Digital didnít kill any star

At IAA debate, print and TV companies assert they are not afraid of digital media

Is the Indian ad industry afraid to go high-tech? The digital medium is a sparkling vivacious medium, one that educates and entertains and India could soon follow global trends where both print and television face the increasing onslaught of new media. But at an International Advertising Association (IAA) debate held in Mumbai, a motion that said that digital is eating into the relevance of print and television, was defeated hands down. With speakers taking a stand for or against the motion, the format gave an opportunity for the speakers to raise issues and also defend their statements. Virginia Sharma, chief marketing officer of IBM, and Mahesh Murthy, chief executive of digital marketing firm Pinstorm spoke for the motion, while Sanjay Gupta, chief operating officer of Star India and Arunabh Das Sharma, president of Bennett Coleman & Co Ltd (BCCL) spoke against it.

A prominent ad agency chief who was a part of the audience asked if anyone could even remember a digital ad in recent times, as opposed to print and television. But there were others who argued that the debate itself was outdated. Media and advertising agencies should come up with media agnostic solutions without pitting one against the other. Prasanth Mohanachandran, founder of Agencydigi chose not to comment on the debate, but said that increasingly, print and television were getting digitised. The iTimes initiative which allowed people to customise content was a step in the same direction. "It's a misnomer to think of digital, as separate from print and television," said Mohanachandran.

"The creative community faces a new world order and it is an order understood better by young people," said Satyajit Sen, chief executive, Zenith Optimedia," The creative theorem is so much different from what you've seen before. Here is Google, all pervasive and forcing countries to debate and change privacy laws. Establishment agencies are still learning how to deal with the change in status quo and as with anything else that is new, there is some resistance." Sen also said that the absence of creative super stars in digital, like a Prasoon Joshi, also worked against the medium.

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