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Trust In Traditional Media Is At An All-Time Low: Arunabh Das Sharma, Former BCCL President

The second-last session of the BW Businessworld annual intra conference culminated with a session on the new age disruption in media by Arunabh Das Sharma, who has recently launched his own company, Sagacito, after his stint at Bennett Coleman & Co. Ltd

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The second-last session of the BW Businessworld annual intra conference culminated with a session on the new age disruption in media by Arunabh Das Sharma, who has recently launched his own company, Sagacito, after his stint at Bennett Coleman & Co. Ltd (BCCL). Certain well-known yet less-realised and more-so-startling remarks, Sharma tried to explain the crossover that today’s media is experiencing.

He inflated the argument by deflating the traditional media theory, what he calls, ‘the smiling curve’. According to this theory, the traditional media model existed on just two main parameters, content creation and content monetisation, while all other parameters being the supporting ones. This model, Sharma pointed out, is no longer a sustaining model for any media house. “Structures of content consumption and advertisement revenue are changing,” he said.

While he gave several examples to point that out, he emphasised on what is changing and how it is changing. “Today, the consumer is getting his or her news in real time; the real-time consumption is getting monitored and revenue pitches are being maneuvered to adhere to this. People have just lost their trust in how the traditional media reported news,” Sharma pointed out.

What he simply meant was that these days the consumer is consuming news in real time. Traditional model, as we all know, worked in a different way, where the news was vetted and authenticated before it was broken.

Leading his argument to a harsh reality, Sharma revealed how this revolution will ultimately make the traditional media die out. There wouldn’t be any editors or revenue people if they don’t jump the sinking ship of traditional media.

The new ship being boarded comprises of a smartphone, a cloud (memory) and big data (or synchronised data). The three, he points out, are changing media and are the reasons traditional media is being slowly poisoned into oblivion.

“The three, along with behavioural prediction patterns, are changing the face of the media industry. While the content will be created on the carefully-monitored consumption patterns, revenue pitches will adhere to monitored sales patterns of the companies the pitches are being made to,” he added.

Well, all of this is not new as many media houses are governing that way. They are feeding the consumer with what the latter wants and are negotiating with the client with a predefined number (a number calculated after observing the client’s behavioural pattern).

Behavioural patterns, he points out, is a key term. A model which analyses and predicts patterns for the two most important parameters any media house has ever existed on — consumption and revenue. The new technologies available in the market, he says, do not see news consumption patterns, they also tell you whom to sell the news to, at what time and at what rate card.

While the audience raised many questions over the moral dilemma of news authentication versus real-time consumption along with doubts on whether the new-age media is even media, the evident reality was that all of the above said has already dawned upon us. That if traditional media companies don’t change their status quo, they are in for a sad end.


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