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Trends in Communication

By Prof Ramola Kumar on Sat, 09 March 2013 at 17:14 IST
Trends in Communication


“Change is the sign of life and it is the only constant factor in life. This remains the universal diktat for any personal or professional situation. For an industry like the “Communication Industry”, the substrate for its very survival is dynamic change.

Entertainment and media have evolved into a highly challenging industry, interconnected by the global digital platform in a manner that few people could even have conceived 20 years ago. Earlier media print on paper, music on CDs, movies rented on DVD at the local Blockbuster, and TV networks that forced the viewer to be in front of the screen were existing. Now, the industry has changed dramatically into an always on, easy to time-shift, always with you on mobile platforms, customizable stream of news and views, entertainment, movies and music. The years of financial crisis in 2008 and 2009 were tough, but now advertising revenue for global media firms has improved substantially. Global advertising media revenues were projected to be $427.0 billion in 2011, growing further to $449.0 billion in 2012, according to Magna Global, a unit of advertising agency leader Interpublic Group. This growth is occurring mainly in online media, and the fastest growing markets are-developing nations such as China, India and Brazil.

Broadly measured, the entertainment and media industry spans multiple sectors. Bollywood is a mammoth industry. Fourteen million viewers throng the theaters each day to lap up its movies. Four billion cinema tickets are sold each year. According to published reports, in 2004, more people globally watched Bollywood movies than Hollywood movies - 3.8 billion vs. 3.6 billion (Paul Brett, British Film Institute [BFI], UK. India has over 4000 radio stations with lakhs of listeners from all walks of life tuned in almost throughtout the day!

The digital media industry is growing at a frantic pace not only in India but worldwide. The growth is fuelled by both, the growth in traditional broadcast medium in some markets and by the advent of newer medium of distribution in other markets i.e. broadband, mobile phones, Ipod, Ipad, X-Box, play-stations, etc. This creates more value chains, new business models, increasing competition for loyalty and gives people more options and flexibility to consume digital content.

Newspapers have been dramatically affected by online alternatives. Newspapers are finding it increasingly difficult to compete against Internet news and advertising rivals. However, many of India’s leading newspapers still enjoy their status and retain their fan following and circulation since it is well ingrained in the daily routine of a household to enjoy the morning with the newspaper – as a matter of habit! Meanwhile, free daily or weekly newspapers and shopping guides are also enjoying substantial growth.
Both newspapers and magazines are rapidly adopting new formats and new technologies with the goal of making themselves highly relevant and readable for Internet users on PCs, and for mobile users on smart phones, iPads, ebook readers and other digital devices. Some consumer magazine industry executives in the country expect at least 25% of their readership to be on digital devices by 2015.

Television in India is a huge industry which has thousands of programmes in many languages. The small screen has produced numerous celebrities, some even attaining national fame. TV soaps are extremely popular. Approximately half of all Indian households own a television. As of 2010, the country has a collection of free and subscription services over a variety of distribution media, through which there are over 515 channels of which 150 are pay channels. According to Pioneer Investcorp, the Indian cable industry is worth 270 billion (US$4.91 billion) and is the third largest in the world after television in the People's Republic of China and television in the United States. The number of TV homes in India grew from 120 million in 2007 to 148 million in 2011. Cable reaches 94 million homes with 88 million analog connections and 6 million digital ones, while DTH has commanded 41 million subscribers.

The burning issue affecting all sectors of the entertainment and media industry is maintaining control of content and audiences while taking advantage of myriad new electronic delivery systems. Consumers now demand more and more control over what they watch, read and listen to.

Issues related to control include:

1) Pricing for content (including free-of-charge access; illegal downloads versus authorized downloads; and full ownership of a paid download versus pay-per-view).
2) Portability (including the ability for a consumer to download once, and then use a file on multiple platforms and devices including iPads and cellphones, or the ability to share a download with friends).
3) Delayed viewing or listening (such as viewing TV programming at the consumer’s convenience via TiVo and similar digital video recorders).

Today, electronic offerings such as advanced smartphones, digital video recorders (DVRs), video-on-demand (VOD) and MP3 players have vastly altered the way consumers enjoy entertainment. People watch and listen according to their own desires and whims and at their time and space. For instance if you are interested in only one track from a recording artist's new CD? Buy and download just the one song via iTunes. If you love a prime-time drama on a major network but hate commercials then you can record the show while skipping over the commercials with a DVR.

The implications of these changes are staggering. The business models upon which most entertainment companies have traditionally run are becoming obsolete. Revenue from traditional advertising is in jeopardy while revenue from subscription-based business models is soaring. Online advertising is growing at supersonic speed. Television programming schedules are losing relevance while electronic program guides are becoming more and more vital. Printed books are slipping while ebooks are scoring. Smartphones are now used more and more for entertainment purposes, including games, videos and TV-like programming. Game machines are going multipurpose with the ability to connect to the Internet. Broadband to the home has matured into a true mass-market medium, while wireless broadband systems such as Wi-Fi are enhancing the mobility of entertainment and media access. A serious evolution of access and delivery methods will continue at a rapid-fire pace, and media companies will be forced to be nimbler than everCount on continued, rapid changes. As the revolution in new media continues, platforms will evolve quickly, the discerning consumers will obtain even greater control and competition will be fierce.

Prof. Ramola Kumar

Dean, The Delhi School of Communication

Prof. Ramola Kumar started her career at The Institute of Management Studies, Bikaner as the Head of Department in the year 1984. She moved in October 1985 to The Institute of Management Technology, (IMT) Ghaziabad as Professor, Marketing with additional responsibilities as Academic Coordinator-- for 4 yrs. In 1989, she shifted to IMT Delhi center as Chairperson, Evening Programme. She headed the center for 6 years and for a span of 5 years during the same period, she was the Marketing Course Coordinator at The Times School of Marketing. Presently, Prof. Ramola Kumar is the Dean, The Delhi School of Communication wherein she was instrumental in helping conceive and launch the programme in the year 1995. The Delhi School of Communication is one of the premier institutes in the country in mass media studies and integrated communications. Her areas of specialization include Marketing,Brand Management and communications. Prof. Kumar has been educated in the United States of America, Canada and India. She pursued her MBA from the University of Ottawa, Canada and was ranked 4th in the management programme.

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