Pitch Off S4, Media

Media, the modicum that brings us news, entertainment, literally everything. The platform has evolved drastically over the years and the Pitch Off Season 4 had a very interesting panel a few moments ago, that saw participation from top-notch executives from ET, One Digital Entertainment, TVF and Forbes.

The discussions started with questions about the difficulty of starting a media venture in India, which were put to Arunabh Kumar, founder of The Viral Fever. Speaking about what was going through the minds of the founders when TVF was being conceptualized, Arunabh said that the beginnings were of course, hard. He also went on to speak at length about the idea of startups, saying that anyone with the drive to power him — be it a kachoriwala — could be a startup.

The next question was put to Gurpreet Singh, Co-Founder & COO at One Digital Entertainment. When asked to comment upon the importance of research in light of the fact that content was the king in the media industry, Gurpreet said that he had personally been involved with the likes of YouTube and Hungama to mass out their products. He also commented upon the fact that sometimes the vast potential of content creators was not realized.

There are many creators who have the potential of creating great content but do not get approval/ stamp from companies, as they are unable to negotiate and monetize.

However, the panel also agreed upon the fact that in these changing times, anyone with a smartphone was a content creator. And that is actually pretty interesting, considering that we have seen a large number of startups that are leveraging the new tools put forward by the likes of YouTube, to build flourishing businesses.

When asked about how startups could leverage media, Deepak Ajwani, Editor at the Economic Times said that TVF in itself was a really good example of how startups could use the power of media to grow their business. He also commented about the state of funding in the media sphere and how media was also being criticized for lifting people up one day and taking them down on the next.

The discussion then moved on to how the startup culture was changing as well. For instance, startups have now begun hiring PR firms as opposed to a few years ago, when hiring a PR firm occurred years and years down the line. Arunabh pitched in here, commenting that TVF had in fact, hired a PR firm only last year — a few years, after the startup first started operations.

Pitching in Salil Panchal, Forbes, said that in media, every journalist had a story to file and it was important that stories get filed on time. Speaking about the importance of media with regards to startups, Deepak said that the tough questions put by media were one of the best ways to get validation. The discussion then moved to the importance of perspective and credibility.

The Panel also said that it was very important to identify strengths. Startups now tended to go for marketing the instance they raised funding. It was important to ensure that as a media startup, you managed to get your content right before doing anything else, considering that content was probably the single most important thing for a media outlet.

In case you are wondering whether, among all the companies and ventures and startups already in the market, there was space for more — the question was actually put up by the audience. Well, going by what the panelists said, there most certainly is. Answering questions about how someone who had a full fledged job on his hands could start a venture, the panel gave several examples wherein people were able to create lasting businesses despite being engaged in daily jobs.

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