Monday, September 22, 2008

Credibility of a newspaper is like the virginity of a woman: Vinod Mehta

Vinod Mehta, Editor-in-Chief, Outlook Group, said that lately journalism seems like it’s a part of the entertainment industry. The intense competition has threatened professional ethics and the credibility of news, he said.

Mehta was speaking at the Indian Magazine Congress 2008 in Mumbai on Monday, where eminent journalist Vir Sanghvi anchored a discussion on whether viewers should dictate what content is good and do they really know what they want.
Mehta said, “The credibility of a newspaper is like the virginity of a woman; you can lose it only once.”

Mehta added it is improper to lay editorial decisions in the hands of brand managers, reports Sapna Nair in afaqs . “Brand managers are incapable of understanding journalism and cannot deduce what a reader or viewer wants,” he asserted.

Aroon Purie, Founder and Editor- in-Chief, India Today Group, said that one must not forget social responsibility even when running a business. There is no harm in listening to what the readers want, but the final decision should be the editor's. "The reader may not know what he wants until we provide it to him," he said.

About brand managers influencing editorial decisions, Purie said that the big wall that existed between the editorial section and business has diminished. "Now, there are discussions and we share data, but the final decision is taken by the editor," he said.

To this, Mehta said, "The editor and marketing manager should walk side by side, but the editor should always be a few steps ahead."

Sanghvi posed a question about paid journalism and how advertorials have gradually given way to paid articles – something that was unfathomable years ago. Mehta said that one could either make money through advertisements or prostitute oneself for ads.

"My message to the advertisers is that you have a vested interest to fulfil, but don't undermine the sensitivity and credibility of the newspaper," Purie said. He expressed disappointment at the state of affairs. "It's horrific and immoral. It's sad that it doesn't make a difference to the reader and the newspapers in question," he said.

The panel concluded that while it was right to listen to the reader, one must not be led by the reader; rather, one should lead him.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

‘Mobile marketing to be worth Rs 1,000 crore in next two years’

Rajesh Jain, Managing Director, Netcore Solutions, said that mobile marketing would be a much bigger opportunity in the next two years than the Internet has been in the past 10 years, Mobile marketing will be worth Rs 1,000 crore in the next two years, he said, speaking at Mobile Conversations 2008, a conference organised by afaqs! in Mumbai on Friday.

The first session of Mobile Conversations focused on the possibilities in mobile marketing – how SMS, voice, gaming and mobile Internet can be used innovatively by advertisers and the possibilities they offer for a marketing campaign, reports Kapil Ohri of afaqs..

The session moderator, Sandeep Singh, Co-founder and Business Director, Quasar Media, started the discussion by asking a question: “There are more than 280 million mobile subscribers in India, but how many of them can be reached through mobile advertising?”

Sanyog Jain, COO, SMS Country, said that around 70-75 crore SMSes were being sent out every month, considering those sent by providers such as MyToday, SMSGupshup and 160by2. These SMSes could be used by advertisers for mobile marketing. In terms of subscribers, 2-2.5 crore mobile subscribers could be reached over a period of two to three weeks.

Rajiv Hiranandani, Co-founder and Global Head, Revenues, Mobile2Win, said that according to market research firm Synovate’s latest estimates, 55-60 per cent of the total consumer base in India can be reached through SMS and voice advertising. For WAP advertising, there are around 135 million potential consumers in India. However, of these, only 13-16 million are active users of mobile Internet and can accept advertising on this medium.

Debraj Tripathy, Head, Mobile Marketing, OnMobile, said that mobile operators were keen and open to using mobile advertising, but their basic concern was how consumers would react to receiving ads on their mobiles. According to him, this concern needs to be addressed by operators, advertisers and value-added service providers as well.

Narasimha Suresh, CEO, TELiBrahma Convergent Communications, said, "Advertisers should not use mobile marketing just to deliver ads or mobile coupons, but to engage consumers with the brand."