afaqs!

INMA 2008: Offer choices to be a successful multimedia brand

By Savia Jane Pinto , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Media Publishing | November 14, 2008
Newspaper owners discussed what it takes to be a successful multimedia brand

At & #BANNER1 & # the second annual INMA South Asia Conference, held at Taj Mahal Palace in Mumbai, media owners discussed the impact of inflation, building brand strategies and innovations in newspapers.

A P Parigi, managing director, ENIL (Entertainment Network (India) Limited), moderated the session, where media owners explained how they leveraged their newspapers to build a multimedia enterprise.

First up was Siddharth Kothari, director, Rajasthan Patrika, who presented the various ways and means through which the regional newspaper house has strengthened its presence across media channels. "New media does not replace old media, but only adds to the existing choice that a consumer has at disposal," began Kothari.

He stressed that a sound strategy is more important than technology. India comprises 17.2 per cent of the world's population and has endless choices available to obtain information or entertainment.

When Patrika (Rajasthan Patrika's edition in Madhya Pradesh) was launched, a big scale multimedia campaign was carried out to announce its entry into Madhya Pradesh. Apart from its daily broadsheets (Rajasthan Patrika and Patrika), Rajasthan Patrika also has a Hindi afternoon daily, News Today and a morning daily in Hindi, Daily News, which cater to specific target groups.

Radio is another offering the company provides to its consumer base. The brand created its presence in the dot com space with patrika.com and rajasthanpatrika.com, both of which provide varied information. The sites receive about 16.38 million hits per month.

Find It, is the yellow pages that the group created for about seven Indian states. The yellow pages are supported by SMS and also have a link on patrika.com. Value added service (VAS) is the recent media platform that Rajasthan Patrika has included with its own SMS shortcode. Here Kothari added a word of caution, "When we introduced the SMS shortcode, we depended on the newspaper in the initial years."

The newspaper brand also has presence in education (Patrika in Education), television (Patrika TV, which produces corporate films), Sky Media Network that has a set of television channels of various genres and events in the form of trade exhibitions. Food festivals and wedding expos are regularly conducted by Rajasthan Patrika. Patrika Publication also publishes children's magazines and religious books.

Sanjay Gupta, editor and CEO, Dainik Jagran, questioned the audience, "Why do content companies want to become multimedia?" He explained that initially, print was the only important medium. Then came radio, which took up a very small share of the advertising revenue gained. But later came television, and even more recent are the Internet and digital media, which take up quite a large share of the advertising revenue. "This is when content companies felt the pinch and the need to be present on other media platforms was felt," answered Gupta.

In order to succeed in the new media that a newspaper invests in, it is important that the content that is included be classy. Dainik Jagran wanted create its presence in different media about seven years back. The brand has a classified portal called Khojle that consolidates all classified information. In his concluding statement, Gupta said that any organization that isn't multimedia presently, will in the long run, see shifts in revenue from their companies to others.

Jayant Mammen Mathew, deputy editor and chief general manager, Malayala Manorama, spoke particularly about an offering that the newspaper created for its consumers in the south - Junction K. This is a cross media platform that offers all media vehicles to a brand that wants to invest in Kerala. Junction K offers advice to brands that intend to invest in the state. The advice could be in the form of strategy planning, market intelligence or simple ground activation.

The newspaper recently launched M4Marry.com, a matrimonial site, which is an exclusive portal for Malayalees. The mother brand of Malayala Manorama has branched out into 50 different media verticals, which includes television.

Finally, Mathew spoke for all when he said, "You have to give people choices. Only then will you be a successful multimedia company."