Saturday, November 29, 2008

Era of media barons


Non stop ... anger, excitement, sadness, grief, and so on ... perhaps these words sum up the feelings in India today. It has been an unforgettable week, terrorists tormented Indian, British, Israeli, American and other nationals at Taj, Oberoi Trident, and Nariman House in Mumbai. There are plenty of reports and blogs on these events. BUT ONE THING STANDS OUT STARK AND CLEAR ... IT IS A LOUD MESSAGE TO ALL MARKETERS ... THE ERA OF MEDIA AND MEDIA BARONS HAS ARRIVED IN INDIA! Till now, it was the era of software czars in the Indian information society. Now the era of media barons has started. It is not the judiciary, not the political establishment, not the armed forces and not even the PM ... it is the time of the media barons now, in India. The media controllers are the real controllers in India. Imagine if you had a clutch of print media products, TV channels, and internet websites ... imagine the control one can wield over the messaging process, and over people, and consequently revenues - it is simply amazing. TV celebrity anchors like Arnab of Times Now, Prannoy Roy and Barkha Dutt of NDTV, and Sonia of Aaj Tak - they are amazingly influential! These are the guys influencing our minds, our attention, our thoughts, and thereby actions. The media personnel and media barons are the new architects of the Indian society. And thereby these are the new icons and influencers of the marketing process too.

Power of film celebrities: In Indian society, for a long long time film celebrities have wielded amazing influence on Indian people ... Dr. M G Ramachandran and N T Rama Rao (the yester year film stars) went on to become Chief Ministers of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh respectively. Amitabh Bacchan and Rajnikant continue to have iconic status in India. Then came the era of TV ... and new media icons were born. However, the point is the power of the media. Intelligent marketers will understand the pervasive influence of the media and harness the same for marketing products and services.

Imagine a TV channel - DISCOVERY HEALTH AND LIFESTYLE: Today health is a universal concern, people want to have fun yet remain healthy, happy, and have a long life. This need is met through a few print products, print pages and articles, internet websites, and some TV programs. However, there is no dedicated TV mass media channel that can engage interested audiences on health through information, fun, and verve. If Discovery Travel and Living can be such a success, why not Discovery Health and Lifestyle? There seems to be some traction in this business idea. It is the age of the media particularly TV media, there is convergence taking shape, the mobile phone revolution is on and PC/internet penetration is increasing. So it is logical to expect an opportunity for HEALTHCARE MEDIA BARONS.

If this week will be remembered - it is not just for the dastardly terrorist activities in Mumbai, it is also for witnessing the power of TV media and mass media. And there in lies an opportunity for the interested to become HEALTHCARE MEDIA BARONS.

Pharma and healthcare marketers - hark - there is great power in the messenger. The media is the messenger, through which marketers put out messages, and converse with prospects and customers. In the pharmaceutical field, the MRs as a medium will continue to be important, however, as is well known, there are new media touchpoints to address doctors. The internet, mobile, print products (mags + jounals), CDs, and probably the TV medium in the future will be very influential.

An example of the power of TV medium in causing market expansion is that of Aastha channel and telemarketing of Yoga and Ayurveda (both products and concepts) by Swami Ramdev. Today, the Yoga and herbal market has expanded thanks to his evangelical marketing of these concepts. Words like kapalabharati, anuloma and viloma are on the lips of even the average Indian. The demand and prices of Loki or Bottlegourd, which has good health promoting properties have gone up thanks to Swami Ramdev Baba! This is a live and contemporary example of how the media can revolutionize healthcare attitudes in Indian society. So the Aastha channel and Swami Ramdev can be seen as a good case study for future HEALTHCARE MEDIA BARONS. There is definitely a place for a-la- DISCOVERY HEALTH AND LIFESTYLE CHANNEL ON TV!

Pharma and Healthcare marketers - hark - take note of the trends created by the media! Whispers in the marketplace are that Novartis and Merck are lining up a slew of herbal products through seperate divisions. It is evident that MNCs too have noted the potential for evidence-based marketing of herbal based products and pharmaceuticals in India. Mark for the future ... the herbal product market will expand and see heightened competitior activity. The media is shaping Indian society and attitude. There are HEALTHCARE MEDIA BARONS in the making ... pharmaceutical and healthcare marketers watch out the media is powerful - VERY VERY POWERFUL!
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