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Future of News 2010: Use DTH, Mobile and IPTV platforms to earn additional revenue

By Kapil Ohri , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Media Publishing | August 02, 2010
In the fourth session, Amit Kumar, president, business development, India TV said that content distribution through other media platforms such as DTH and mobile phones could be used to earn additional revenue

The topic of the fourth session at The Future of News 2010, a seminar organised by afaqs! in New Delhi on July 30, focused on innovative revenue models that news channels can explore to get additional revenue.

& #BANNER1 & #The panellists for this session included Amit Tiwari, general manager, country head media, Philips; and Amit Kumar, president, business development, India TV. The session was moderated by Prasanna Singh, chief operating officer, afaqs!.

Kumar said that during the economic slowdown, when advertising rates went down, the news channel looked at alternative revenue streams related to content distribution and syndication. For instance, platforms such as DTH, mobile and IPTV could be explored to maximise revenue.

Singh then asked if there is more potential for Hindi new channels to go out and sell content globally. Kumar answered that there is a good scope to sell content abroad. For instance, there are a lot of Indians residing in the US and the UK markets. To distribute news content to them through the Internet will work.

Talking about the alternative distribution routes, he said that the Interactive Voice Response (IVR) facility offered by India TV has got great response from consumers, who are using the facility to listen to audio clips of 'Aap ki Adalat' and horoscopes. These are the few formats which one can follow to tap new consumers and earn more revenue.

On Hindi news channels incorporating non-news based content in their programming, Singh asked Tiwari whether this worries him as an advertiser. Tiwari said that the basic question is why there is a need or necessity for a Hindi news channel to offer content (such as horoscope) which is not related to news. One thing that is actually lacking is that when anything is launched, people try to copy formats. He said that the biggest catch is going for what consumers want.

Singh then spoke about the entries received by afaqs! from various print dailies and TV news channels for 'The News Innovation Awards', being organised by afaqs! on August 12 in New Delhi. He said that it was surprising to get a lot of innovation entries related to on-ground activations and in many cases, it was figured out that the activations carried out by news channels did not involve any advertiser or sponsor.

He then asked Kumar whether activations (say for any social cause) are driven by any insight or does the organiser really consider the potential of getting a sponsor for the activation. Kumar replied that it is basically a joint decision and both considerations are given due importance. Certainly, brand attributes and insights on what to do as activations are looked into and the possibilities of roping in an advertiser who can support the cause is also explored.

Tiwari said, "As an advertiser, we always look out if the channel stands for the same brand philosophy as we stand for, before we partner them for activations." Pointing out that India TV experiments a lot with non-news content, he asked Kumar if this non-news integration makes him worry about advertising. Kumar said, "All big brands/advertisers are supporting us. At the end of the day, they are looking for eyeballs and we are delivering that."

(The third edition of the annual event, Future of News was organized by afaqs! in New Delhi on July 30.The event was sponsored by STAR News, Sakal and Business Standard.)