Why do Indians love Youtube

The New Year!

First things first, wishing all the readers a beautiful, challenging and a wish-fulfilling New Year! Whoa! Its already been 7 days since the year has passed. Thanks for reading and hope you do so in 2015 as well!


Youtube – the baap of all TV Channels

Youtube – The Goliath

The biggest trend of 2014 has to be the emergence of Youtube as the biggest TV channel (and much more) of all time! If the entire TV Set top box is an animal, then Youtube is the entire jungle and the entire countryside, from shore to shore – and that is still understating Youtube’s relative size!

What does Youtube mean to its audiences

We were on way to Mahabaleshwar, a top hill station in Maharashtra, when we took a halt 30 KM from Pune. What I saw was quite startling – there were 5 friends at a desk, and they were streaming  Bollywood songs on 3G presumably, and were doing so quite comfortably. It just made me realise that one of the big reasons why 3G is slowly getting a higher adoption is [mobile + video + anytime on] as a package. Youtube has a massive role in this! There used to be a time when loading MP3s on a new mobile phone was an unmissable chore as soon as a mobile was bought! Not anymore though! And the big tipping point for this trend was Youtube!

So whats the big deal with Youtube?

Youtube is everywhere

Literally Youtube is everywhere – desktops, mobiles, tablets, TVs, other websites, apps. blogs, news channels! There is possibly very little in the media world where Youtube isn’t available. Of course thats due to Google and its entire ecosystem of Chrome, Android, Gmail, Gtalk – but you have to accept that Youtube is possibly omnipresent all over the media.

Youtube is accessible

Being available is one thing, being accessible is another. Youtube streaming works – whatever the bandwidth, whatever the device! Of course the streaming quality differs, but Youtube has done a great job with access for users, particularly in India

Youtube is inclusive

Given the range of Youtube’s video collection, Youtube is being used by one and all! While this is obvious and massive, try naming any other video website that is so inclusive, yet captivating apart from Youtube – my guess is you would struggle doing so!

Youtube search

Thanks to the parent company, Youtube search possibly throws up the biggest array of options when it comes to search. For video discoverability, any video creator could not have asked for a better platform.

Youtube creates a buzz

Every big initiative, be it a film, be it an event invariably launches its own Youtube channel and tries to develop its following. Indian elections were fought as much on the ground as on Youtube! Every upcoming movie release is preceeded with a Youtube trailer launch. Youtube is a fantastic place for buzz creation – something that every marketer aspires!

So, marketers, do share your ideas on how you use Youtube! Would be writing a new article about this next by collating your views.

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Strategy, Technology

Impact of Converging communications media

An avid cricket fan, say Swami was watching the India-Pakistan cricket match in Mumbai at his office. Since it was a long weekend, he had to catch a flight to reach his home in Bangalore. So, he left the the small TV sets in office albeit reluctantly. But, Swami was keen to stay in touch with the scores all through. So, while he was waiting for a cab, he sent an SMS to an cricket-SMS channel about latest scores. In the car, he asked the driver to put on the live radio (and cursed his luck for not getting the FM mobile connector with him) Then, at the airport he enjoyed the match on a flat screen plasma TV. In the plane, he enjoyed live satellite TV (note: he had booked a KF flight knowing that there would be a match on) . Next, after alighting at Bangalore, he called up his friends, for expert commentary on phone – who in turn advised him to go to this new cool website on internet for live commentary. So, he checked the mobile internet on GPRS for the match. So, finally he reached home, where he quickly put on his LCD tv and logged onto the internet for a detailed scorecard as well! Clearly, Swami had not missed a moment of the match!!

cellphone-TVNotice something here? The service offered was essentially the same – ‘Providing Cricket Match updates’! But check the communications media used. Sounds incredible right? Well, I haven’t even brought the social networking aspect yet into the above scenario. Clearly, communications is evolving and fast!

The moot question in all of this is – how will this impact the society? Well, the answer is simple – the effects are already seen. Due to so many communications media available, news gets around extremely quickly. People are becoming more aware. Example: the recent floods in northern Karnataka, AP and southern Maharashtra. The news spread like wildfire. I am sure, these communications media can help in more ways than one in such crises (its another matter whether they are used already or not, but thats not the question here) On a global context, the relevant issue was on the Iran elections and how twitter was used to post updates about happenings in Iran then.

Given all this, what is the future of communications as a service? I am of the opinion that it will evolve as a service which can effectively cover all of these media and provide real time updates. It is this critical success factor which is making people in the USA gaga over the internet industry- twitter and facebook in particular. The concept of real time updates is here, and is here to stay.

In the Indian context, however, the media convergence is a few steps away, but not far off. While internet on the ‘computer’ may not get as popular as in the USA, but one device has the potential to reach most of the 100 crore population – ‘the mobile phone’. Many believe the convergence of media would happen on the cell phone. And in that context the 3G auction is going to be critical since the 3G spectrum allocation can truly place power in the hands of the users’ pockets. We are getting closer to communication media convergence for sure.

The point is, whether the end consumer accept this change? And are the telecom operators willing to see this as an opportunity? Even in the USA, Google voice as an application ran into trouble. How will the telecom industry as a whole react to this inevitable change? That would truly decide the pace of media convergence in India….

Comments, thoughts invited…

Right, so this Friday – 6 October, 9 pm to 1030 pm – Strat. In is hosting its first live chat. The subject is going to be CAT 2009. There will be 4-5 from among us at the chatroom –  . This group includes CAT 100 percentilers as well. Please let your friends know about this event on . Details about the same follow tonight.


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Business, Strategy, Technology, Web

Innovation and Twitter’s growing eco-system

Abhishek woke up around 9 this morning. He was rather tensed about his impending CREST quiz. I wished him best of luck for it. At 6pm I came to know that it didn’t go too well. Even though we are classmates at IIM Calcutta, I have not seen or spoken to him once in the last 2 weeks. So how do I know every detail of what he has been up to? The answer in one word is – Twitter.Twitter

Twitter has been labelled anything from a micro-blogging application to a continuous presence notifier to a viral, social instant messaging client. It is all of these and more. Twitter has exploited the comfort SMS created amongst the general tech-savvy populace in the usage of texting lingo. Its 140 character post limit encourages to-the-point communication, often supplemented by the compression conveniences of texting lingo like “c u l8er” (see you later) and “CAM” (Cannot agree more). It is sometimes described as the “SMS of the Internet” since the use of Twitter’s application programming interface for sending and receiving short text messages by other applications often eclipses the direct use of Twitter.

However, over the last 2 years or so, not a lot has changed at Twitter. The only modifications to Twitter’s interface have risen from the community before being adopted by the platform. The @reply method in Twitter was not created by them, users did it. Again, users created the # tag system as well, not Twitter. Twitter’s API (application programming interface) is what drives growth and change.  The API allows 3rd parties to create their own applications, and there are now hundreds – if not thousands – of Twitter tools, clients, and add-ons, and usage of the API is more than 20 times that of the actual site. To view the most creative innovations in Twitter from the last couple of years, one only needs to look outside the company, to related third-party applications or services that have cropped up using the Twitter platform.

TweetDeck is a desktop client for checking on a user’s Twitter stream during the day; it’s infinitely more efficient than the company’s own clunky site. Stock news can often be checked through StockTwits. Links can be shortened using or another shortening service, which Twitter now uses to compress links into its 140 character scheme of things. Yet all these helpful innovations have emanated from outside Twitter’s confines.

In some ways, network effects for most software, as we see historically in the case of Microsoft’s Windows OS platform, are driven by getting others to work on tools that make more users dependent on a platform.

Twitter thrives on its ecosystem–the army of users and programmers and designers that are coming up with ways to make the Twitter experience more fulfilling. There is even a database at to document the list of Twitter applications. Here are a few of the most popular Twitter-based applications.

  • Twipic: an app that lets users share pictures on Twitter. Users can post pictures to TwitPic from their phone, Twipic’s API, or through the site itself.
  • Tweetdeck: is a Twitter app that streamlines notifications and tweets.
  • Digsby: an application that centralizes e-mail, IM and social networking accounts into one desktop program.
  • Twitterfeed: offers to automatically tweet posts published on a user’s blog using RSS.
  • Twitterholic: This application lists the top 100 users of Twitter (or hyper-Twitterers, as I call them), ranked by their number of “followers.”
  • Twhirl: is a desktop client for social software connecting to multiple accounts on different social networks
  • Twiturly: tracks and ranks what URLs people are talking about on Twitter.

Companies are changing the way people use Twitter too.  Brands have started using Twitter for marketing & promotions, market research, and customer service. Jet Blue was one of the first companies to adopt Twitter for commercial use, and in addition to using Twitter to market its service and promote deals, they use it as a market research tool to see what people are saying about their company via, and then as a customer service tool by responding via @replies or direct messages to customers.  5 years ago if a customer had a complaint about an airline they would have to call or write to the company. This often involved long response time and shoddy service. With Twitter, a customer may no longer even need to reach out to the airline. He can simply post an update that includes a gripe about their experience, and minutes later a representative from the company would contact him and ask what the problem was and how they can help rectify it. Using Twitter this way not only has the potential to humanize the brand, it replaces worn-out methods of communication with a real-time exchange, and puts the initiative for contact in the hands of the company. Indeed a long way since Jack Dorsey posted “just setting up my twttr” 3 years ago in 2006!

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Business, Marketing, Sports

The force of Force India!

When it comes to Formula 1 – three things are discussed to death – Huge money, cutting edge technology and glamour. Clearly, for a new team, it would take years to come to terms with the big spending giants like Ferrari, McLaren, Toyota, RedBull etc. However, Force India has done the unthinkable by earning their first podium within only a year and a half (around 30 races)

While critics speculate on a lot of things including this as a tactic to put pressure on the Indian Sports authorities to change their current stance on Formula 1, the progress made by Force India is spectacular nevertheless. Read on to understand the opportunities that have suddenly sprung up in this industry of Sports entertainment.

force-india-vjm011. Sports franchises for media presence – Every sports franchise at the top of its game receives huge media coverage. Whenever a sports India driver goes up on the podium, he & effectively the sponsors on the driver’s clothes get excellent media presence. Clearly, getting associated with franchises is an excellent opportunity for corporates wanting to showcase themselves to a huge audience. Formula one is watched in an estimated 70 countries across 6 continents. Whenever a TV show is beamed and it shows a car, all sponsors’ names get displayed as well. Now thats excellent brand promotion. (Notice the brands on the car alongside) . So when the 5 lights illuminate and go off signalling the start of the race at Monza today, Force India (and effectively its sponsors!) would be watched by an audience estimated to be 10 mn across continents! Exciting for sponsors, isn’t it?

2. Merchandise -There is a huge opportunity with respect to merchandise. Do you or do you not find it ‘cool’ to strut along wearing a Manchester United T-shirt? There is a definite chance that a Force India or a Rajasthan Royals or a Bangalore Royal Challengers would acquire that kind of status in the coming years. Now that is value for the sponsors associated with teams! If distribution mechanisms are strengthened, we would soon find IPL/Formula 1 tshirts flooding the textile markets across Indian cities.


Notice the prominent brand presence

3. Franchises as brands – Over time, such sports franchises would become brands . Incidentally UB Group has investments in premier football clubs of India . There is so much value in these brands and fan following associated that sports over a longer term is a winning proposition provided your team is always in contention to go to the top. Again, this ‘getting to the top and staying there’ isn’t an easy proposition by any stretch of the imagination. But then, getting best in business in your team definitely increases chances. And of course the CEO of the franchise watching his team perform definitely puts added pressure on the team. Notice how corporate honchos – right from Mukesh Ambani to SRK to Roman Ambramovich to Vijay Mallya are personally present at sports events. Its about brands and its serious business as far as the business community goes.

4. Franchises and IPOs – Very recently, had an article on IPOs. Perhaps a new industry is emerging on the IPO front – Sports franchises. The 2008 IPL champion Deccan Chargers indicated that it wanted to go for an IPO, with stock options to its players. Just yesterday, Kaushik posted an article indicating that Dr. Mallya was thinking on same lines – but a common company for all his sports investments across cricket , football and F1. So all you IBankers (current and aspiring) reading this article, don’t be surprised if in the near future, you are creating Research reports on a new industry – Sports franchises!

Perhaps the opportunities I have raised here are the tip of the iceberg. But one thing is for certain, the ‘force’ of audience involvement is certainly there with Force India and other such sports brands. Cheers to India and its sports industry which is finally showing signs of blossoming!

Looking forward to reader comments about sports and opportunities here!

(Liked this article? why don’t you become a fan on our facebook fan page ? )

Image credits: Paddocktalk Automolove

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Business, Entertainment, Marketing, Web

Business of Movie Trailers

As much as I like watching movies, I like to watch movie trailers too. Sometimes, unfortunately, the best part about a movie is the trailers that run before it. The main aim of the trailer is to raise the viewer’s interest in the movie. If the trailer is successful in garnering the viewer’s interest and pulling him towards watching the movie, its purpose is served. Teaser trailers which run for like 15-20 seconds generally pique the viewer’s interest. However the longer trailers, which usually run for 2-2 ½ minutes, tell much more about the movie. These should not give away too much lest it might ruin all the fun. Nor should it be so ordinary that it completely bores the person and he/she loses any interest in the movie.

A screenshot of the yahoo movies webpage

A screenshot of the yahoo movies webpage

Now-a-days movie makers exploit every way to market the trailers. In addition to them being shown in theaters, they are up on television as well as on internet. Recently YouTube launched a new channel just for movie trailers. Yahoo already has had one for a long time. So has Apple.

But the most effective place for trailers is the movie theater. That is where a trailer is first released. These trailers are sometimes released four five months before the actual movie. And there is a lot of background work gone behind showing these trailers. Which trailers are to be shown with which movie, when should they be shown before the movie starts…all is a part of a strategy.

Generally movie studios decide to release a movie trailer with their latest movies. But the final decision rests with the theater chains. In India, there are still large numbers of single screen theaters. But the multiplex culture has developed considerably in the cities. Most of the movie followers are well aware about the recent dispute between the movie makers and the multiplex owners about the share of profits. Aamir Khan and SRK came together on that issue to resolve the dispute. The clout that the theater owners and movie chains hold over the movie industry is quite evident from this. Mostly they also have control over what trailers will be shown in the theaters.

In Hollywood, with large number of movies and big studios backing them up, there is generally a very tough competition before it is decided which trailers will be shown. The theaters cant just show trailers for all the movies that the studios want advertised. Generally there is a deal between the studio and the theater chain about the trailers. Before a movie begins, different trailers are shown for at least around 10 minutes. The deals decide which trailers will be shown and when. Efforts are made to put the trailer just before the movie starts because that is the best time when it can reach maximum audience members. The trailers that run first probably aren’t seen that much as every viewer is still not in his seat.

Hollywood executives are reported to have paid a theater chain as much as $100,000 to make sure that a particular trailer runs just before a hit movie. Also if not done explicitly, there are other ways to make deals with theaters. Some include diverting the marketing costs which are listed under print ads. Or giving the chain a bigger share of the ticket sales.

However there is always some amount of distrust between the theater owners and the movie makers. Studios even hire private companies to check on whether they are getting their money’s worth. These companies send their reps to theaters and check on whether the trailer promised to be shown in the theater is actually running. The amount spent per month on this is at least about $10K. If found that a particular chain is not running the promised trailer, results may be dire. If the studio decides against showing any of its movies in that chain, instead opting for the competition, it can mean a loss of lot of money.

Another new strategy adapted by studios is exclusive screening of trailers in theaters. Recently James Cameron showed a peek at his new movie “Avatar”. As you all know, James Cameron is the maker of the highest grossing movie ever, The Titanic, and Avatar, his next venture, is eagerly awaited. So when 20th Century Fox and James Cameron showed 15 minutes of “Avatar” at a specially ticketed event in August, more than 100,000 viewers attended the screenings. Also while marketing “The Dark Knight,” Warner Brothers had showed a few minutes of its opening sequence in theaters with paid tickets.

It is obvious though that such tactics will work when the big studios or at least big directors are behind that movie. With more and more different means to advertise and market a movie, now it just remains to be seen what new and interesting ideas the marketing guys will come up with next.

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Business, Entertainment, Marketing, Strategy, Technology, Web – the good, the bad and the ugly

CNN IBN is one of the best news channels in Indian media. It gave great news, covered almost all important topics, presented both sides of the coin, and offered something for everyone. It covered  politics, technology, finance, business, religion, travel and many other diverse fields and that is what made it special.  When was launched about 2 years back, it was really an amazing site! However a lot has changed over the past 2 years and this article will try to expand on and some good and bad features of it.


The Good

  • The Content: I think emphasizes it a lot and whatever I will be writing here will be a repetition of the point made above. The various fields, indepth analysis, (mostly) unbiased views, and good journalism made IBN the first choice as a news channel. By putting almost all the content online was able to provide amazing content to the internet.
  • Functionality: The site had amazing functionality as the video player was smooth, the bandwidth was great and the downloading did not take forever like with most Indian video providers. The experience was amazing with
  • Mostly Ad-free: The videos did not really interrupt you too much. There was not too much advertising and it felt that was being looked at as a way to make people aware about IBN the newschannel.

The Bad

  • The Over Advertising: Please note the red circles in the image above. It highlights 3 google adsense placements with a simple story on, plus the whole page had a couple more of google ads. Sometimes this really makes me wonder how much money will IBN be geneating through Is it really worth diluting their content and the appearance of their website? Plus note the popup blocker gets activated! is acting just like million other spam sites!
  • Equity Dilution through portals: was an amazing site but then by launching multiple portals they have just diluted their equity. They have Tech2, CricketNext, Buzz18, Josh and god knows what all. They have moved them all into domain but the dilution has had its effect.

The Ugly

The ugliness is something very apparent in the statistics. Just browsing through Alexa tells you the difference. has an alexa rank in India of 3,478 and (a close competitior) is 89. Many startups and blogs have a much better ranking than on the web in India.

I still believe that has a great potential in front of it and it just needs to review its online strategy. People might say that India has such low internet penetration that companies really don’t care about web presence. Well see where the world is moving and see the potential of and then decide whether it is worth it or not.

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Business, Entertainment

Rakhi and her dramatic Swayamvar: What sells in Indian Television


After much speculation and hysteria, the immensely popular show ,”Rakhi ka Swayamvar” finally came to an end with Indian actress Rakhi Sawant choosing Canadian based NRI Elesh Parujanwala as her groom to be.

The show needs no introduction. It was a reality show where the actress sought her life partner from 16 prospective grooms who were given tasks to try and woo her. From day of its launch ,the show was an instant success for NDTV Imagine, the channel on which it aired. The first episode saw a TRP of 4.5, the highest ever for Imagine. Ironically, though the show faced a lot of criticism, the TRPs of the show continued to increase. With Rakhi making comments like the comparison of her swayamvar to the mythological swayamvar of Sita in Ramayana, or wanting to be another mythological character Draupadi by wanting to marry all 16 of the contestants, the show was accused of making a mockery of the Indian institution of marriage, the Indian traditions and being just a publicity gimmick. The show however continued its successful run and the closing episode of the show broke all records, with a TRP of 6.3, the highest in any of the other nonfiction shows airing on TV. On the final day of the show, the euphoria gripping the nation was evident from the fact that Rakhi Sawant became trending topic no. 8 on twitter that night.

So why does a show that is so widely criticized gain such unprecedented success, and an audience of over 30 million viewers? It can largely be attributed to an Indian’s love for high drama content. The channel played well on it, and the show was filled with same.

The show was launched with the aim of finding a suitable groom for Rakhi, who would, to quote her, “love and take care of her and share her joys and sorrows”. She was looking for a companion who would be warm, affectionate, and respect her as a woman. The tasks given out judged the contestants on anything but these. To prove their mettle, the contestants had to arm wrestle, climb walls, write love letters, compose songs, and even walk on burning coal. Would anyone explain how these tasks tested the contestants on their personality, character or talent? The tasks were only as dramatic, and as filmy as they can get, seemingly set more with the aim of entertaining the audiences, rather than testing the groom.

The show also had a section where Rakhi could vent out her frustrations, and her experiences and insights on the grooms. And with dialogues like, “ Maine zindagi mein bahut dukh uthaye hain”, “ mere ishwar ko maine hamesha apne se pehle rakha hai, mere ishwar hamesha mere saath hain”, “ main aaj itihaas rachoongi”, it can easily be fathomed the drama queen tried to be as melodramatic as possible, something the Indian audiences are known to love.

It can be argued that the show brought out a new face of women, empowered them and gave them an equal standing in the utmost important decision of choosing a life partner. But the show would then be designed to allow Rakhi to know, question and understand her hand seekers, and for them to do the same and then make the right choice. The contestants here more seemed like puppets driven by whims and fancies of Rakhi. The final was coherent in its dramatic content with the rest of the show, with three grooms bringing separate baraats, all rituals being carried out with all the three participants, Rakhi denying making a choice until all told her to do so, and the audience cheering her on. During the last moments of suspense, while Rakhi made up her mind, the grooms could more be thought of as items put on display waiting for the buyer.

An interesting question now is if the two will actually tie a knot. The show started with promises of Rakhi marrying the winner at the end of the show, but the two decided to settle in for an engagement, with Rakhi saying she feels they need more time off camera to know each other, and Elesh quoting financial reasons. So is the show actually just a publicity stunt with which Imagine struck gold? Rakhi incidentally did quote at a point that she had decided to go for Swayamvar –II. And with Rakhi in the driving seat, and the new mantra of Indian television where TRPs rule all decisions, it may be quite possible.

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Business, Entertainment, Entrepreneurship, Finance, Marketing, Strategy

Critics: Trash, Box Office: Gold

Transformers –Revenge of the Fallen released last Wednesday in the United States and many other countries. The sequel to the 2007 hit Transformers made a smashing entry with an opening of around $60 million at the box office. Its five day earnings, from Wednesday to Sunday total $200 million. This total is just short of what last year’s summer blockbuster The Dark Knight made in its first five days. Eventually Dark Knight went to make nearly $1 billion in ticket sales and stands second only to the Titanic in top earning movies of all time.

However I seriously doubt if Transformers would be able to get any close to that total. The Dark Knight was highly acclaimed by critics and audiences alike. It took superhero movies to a whole new level. On the other hand the Transformers sequel has been universally panned by critics. The first Transformers had managed to get mixed reviews and even praise from some critics, but there have been no critics this time who even remotely liked the movie. Barring the visual effects, the movie has been roundly criticized for its supposedly incessant and unbearable action and noise, poor dialogues and ridiculous humor.

So how did the movie still manage to make so much money? One obvious factor is the huge marketing and promotion. The total movie budget, including its marketing costs is close to $200 million. The ads have definitely paid off. The first movie was also very successful in itself and this whetted the appetite for the sequel.

Another factor is releasing the movie on a Wednesday. A Wednesday release is not the newest thing in Hollywood. Before Transformers- II, Spider-man, The Dark Knight and number of other movies have also been Wednesday releases. The strategy behind releasing a movie in the middle of the week is to help raise the hype and buzz. By the time the movie enters the weekend period from Friday to Sunday, the movie, already running on huge promotions and ads, and sometimes assisted by good reviews or good word of mouth publicity, acquires full steam and manages to make a lot of money. At the same time bad word of mouth publicity can sink the movie swiftly. In this case, not the reviews, but the great buzz and good publicity from certain audience sections seem to have worked.

In India, Ghajini was I think one of the first movies to use this kind of strategy. The producers of Ghajini had organized “paid previews” of the movie. The tickets for the paid previews were higher than the usual tickets and helped the producers earn a lot of moolah.

One thing is for sure. Transformers-II again brings forth the fact that movie reviews and movie returns are not necessarily related. There have been movies which were loved by critics but flopped big time at the box office and vice versa. Transformers – II, in spite of bad reviews has seen a rise in ticket sales. The main target audience, males, and especially teen boys, loved it. Surprisingly the female audience also increased compared to the first Transformers movie. According to audience reactions, people were anyway expecting a brainless, slam bang action movie from the Director (Michael Bay) and that is exactly what they got. Cool cars, huge transforming robots, great action, superb CGI effects and the hot Megan Fox. Who cares what the critics have to say?

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Business, Strategy, Web

Leveraging social media for profits

Web 2.0, particularly the social aspect of it has lead the gross changes in the way the world uses the internet. In the coming years, this serengeti called the social media would become a very important determinant of profitability for the organization. However, how will the corporate world react to this new avenue of understanding the pulse of its consumers is the big question. I try to address that particular issue using the presentation attached below.

Almost every avenue of interaction on the web today has a social component to it – so the scope of social media defined here is

  • Blogs
  • Comments
  • Discussion forum
  • Micro Blogging
  • Instant Messaging
  • News

Essentially if you want the answer to the question – how can the corporate world leverage the power of facebook or twitter, this presentation is exactly what you are looking for!

Please post your comments about the views presented herewith in the presentation:

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Politics, Public Issues

Let the Exit polls begin!

Today is the fifth and last phase of Loksabha 2009 polls. Election results are due on May 16. This post serves as a countdown to the election results coverage and the exit polls that will be a feature of all media coverage for next two days.

Countdown to Results-'09!

Countdown to Results-'09!

A major feature of the 2009 Loksabha Elections has been the absence of the exit polls. This was due to the ban imposed on holding such polls by the Election Commission. The ban was effective from April 14 and would be in place till the last phase of polling is over. In effect, the ban is effective till 5 pm today. To quote rediff,

The ban would remain in force till the conclusion of poll in the last phase of elections, the EC said. The last phase of polling is on May 13 and the counting of votes is on May 16.

Why the ban in the first place? Is the media so powerful that they can influence voters into voting differently? Probably the answers to the last question is Yes, particularly for the fence-sitters. Imagine a popular presenter,  shouting at the top of his voice, tomtoming about the party which has given the most money to him (take the comment in its right spirit) , It is bound to have some effect on the voters. To circumvent all this and the complications it may lead to, the EC banned the exit polls. I personally feel its a right move.

But the ban would be over today. The press and millions of TV viewers would be in for a treat from tonight right upto the results day. While coming to office, I also saw huge hoardings about Elections result coverage from popular news channels. Media and news coverage in India has truly evolved, but has it matured enough? That is the question…

Exit polls are one important asset from a media perspective to attract eyeballs. Getting SMS polls, views, opinions and all that would bring huge TRPs for the channels. But the bigger point to ponder about is whether these Exit polls have anyutility at all. I still remember how all Exit polls predicted a Congress Win in MP when infact the BJP swept to power some years back. Also, with many constituencies witnessing a close contest, Exit polls would have a very tough time projecting correct data.

Then, why this farce anyways? Well, its a game to attract viewers, to provide a platform for parties to prove how secular/pseudo-secular/otherwise they are; to woo other parties; and perhaps to pass their time before result day as well.

As I said earlier, Let the Exit poll games begin!

Until the next time, keep ‘’g!

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