Top media professionals discuss challenges of Mobile First World at Mediaclave 2016

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The School of Communication, GD Goenka University, hosted the first International digital media conference Mediaclave 2016, on April 5 and 6. The conference, whose theme was Changing face of Media, Content and Marketing in Mobile First World, was attended by many eminent industry leaders and academicians.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Rajesh Kalra, Chief Editor, Times Group Digital, who was the Chief Guest, said: There is a dramatic shift in the consumption of news. More and more Indians are turning to their mobiles to access information. Mr Kalra pointed out that close to 70% of the Times Group digital traffic is coming from mobiles. The shift was first noticed in 2014. Since then, the app downloads have escalated, and so has the consumption of news on mobiles.
Prof (Dr) Stephen Quinn, Founder Principal, Mojo Media Insights, UK, and one of the foremost Mobile Journalism trainers in the world, while delivering the Keynote Address pointed out that the mobile phone technology has advanced to a stage where it is not only news that is being disseminated on mobile phones but even feature films were being shot using the mobile phone.

The Pro Vice Chancellor of the University, Prof (Dr) Deependra Kumar Jha, in his address explained how mobile phones have disrupted the communication process. Today, most of us depend on our mobiles to access breaking news. This is something that could not have been imagined at the dawn of the century, he said.

Earlier, Prof Sunil Saxena, Dean, School of Communication, and Conference Chair, delivered the Welcome Address.

The conference was spread across five sessions. The first keynote session was devoted to the issue of newsrooms moving into the Mobile First mode, and was addressed by three leading editors: Mr Sanjay Abhigyan, Editor, Punjab & Haryana editions of Amar Ujala, Mr Nandagopal Rajan, Editor, New Media, Indian Express, and Mr Bhanvneet Aurora, Associate Editor, India Today Group Digital.

Each of the three speakers shared their experiences as to how their respective companies were adapting to the challenges of the mobile phone. They accepted that the mobile was becoming a disruptive force when it comes to distribution of content. They pointed out as to how the mobile traffic had peaked in the last two years, and how they were persuading their reporters to file their first reports for the mobile phone.

The second keynote session was addressed by Mr Alok Verma, CEO & Editor-in-Chief, Newzstreet.tv and Mr R Sridharan, Co-Founder of NYUSU.in and former Managing Editor of ET Now. The two speakers brought out the importance of one-minute videos. They said the soaring popularity of short duration videos demonstrated the importance of this form of storytelling. They also discussed what should be the right length of news videos as also the question of print media and television creating short duration news videos.

The third keynote session had speakers from two start ups discussing the promise and performance that app-based companies have brought to the media. Mr Saurabh Shukla, Founder and Editor-in-Chief, Newsmobile.in and Mr.Aman Raj, Assistant Vice President, Inshorts.com, in their addresses stated that the mobile space is large, and the opportunity is there to grab. One spark, one revolutionary idea, and the news landscape will change, they said.

Day 2 was equally informative. It began with a keynote session on Experiences, Pitfalls and Challenges of Mobile Marketing. The speakers for this session were three marketing professionals who had made a mark in the field of mobile marketing. Each of the three speakers — Mr Jeffrey Rufus, Former Vice President,International Expansion, Zomato, Mr.Arvind Kapahi, Head Delivery (Branding), DGM India, and Mr Deepak Kumar Goel, Founder Test Formula stressed the fact that mobile marketing was a classic case of being so close, and yet so far. They pointed out that the mobile ad spend was abysmally low. Advertisers talk about location targeting, video selling, mobile couponing, and many more possibilities. But the sales are not happening. Mobile advertising continues to wait in the promising shadows of technology. The challenge is to find the right solution.

The last keynote session was a panel discussion that debated the requirements of Preparing for a Mobile First World. The three panellists — Ms Radhika Shukla, Country Director, News Republic, Mr Sushil Kambampati, Founder and CEO, Newspie.in, and Mr Sanjay Mehra, Head, Multimedia, ANI — reviewed where the media stands in its quest to move towards a Mobile First world. They also presented their vision for tomorrow.

The Conference ended with a highly stimulating and thought provoking Valedictory Address on the The future of Communications as the world moves to Mobile First Newsroom. The Valedictory speaker was Mr Anup Gupta, Group Creative Director, The Hindustan Times Group. Mr Gupta, who has seen the media change with the changing technology in the last 25 years and who is part of the core team that is creating Hindustan Times Mobile First newsroom, brought a refreshing perspective to the issue.

A cultural evening by the students of the School of Communication brought the curtain down on the two-day conference that saw the leading lights of media bring perspective, knowledge and their vision of how the media should adapt to the Mobile First world.

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