stay there with us -- as a friend, as a trend spotter, and stay relevant. Wishes for many more.

Sounak Mitra, Associate Editor @moneycontrolcom

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I had the pleasure of working with Ancita, during my time at Burson Cohn and Wolfe. Ancita is affable and very easy to work with - great qualities to have in a team mate! She's a dedicated employee whose positive spirit helps guide the team that she’s in. Her experience and knowledge in digital, from copywriting to social media strategies makes her an asset to any organisation.

Thimah Hameed, Vice President - Regional Digital Strategy Marketing Lead, DBS Bank