YouTube is my new TV!

Recently, during semester break I went home for few days and as title suggests few thoughts popped in my mind. In last 23 years of my life, entertainment has been inseparable part and of course TV carries a lot of share among various sources of entertainment which I was connected to. The idea about writing this blog popped when I moved from fast daily life of Mumbai to very calm and composed life of my hometown for few days and sat in front of TV after 6 months.

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This thought made me revisit the old days of TV and me. I remember watching TV for around 2-3 hours daily without fail. The shows which I used to see varied over the time but the bond with TV remained till 2010, after which I moved to Pune for further education. My family was film or Bollywood enthusiast but not much to go and watch every movie in theatre. We used to watch movies on TV only and that too with a lot of excitement. I remember watching ‘Baghban’ with my aunty and uncle which was the first movie I saw in theatre before which whichever movie I saw was on TV only. Not only movies but I used to watch lot of cartoon shows like any other child would have done in 90’s. Not to forget about the daily soaps (which I have stopped watching completely after 2009). Till 2007 I used to watch whatever my parents used to watch on television after 8pm and before that control of TV remote was mine. I enjoyed watching cricket matches with my dad and those shouts for Indian team playing in world cup. It happened till 2011 world cup but after that the connection between TV and me did not remain same as it used to be.

 

After this nostalgic ride of my life till 2011, it came as a realization that TV is not an important part of my life anymore. My entertainment habits have been changed after 2011 very rapidly. When I entered my engineering phase, movies in multiplexes, video songs on YouTube, songs on mobile phone replaced the need of TV. It continued to change through the years and when I look at my daily life, YouTube has taken over the place of TV in my life. I watch news on YouTube, I watch comedy show on YouTube, I watch songs on YouTube, I watch things I have interest in, in short whatever I need or feel to watch I just type it on YouTube and watch. Most importantly you don’t have to be available for specific time to watch specific show which is the case with TV but the invention of “record live TV’ it is also possible with TV with such facilities. Little background search of current picture of entertainment industry, everyone is moving towards the digital way. People have started using smartphone and Jio has started giving free internet and in such scenario all media or entertainment companies have started rolling out new content on online platforms. Take hotstar, ditto tv, Eros now and all other channels on YouTube, they all have started pushing fresh content on their respective platforms. To my surprise, foreign players are also trying their hands in this very well built set up, may that be Netflix (launched earlier this year) or may it be Amazon Prime. The future is going to different but at the same time the ‘connection’ with TV is going to be extinct.

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This was my story/observation related to TV. I am sure this would be the story of most of the people who enjoyed watching TV in their childhood and now enjoy entertainment through other means.

Happy Observations!

My experience with Demonetization!

Don’t worry, I am not going to talk about demonetization’s pros and cons but it is something different. Something which I think no one has come across. This experience happened when I travelled back to my native place in the last month of November, barely 15-20 days after the announcement of demonetization. There are total 3 incidences where I felt the flames of demonetization’s fire. Let’s see one by one.

This happened at our own medical shop, whenever I visit native, I spend few hours in our shops just to observe how people behave. Our shop is inside lane away from the main market so we don’t expect much business out of that shop but my mother told me it has changed since demonetization move. I was surprised and asked how’s that possible? She replied, “If you don’t know, government has asked all medical shops to accept old Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 notes.” I asked her that why all the people are getting sick these days? She laughed and said, I have sold two jars of Vicks in last 10 days. People are coming to buy OTC products and giving old banned notes. But this led me to the curiosity of why are you accepting? How are you going to exchange with the bank when you know there is only two banks in nearby 10 villages? She replied with pride that medical stores have a responsibility to serve people at their bad times and we are doing the same. Everyday your father deposits collected cash to the bank. When you decide to serve people, you have to take some extra efforts as well.

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Second incidence happened when I visited my grandparent’s place. This is place where only 6 shops are there two medicals, 3 kirana shops and one saloon. Majority of people lives on agricultural business and farming. When I was having a discussion with my grandfather, he happened to tell me one interesting factor which I think is very serious. He told me that just now people are done with sending their sugarcane production to nearest factory for the further processing. That factory pays 2200/tonne to the farmer. Generally in sugarcane production farmer gets money in hand at once but before that he has to pay the costs from his own pockets. As this demonetization has arrived, factory has made it mandatory to have an account to transfer the money directly to the farmer’s account. Though Jan Dhan Yojana was there last year, people still didn’t open their bank accounts. Now imagine you have only two banks in 10 villages, if all the farmers decide to open an account in a bank at this point, how will it happen when all the rush is going on in bank? Farmers have already spent all of their cash in producing sugarcane, now they are unable to get cash in hand. Though few have got account in bank, but due to withdrawal limit it is not possible to take out money for daily survival. The impact of it resulted in huge credit at kirana shops and other places where daily survival things are being sold. People are struggling to live.

Third incident I came across at the bank. This bank is newly opened bank at our place, my father has asked me to visit the bank and open account as the manager has requested to do so. I went there and did all the formal activities which are need to be to open a bank account. I met branch’s manager who interestingly took interest in my MBA. So I started asking questions related to demonetization and its impact on bank side. He explained me how it has affected the number of accounts opened in last 15 days, total deposits, total withdrawal etc. I asked how this money logistics works, to which he explained in tiny details. He said when we receive money at remote branch; we transfer it to the main branch with proper security. Now these 500 & 1000 notes are not a legal tender, RBI is going to replace this with new currency. So all these notes collected from all the branches will go to the main branch of the bank. Banks have their separate currency department which deals with RBI for currency exchange. The currency department for that bank is situated in Goa and main branch is in Mumbai whereas RBI is also in Mumbai. So when we look at the logistics part, it is going to cost us a huge amount as compared to the normal currency movement because RBI is going to give new currency. This will bring logistics cost up as currency transfer or distribution will take place in slots and will require time to reach branches in Rural areas. That’s why this limit of withdrawal is there and is going to be there till January as far as rural area bank branches are concerned.

So what I learnt from these 3 incidences? These were very normal instances anyone could have faced but when you see the intensity of this matter which is going to stay. Lastly, people forget what you say but they don’t forget how you make them feel. It’s again a very interesting side of tolerant India.

Happy Observations!

Why do we hide?

What comes to your mind when you read the title? No, it’s not about ‘black money’ which people anyway will keep hiding whether you ban currency or change the currency. Few things about Indians you can’t change at all. Today, I am going to talk specifically about two products one of which is related to both male & female and other one is related to only female. These two products are purchased secretly and kept hidden from outer world.

Before I mention those products, I will mention few things about branding. I have been taught that brand equity is the value you add in consumer’s life, brand positioning is the acquisition of consumer’s mind’s space, brand recall is when consumer is able to recognize brand without all the hints or minimum hints. All these mentioned concepts relate with consumer at different touch points of consumer’s buying process. Take an example, consumer needs something, he sees an advertisement of a product which can satiate the need i.e. ‘brand positioning’. Now that consumer decides to buy it and add values to his daily life which comes with that specific product i.e. ‘brand equity’. Now consumer decides to repurchase it or recommend it to other people he needs to be in touch with that product with satisfactory reviews which happens after enough visibility of the product or brand name i.e. ‘brand recall’.

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We have 5 chemist shops in family so I have experienced this process for all the over the counter products but there are two such products which don’t actually follow the above mentioned process. By now you would have understood which product I am talking about, yes, you’re right. They are ‘Condom’ and ‘Sanitary pads’. What do you think how an Indian buys condom from chemist shop? If you start observing, you will understand how funny it is. I have seen people writing it in the form of prescription, few come covering their face, few send small children to purchase, few don’t speak anything- they just point to it and show the count by fingers whereas I have seen dew people murmuring something and asking for paper bag to cover it. Same thing happens with sanitary pads. The use of sanitary pads is lowest but that’s not our point of discussion today. While purchasing all the females behaves in the same manner the males behave while purchasing condoms. Important factor about the sanitary pads pack is always wrapped in black plastic bag or a newspaper.

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So the whole point of discussion is to ‘why we hide?’ My point is not to discuss why do we behave in certain manner when it comes to these products but from company’s point of view, Aren’t we doing something wrong in terms of placement of product? Why aren’t we targeting the fact that such products need more visibility for its served purpose? Take all other products, you will find that its visibility plays important role in the repurchase of that product. If we remove this taboo and start showing it to the world that I have purchased condom or sanitary pad because I need it. I think when this starts happening the category will increase as well as brands will grow to serve its sole purpose.

Happy Observations!

Food Startups – where do we stand?

It’s been more than year to launch of my startup ‘bhookkad.com‘. Unfortunately, we stopped working on it for certain reason but the love and interest for restaurants business is still there. We started off with an idea to promote ‘outdoor dining’ rather than being another food delivery business. The prime motto behind this action was the investment owner makes in building that restaurant, handling it and delivering the best they can. A year ago, many startups entered into food delivery business and few of them have already closed and few are on their way to do the same.

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But today, according to me, scene is totally different. This scenario is not only related to food startups but all the startups that are present in the market. Take the example of ‘swiggy’, I totally blown away by their service quality. Recently, I used it twice in a same week just because they impressed me through their accurate delivery time and the order tracking visibility. But what about its future? When you analyze their business model in detail, somewhere in the corner it scared me as well as made me skeptical about its sustainability. Swiggy is logistics company delivering food from restaurant end to customer’s end with the mere charge of Rs. 30.

Is it really a good business model for company? It is good model but not sustainable. Think about top line and bottom line- top line is going to grow at very rapid pace but bottom line will grow at the same rate or will be the same. It’s just because the cost they are incurring and the amount of cash they are burning on promotions. It’s not the case only with swiggy but all the startups are doing the same.

My take on this is, until and unless you have your own product you can’t earn money or improve your bottom line. Look at Amazon, look at Flipkart or look at Hola Chef what is the common thing in all of them is their own products.

Happy Observations!

What if we remove advertisements?

As always this is something I observe nowadays in every single business – Advertising is the new source of revenue.  To simplify, let’s divide businesses in different categories such as Retail, Online Media, Startups, TV Channels, Movies, Sports leagues, Blogs, Apps etc.

We will start with startups. Take Zomato, What is the revenue model of Zomato? Don’t be surprised, Zomato does free listing on their website or app. You must be thinking then how would they earn money? There it come ‘advertisement’. Zomato charges restaurants for listing them on their home page. Now, as they have started home delivery and table booking facility, they have started charging thousands to restaurant owners. Let’s move to another category ‘online media’, this includes all the social media sites, online news channels, YouTube, video sites etc. They all have one thing in common and i.e. advertisements. All of these platforms are earning just by putting ads on their platform and charging per second or per view to the advertisers. I recently did a certification course with Google partners where I learnt about Google Adwords . Google adwords is biggest revenue source of google from where they make different users to create ads which can be seen on google search pages, google sites, google partnered web sites, youtube etc. Facebook is also working on the same line where they charge you for every single advertisement and gives insights, reach and sales in return.

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Take Television industry, it is very complex to explain how it actually works but in nutshell, there are 4 main components, producer who produces show, channel who shows that show, cable or d2h provider delivers that channel to your home and last but not least is ‘us’ who watch these shows on TV. This whole industry works on advertisements. Producers pay for the time of the show to channel owners. Channel owners charge different advertisers or agencies to display their ads on in between breaks of TV series. Nowadays, d2h or cable service provider has started their own channels where they do local advertisements or display company’s sponsored shows on those channels. Movie industry is also doing the same since ‘Dreamgirl’ where Coke used in film advertising for the first time in Indian cinema. From then it has started and nowadays every movie has brand associations with movies. This has continued with recently boosted web series, you will find every single web series is associated with one or the other brand. This whole entertainment industry has boosted the overall spending on advertisements, promotions, brand building etc. recently.

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Move to the retail space now. You visit a small mom n pop shop or any super market, do you find new product launching boards? Special location for new product? Shelf decorations or promotion posters? Everything of that sort comes under advertisements or promotions where a company who is advertising its products pays to the retailer for shelf space or poster location etc. This continues with festivals as well. If you have read my earlier blog about ‘Ganpati Festival & Marketing platform’ you would understand the scale of it. Nowadays, these all sports premium leagues are all advertisement platforms only though they promote it under sports encouragement.

There are so many things where you will find advertisement is the only income source. What if we remove advertisements from the daily life? Will all the above mentioned business work? Start finding answer; it will be interesting for sure.

 

Happy Observations!

Films – we just sell what we want to sell!

In MBA, we have been taught that Marketing means identifying the need or desire or want of people and offer a product or service which fulfils people’s requirement and results in ‘Profit’ to the company. Though it is not the specific definition but generally every single product/service revolves around this definition. Consider a soap category, if a company wants to produce and distribute soaps then they first need to identify the need of the consumer, what type of soap do they need? What color will be most impactful? What ingredients need to be there? How much a consumer can pay for the soap? Etc. When we take HUL’s, P&G’s of world, we can directly connect the above mentioned example with them. To my surprise, even services are being offered as per the customer’s demand and convenience.

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But there is one segment which does not follow above mentioned process. It might follow this process for the post product marketing plan or for communication strategy but not before the product has been made. This segment is known as “Film Industry”. I have been an admirer of this field for various reasons but the most important reason being the ‘out of the box’ marketing definition they offer to the world. Take any cinema in any language; it always starts with the ‘writer’. A writer of the story jot down what all he feels and makes it in presentable format. The next process is narrating this story to the producer of the film who will give money, production support and all other required things. After listening to the story, producer decides upon the director and in succession actors, music, director of photography and all other related members. The story is then gets converted into the film which releases in the theatres/multiplexes etc.

Now, as we can see, the need of consumer is not being considered anywhere in the product making process. Films fall under ‘entertainment’ category where different people chose different ways of being entertained. A Film is generally looked as a product which gets short span to be accessed by customers at specific place. The interesting thing about film is, it is not after the market research. It is made first and then promoted in certain manner to attract the target customer group. Unlike all other product/services where the risk of getting success or facing failure could be known but film is such kind of product where you don’t know whether it is satisfying the customer’s want/desire/need in entertainment category.

But nowadays picture is changing. Few people are trying to show what they actually want to show and few people show what people want to see. If we see Salman Khan’s movie which does not hold any significant story line as compared to that of others but it still get success just because movie makers have started using ‘item songs’/’fight scene’/’six pack-ab show’ etc. But on other side movies such as ‘Masaan’ or “Nil batey sannata’ are showing what the movie makers want people to see and enjoy.

In any case, marketing starts after the product (film) is ready. Unlike others, marketing starts when product wants a worldwide release and not when it is being made. It is really interesting to see the new approaches people are using to promote their films or stories. Recently, Hollywood films have started casting Bollywood famous personalities just to attract more people towards the Hollywood films and keep the box office collection moving.

In my opinion, Marketing in film is difficult than that of any other product’s/service’s marketing. Period.

Happy Observations!

Mumbai & Salesman

Imagine you are walking on Mumbai streets for 40 days continuously and one fine day at 1pm you faint and fall down. Yes, that is pretty much what a salesman goes through in city like Mumbai. During my summer internship, I got a chance to live their life for 60 days and trust me people it was the best time I have spent in any city. Though I live in Mumbai, those 60 days made me see city in total different way. I was selling something by going to every retail shop and convince them to buy it. But that is not the only thing salesman does nor at least me.

I started walking on streets on 5th April, 2015 in a role of salesman. People in India think salesman is very low profile job but that is utmost lie. Imagine India without salespersons and you will know what they actually do. You go to any shop, buy things and go home. Now imagine, you are visiting shops but nothing is available over there and you go back home without having your required material. Yes, you got it right. Salesman takes care of availability of things at nearest shop for your betterment. You can’t run a company without salespersons. They are the face of the company in the real market where actual exchange of money and goods takes place. I am not writing this to promote ‘salesman’ or something. This is something what I experienced in last 2 months.

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I travelled to most of the parts in Mumbai starting with South Mumbai continued in western line till Borivali then I moved to central line from Maschid to Thane/ Kalyan then Harbour line till Vashi/Chembur. This has helped me understand Mumbai better. Also, it helped me to understand different speciality of regions. Just to jotting down few of them here. South Mumbai as we all know is expensive part of Mumbai. But interestingly, it has the biggest wholesale market in its hand. Yes, I am taking about Crawfard market, Fort market. This circle of fort, CST, Churchgate will give you a lot of things and you can get anything over there. As I moved towards Virar side in western line, I observed that lot of middle class family live from grant road to Borivali. It is basically residential area where consumption of FMCG products is more and this area is multilingual. In central line, the last part likes Thane and Kalyan where a lot of Marathi people stay. They travel to south Mumbai for work. The retail shops are little laggards in terms of technology and digitization. On harbour line, I found community based businesses more prominent than other general trade. They have few unions as well. There was one union which has restricted all the mobile shops to sell on any online platform.

In last two months, I met lot of salesperson from other companies as well. It was best to know them how they see at this job. I got to learn lot of things which are going to be useful in my future career in Sales & Marketing. They teach you how to sell in unique way, how to build a rapport with retailers and bring maximum business out of it. Not to forget about food, Mumbai offers you lot of option when it comes to street food ranging from khiccha papad, lassi, pohe, pizza and what not.

Mumbai gives you hope, gives you potential to do better than yesterday. It does with all the salesperson out there in Mumbai and I wish it would be doing the same thing with all of you too.

Happy Observations!