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New Media Congress: Convergence is here to stay

By , agencyfaqs!, New Delhi | In Digital | May 09, 2008
The first session, moderated by NDTV's Vikram Chandra, focused on how digital media has evolved around the world and the challenges ahead for it

The New & #BANNER1 & # Media Congress was organised in New Delhi on Thursday by NDTV Convergence, the digital arm of NDTV Networks, with the aim of evaluating the emergence of new media technology and its impact on conventional media channels.

Kim Reid

Azhar Rafee

Ajit Balakrishnan

Dr Jai Menon

Rajesh Sawhney

Pankaj Sethi
The first session, moderated by Vikram Chandra, chief executive officer of NDTV Networks, focused on how digital media has evolved around the world and the challenges ahead for it.

Kim Reid, CEO, mobile TV platforms, MIH Group, said there are only 820 million PCs in the world, but 2.7 billion mobile phones, which is an immense opportunity for mobile TV. However, he said, "Regulators need to start moving fast in order to make mobile TV reality." He added that sports, news, documentaries and linear TV channels make for great content on mobile TV, but 'made for mobile' TV content has not been successful.

Azhar Rafee, ECP, Reuters, stressed the need for localisation in digital media, giving the example of Reuters' new India site. Though Rafee was upbeat about new media, he said that online advertising revenue in India is only about $100 million; China is 10 times that figure. So, there is a long way to go.

Another panellist, Andrew Paulson, president of SUP, the company which owns LiveJournal.com, spoke about the success of the social media site. The blogging platform has 15.5 million accounts today and has recently tied up with The New York Times to share comments on its Russia site.

The second session was moderated by Sanjay Trehan, CEO of NDTV Convergence, and focused on the trends and impact of convergence. On the panel, Ajit Balakrishnan, chairman and CEO of Rediff.com, spoke about the current 'on the go lifestyles'. He emphasised on the need to combine content, applications and ad networks through social hubs to make content easily accessible to consumers.

Dr Jai Menon, group chief information officer, Bharti Enterprises, said, "The points of capture (of information) are exploding. Live content has relevance now, and is the way forward," Talking about the trends in new media, Dr Menon expects technology to get faster and denser, business models to evolve to 'coopetition' (friendly competition based on cooperation for the growth of the industry), and differences such as language to vanish on digital media.

Rajesh Sawhney, president of Reliance Entertainment, said, "The youth today believes in instant entertainment. Even TV has become interactive." He also predicts that traditional and social media will converge in the future, as will telecom and entertainment. Sawhney said that entertainment and telecom currently contribute about 3.3 per cent of the GDP, but there is still a "convergence deficit".

Pankaj Sethi, president, VAS and enterprise market planning, Tata Teleservices, discussed the convergence of media, distribution and (content) creation. He spoke about how TV and the Internet are converging with TV shows on Web 2.0, online TV programmes and so on.

The general agreement at the New Media Congress was that new media may be the future, but this does not mean the end of traditional media. In fact, traditional media, including TV, radio and outdoor, is coping very well and has evolved with the times. Digital media today is truly converged, was the bottom line.