Saturday, October 8, 2011

see u around!


Thanks for visiting my blog.

I have moved on! This blog is now closed! It's been a while since i have posted anything here. Please visit 'Omniverse: Social Media Redacted' for my latest ramblings on social media, media in India, communications, life, work and just about everything else under the sun! :)

Hope to see you around soon!

Hemant M

This is a chronicle of my experiments with social media, web 2.0 and digital communications which details industry updates and analysis from India and around the world

Monday, March 23, 2009

AMD versus Intel: social media wars

"Feud" is a term which evokes imagery of Gallic warriors engaged in a ferocious battle to conquer the opponent's territory and eventual world domination.

The historical 'feud' between AMD & Intel needs no introduction for some one clued into processor wars. [Check out this white paper for further information]. AMD's VP, Advanced Marketing, Patrick Moorhead, took the battle pitch a notch higher by publicly calling:
Intel's refusal to deal with issues like battery life on blogs and Twitter "offensive and derogatory to consumers" as reported by The Inquirer at SXSW 09 this week.

The new turf cleverly chosen by Patrick, is an indication of things to come in the social media space. Intel largely, has been a reference point for technology companies looking to engage audiences with social media initiatives [see: Intel SM Guidelines, 2, 3]. Although, the effectiveness of these efforts and their nature may be a topic of broader debate, it is likely that being the market leader in both perception, social media and valuation it is an easier target.

My techie friends tell me, that AMD has much better processors than Intel, and both have their own pros and cons. In India AMD's footprint has been limited and has not been able to breach the tech-fanatic barrier. For most users Intel brand recall is much higher and is often associated with trust and performance. Most are oblivious to what processor their PC manufacturer has set up to them. I have my doubts that "AMD inside" will evoke a sense of relief amongst Indian PC users.

A localized social media campaign may help them in creating buzz on the burgeoning social media platforms here in India. May be AMD India ought to take notice of this fact in order to tap developing markets.

Meanwhile, Moorhead, has hit the spot when he says

"Neutering people from the corporate brand was the worst mistake a firm could media is social because it's about people".

Help yourself to the twitter accounts of AMD_Unprocessed and Intel to make an educated guess on who scores on personality!!

This is a chronicle of my experiments with social media, web 2.0 and digital communications which details industry updates and analysis from India and around the world

Monday, March 16, 2009

New media, new challenges

Written in response to a question on the communication dynamics and how marketers and communications professionals need to evolve with their consumers:
Every era is defined by the medium which captures the imagination of the masses. In the 50’s when it was said that that television would carry live visuals and sound of an event happening miles away from its actual location, there was disbelief and then eventual acceptance. Today TV defines the information priority of the masses.

With this perspective, I submit that internet as a mode of information exchange is relatively young with an evolving history. We have not even seen the tip of the iceberg yet.

What we need to understand as communicators and businesses is that the notion of control on our messages has been a long misplaced one. Control was a subset of the limitation posed by the mediums. This is the single factor, in my opinion which has changed relationship between media owners, producers and consumers.

Media no longer involves astronomical costs which led to centralized one-to-many dissemination of messages and content. Today, anyone with a computer and an internet connection has the potential of being a key media influencer and a mass media agenda-setter themselves. Case in point would be Gawker media properties, Huffington Post, TechCrunch, Drudge Report which were essentially heralded by a one man media army and now are valued anywhere between $100 – 300 million each.

There is an unprecedented information overload and access causing the maelstrom of chaos experienced today. But, this is largely due to a lack of efficient filter mechanisms and guidelines which allow a user to discover information most relevant and useful to him or her.

As social media practitioners advocating and sharing information on behalf of corporates the challenge is to make the most relevant piece of data, from the point of view of the client and the user, easily accessible. Also, internet communication operates in a message loop functioning in a community environment (many-to-many) rather than a linear message flow. This would involve high level of commitment from the practitioner as well as the institution looking to harness the potential of social media.

There are many a roadblocks in utilizing this medium which range from actual perception change potential, messaging responsibility, sound execution and lastly concrete deliverables. As technology evolves, these barriers will diminish and we will need to understand how to best deal with this new reality.

This is a chronicle of my experiments with social media, web 2.0 and digital communications which details industry updates and analysis from India and around the world

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Online versus Print: Top Indian Financial Newspapers audience comparison

print versus online

As a PR professional the simplest industry standard of measuring coverage I have come across has been advertising value equivalent (AVE), which loosely translates to the amount you would have to spend to buy the same space as the article appeared in a print publication.

It is only recently we have started to wonder what impact an article would have if it is carried in the online edition.

Most Indian publications treat their online editions as an extension of their print counterpart. Many of these media houses had a head start in the online space with the Hindu launching its online edition way back in 1995. But, in terms of innovation and adapting new emerging realities of web 2.0 there is a gross disconnect.

The lacks of interactivity and underleveraged potential of citizen journalism are two broad negatives that stick out like a wart. This may be due to the restrain on the part of media companies to hire new media professionals who understand the new form of reportage due to the supply-demand pressure and unproven economies of scale.

As opinions in the article “Why are print dailies so conservative with their online editions?” on suggests:

A senior executive of an online firm says, “It’s like a chicken and egg situation. Media companies do not intend to have a separate sales and content team for the online edition, apprehending that the expenses can’t be recovered. Similarly, without a dedicated team, they can’t look at earning sizeable revenue from the online venture.”

“It’s also because many print media owners have already burnt their fingers during the dotcom boom, which is why they are extra cautious while implementing any online plan,” says another media observer.

So how do the online editions fare vis-à-vis their print avatars. This has been a question in my mind for a long time. Quite frankly I hoped some one could come up with this analysis and save me the trouble!

Method in madness
I compared the traffic statistics of leading English language Financial Dailies in Mumbai - in terms of brand equity and circulation. I picked financial dailies considered as they are considered as the bastion of corporate voice and have a stickiness factor when it comes to reading habits of their core audiences. Think of a “suit” headed to work with a copy of The Economic Times safely tucked away under his arm.

A comparison between their print and online editions should give an insight into their relevance to their target audiences which is mostly a captive demographic which has about 9 -10 hours of internet access at workplace and is often the sole source of news based information.

The English language Financial Dailies I chose are as follows:
The Hindu Business Line,
The Financial Express,
The Economic Times,
Mint and
Business Standard

Comparison was done using three free web analytics tools Alexa, Compete and Google trends for websites.

Below are the print circulation figures of these financial dailies as of 2009. The source is a leading PR measurement company based in Mumbai.

print circulation figures of leading financial newspapers dailies in india
The Alexa Site comparisons are as follows

Alexa traffic comparison of financial newspaper websites
This is how they fare on Compete

Compete traffic comparison of financial newspaper websites
And lastly Google trends

Google trends traffic comparison of financial newspaper websites

Google trends and Alexa (free analytics tool) do not map sub-domains (at least to my knowledge) so there may be a noise in the numbers for The Economic Times which is hosted on and not as it is compared on these tools.

Here’s a look on the numbers on Google trends without The Economic Times (Indiatimes) websites:

Google trends traffic comparison of financial newspaper websites without Economic Times
1. The most widely read financial publication The Economic Times has a total circulation of 2,30,000+/- in Mumbai while the online edition has the average monthly unique traffic of 1,50,000+/- (compete)

2. The Hindu Business Line with a circulation of 19,000+ in Mumbai is the lowest within current parameters. Its online edition generates average monthly unique traffic of 30,000+/- to 40,000+/-

3. Mint, which has undertaken a lot of social media initiatives on their website including the popular livemint radio by Kamla Bhatt, of the Kamla Show fame, has an almost equivalent circulation and traffic of 50,000+/- in their print and online editions.

In the same context, blogger and social media consultant Kiruba Shankar is involved with the podcast show with Business Standard, who opines "Less than 1 per cent of the total news content generated on the newspaper websites is powered by citizen journalists." [See Exchage4media article below]

1. Print publications in India clearly are at par and even doing a lot better in terms of audiences as compared to their online editions.

2. The clear advantage of online medium such as interactivity, dynamic multimedia content, search engine optimization, user generated content etc. are grossly underleveraged and may be the reason for the for their inability to drive proportionate traffic

3. The stickiness of print publications amongst people interested in financial news is high, which also indicates a slight preference in the favour of newspaper over online editions

4. Also, The Long Tail of online financial media in India may be a reason for this fragmented audience overlay. The leaders w.r.t access to corporate news,, India Infoline, Rediff Business, BSE India, etc. are popular and enjoy a loyal user base as they provide interactive content which an end user can access as per his discretion and requirements – in packets on media bytes & sections - at a time when he pleases to.

What does this mean?
While it is a forgone conclusion that print publications need to pay attention to their web properties and make them profitable by adopting web 2.0 technologies and evangelizing them down to the reporters on field.

Online media, no doubt needs to figure in the media plan of PR professionals in the financial sector, a mix of both print and online would be the ideal in achieving the desired mindshare.

You may visit the following links for further details:
Why print dailies are so conservative in their online editions
[Exchange4Media] [March 12 2009]

Growth for Newspapers Online? Yes and No.
[Brian Solis PR2.0]
[Jan 28 2009]

Word of advise
These figures are from reliable industry sources and free web analytics tools. So there may be a little noise while reporting the figures and must be understood in this context. Nonetheless, these trends, act as guidelines to the broader picture.

News feeds subscription to the online editions have not been factored which again may cloud the figures as some people may choose to read their news in feed readers rather than visit the website.

Collaborative efforts to refine the findings of this analysis are most welcome. Write to me at hemantmorajkar [at] gmail[dot] com or tweet me @HemantM

This is a chronicle of my experiments with social media, web 2.0 and digital communications which details industry updates and analysis from India and around the world

Monday, March 9, 2009

Mea Culpa: Lessons learnt from a blogging break

As a social media practitioner and a communications person, I often find myself advising people to stay connected and contribute to the broader blogosphere and the micro blog community in which they exist. Which indicates, that one must keep publishing fresh work, filled with insight, opinions, views, and just about everything under the sun at regular time periods.

The advantage is not only that you retain your reader's interest but also, search engines love updated content and crawl your property often.

By default and not design, if you noticed, the last post I have written on this blog is Feb 1 2009!!
It's just a matter of hectic scheduling and work-life priorities which kept me from crushing plastic with flesh.

Also, I did not wish to give in and add to the "lazysphere" by merely adding commentary to the current happenings and trending topics. Don't get me wrong am not as dead against it as Steve Rubel, but I see his point of view. Especially when I am forced to drudge through mediocrity to get to a great piece of work. But, then who doesn't!! And if you look closer, 50% of content (may be higher) is merely a re-hash of other people's stuff.

So here are a few lessons I learnt by not blogging for a month from a social media practioner's point of view:

1) Feeling of disconnect - I suddenly feel disconnected from the while blogging expereince. Obsessive bloggers claim to have withdrawal like symtoms akin to withdrawal symtoms felt by an addict while discontinuing drug usage. In the first 10 minutes I found it difficult to reconnect with my blogging roots. I realize it's taking me a lot longer to compose this post.

2) Feeling od detachment - This may be a good thing now, that I suddenly feel detached from my blog. Something which I was vehemently posseeive about a while earlier.'s all coming back now!!

3) Embassement - Now this one is obvious. Do I need explain more??

4) Writing - Not that I consider my work here, a Shakesperean effort, but I do miss the writing and articulation of ideas as they float through my head.

5) Referencing towards better understanding - I know this one's sounds a little complicated, but it's quite simple really. I link and reference content which I have gone through and taken the time to understand. By not blogging, I an just skimming the surface of data that comes my way and leave it in the "later box" for a revisit

6) 'Link Love' and Comments - Not much link love or comments here yet, but yeah we do write for an audience don't we...

P.S. The term blogging break returns about
7,420,000 results on Google

Update 1: March 09 2009 18:10 - Just came across a re blog tool by Zemanta. Where you can jusy Talk about Aiding and abating the laziness. :P We have moved to a slothosphere with this!!!

This is a chronicle of my experiments with social media, web 2.0 and digital communications which details industry updates and analysis from India and around the world