New Delhi: A recent invitation by a radio jockey on a popular music programme to listeners, asking them to join the Orkut community of the programme being aired, prompted me to recheck its present set of offerings.
Atul Soni, media director, RK Swamy BBDO, Delhi
Undoubtedly, there were a lot of people sharing similar interests but apart from that I couldn’t see anything substantial happening on that platform. A lot more could have been added to engage the audience and make the radio show more interactive via an active online community.
It is about time we evaluated whether or not we are effectively harnessing the medium to advantage. Does media integration have facets that are unexplored or have been ignored so far as one medium tries to gain supremacy over another?
Leveraging digital media to advantage
We, as digital media protagonists, have mostly been working like horses with blinkers on to see only what comes into our domain of expertise. With digital as a medium expanding rapidly in India and success stories of international digital campaigns making an impact, we can see that there is an effectiveness of the medium standalone in terms of RoI as compared to other media.
This is evident when we report responses and fulfill certain objectives. What we need to ask is if we are missing out on the bigger picture. Is the end objective restricted to just getting a larger chunk of the marketing spend’s pie and chalking up impressive year-end reviews?
Making convergence happen
Industry experts have taken a serious view on convergence of various media and the sociological impact it will have on the audience that consumes the media on a day-to-day basis.
Integrations are the buzzword today. A ubiquitous SMS short code or website address is found to be trailing along the last frame of a TVC or radio jingle in almost every alternate advertisement. Similarly, the internet is taking up new challenges of streaming live content from mainstream media vehicles almost in real time and delivering the experience right onto our PC screens.
Mobile phones are being developed with the foresight of their media readiness in order to converge various channels on a small handheld screen.
In terms of content, more efforts are being put in to give greater power to users and in letting the democratic framework decide where the centre of power shifts in the virtual world.
Combine the power of web 2.0 and media convergence
Internet has been segregated into generations with the current one being labeled as web 2.0. But, what remains to be seen is the combined power of web 2.0 being used simultaneously with media convergence. Why can user-generated content be developed only on the internet or mobile phone? What stops us from creating content which users want onto a television or radio, providing further interactivity to these media channels too?
YouTube maybe the more obvious choice to those familiar with the medium, but it is television and radio, which ultimately reaches out to the masses. Logistics could be a hinderance given the sheer dynamics and commercial elements involved in increasing stakes, but one which is certainly not impossible.
Internet and mobile if channelized properly, should pave the way for the future growth of the Media 2.0 concept. A television commercial can easily be launched onto internet first to gather audience reactions and then tweaked accordingly, going by majority opinion. If the brand manager is enterprising enough, a completely new TVC can be created as a successor to the earlier one, based on the script that the audience creates and favours. Ditto for the radio format. For, the stakes maybe high but so is the brand association.
Develop new media vehicles
Thus, new media vehicles should not just be seen as toys supporting traditional media channels but should be deciding the way media is being created and consumed in future.
The CNN iReport is one such initiative where content posted by citizen journalists on their website gets aired on television on a specially created segment within news programming.
The triumph of the digital community would be to see media vehicles like television, radio, print, internet and mobile talking to each other and coming out with content that people want and decide.
Atul Soni is media director, RK Swamy BBDO, Delhi and the views presented here are his own and any names/ terminology that he has used are just for representation purposes only