IAA Debates: Print & Television v/s Digital

The International Advertising Association (IAA)–India Chapter brought the best of the minds from the industry to debate on a serious business related issue-Is traditional print and television media losing relevance in the face of the indomitable growth of the digital media. The first of its kind debate initiated by IAA was held on 18th February.

The debate was formatted in the classic debate style, with senior professionals speaking ‘for’ and ‘against’  the motion. The debate was attended by our professional colleagues from across the industry. Virginia Sharma of IBM, and Mahesh Murthy of Pinstorm spoke FOR the motion while Sanjay Gupta of Star India and Arunabh Das Sharma of Times of India spoke AGAINST the motion. The debate was moderated by Sonali Krishna anchor of Brand Equity show, ET Now.

Both the teams argued their cases well with well given examples. While the case in study was India both the teams cited many examples from countries like US and UK to validate their point.

Mr.Mahesh Murthy provided statistics to prove his argument and refused TAM as a data to be accepted on the grounds that it is easily bought since he has himself done so in the past. He maintained that digital does not only include internet and web it also includes the smart phones, tablets and sms service that we use everyday. Ms Virginia continued her argument and stressed that it is the digital media which can be measured better than the television and the print medium. The closing remarks of the team were that Digital wants to keep up with the times rather than lose out on its audience thus the choice ultimately lay with the people whether they are ready to move on with the times in the future or not? Fair point well made but not without rebuttals in between from the opponents asking to clarify her points.

Speaking against the motion Mr Arunabh put forward his case by asking the question what did actually relevance mean in the times today. He said that in 1950s when the radio entered the market the prediction was print was going to be killed. Despite the industry prediction none of that happened and it was for a reason for print can never lose relevance, instead it will gain relevance with the growing digital medium. Mr.Sanjay taking this point forward argued that television is loved by the audience in India and its sheer proof is the amount of time they spend in front of it. Shocking but true India spend 5 hours in front of the television. Television therefore in India is an extremely powerful medium in India to reach out and with the growing economy this number is only to go bigger. Arunabh’s closing comments were that both these media are growing and they are finding newer ways whether it is a screen or a mobile. The fact is that we as consumers love consuming whether it is media or content.

The house was open to question for both the teams and the audience did bring fire to the debate with their questions. While the result was a sweeping majority in the favour of the team standing against the motion Virginia and Mahesh were able to convince two from the Against side to swap their seats and move on to join their team.

This was not the end for this is just the beginning of “IAA Debates” on various contemporary relevant topics that marketing, media and advertising industry face. Srinivasan Swamy, President, IAA India Chapter, said, “IAA members are senior opinion leaders in the industry and with these debates we intend to drive opinion and trends going forward. As an industry, we all take part in seminars, panel discussions etc but do we at all debate face-to- face some serious issues? In my view, the issues are best understood when we debate them with passion.”


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