The pandemic brought along with it hoards of challenges. One of them has been holding all college events online and maintaining the same enthusiasm. Article-19 is another one of the many events that had to be conducted virtually due to the pandemic’s volatile nature we’re currently fighting against. Manipal Institute of Communication’s very own media event and one of India’s oldest media events discuss anything and everything that falls under the umbrella of free speech and expression.
The speaker for the 12-noon talk was the very charismatic Nikhil Kanekal, whose career trajectory is enviable. With a degree in investigative journalism from Columbia University and currently working as the head of marketing in Crediwatch, a Silicon Valley–funded Fintech Startup, Kanekal actively discussed his love for storytelling and the need to understand audiences in today’s day and age.
According to Kanekal, the media (both print & digital) is an ever-evolving industry. One needs to understand what their target audience wants to stay afloat in this cutthroat business. Kanekal, who worked at Deccan Herald, discussed the circulation and readership of the newspaper and what places them amongst the most widely read English newspapers in India. He also spoke about Prajavani, one of the largest Kannada newspapers today, and how their popular sub-brands focus on literature and feminism, thus helping them stay in touch with the readers of today’s generation.
He also spoke about the operating model and the tools of measurement that measure readership and provide other insights related to the audience. In the case of print media, tools like IRS (Indian Readership Survey) and ABC (Audit Bureau Circulations), while in the case of TV and Web, BARC and digital analytics like ComScore are some of the tools that are used. Kanekal also discussed how Netflix has its own tool for measuring insights and how much these insights influence the scripts that are commissioned for movies and tv shows.
He also discussed developing user personas and building relationships to understand audiences and analyse user behaviour. One such practical example discussed was the New York Times Readers Centre that helped keep the editors grounded, but it may not necessarily work for other media organisations.
After the very insightful talk, Kanekal later answered some very poignant questions related to building personas and how some tools of measurement have become obsolete. Despite their archaic methods, some of these tools are still used due to some media organisations’ complacency.
With a wonderful session, the faculty members then discussed how much they missed having these kinds of talks in person and what an absolute delight it’d be to have the students on campus for an in-person session. Still, extraordinary times, unfortunately, call for extraordinary measures. An afternoon like this would definitely be a fun one!
Written by Avaneesh M for MTTN
Edited by Kaavya Azad for MTTN