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!

How does Mumbai Pay?

The best part about feet on the street method that you start knowing things. I started working on my internship project in April first week and all I learnt & observed is ‘how does Mumbai pay?’ I travelled to roughly all the parts of Mumbai to understand the payment system in the market.

I went into around 600 shops asking them what they use to accept payment, why they use that specific way, why not digital payment system etc. The answers to all of these questions were interesting and could give the overall picture of Indian payment system. Out of this survey or research, I found out that approximately 80% transactions happen through CASH ONLY. I don’t have the numbers for the total value of the cash transaction but it is surprisingly higher than any other country. When I got to know the common thing in all the shops that they accept only cash for the exchange of goods, I asked them why you don’t use POS machines or PayTm type e-wallet or internet banking. Maximum people replied with only one word i.e. ‘TRUST’. People don’t have trust in all the other possible solutions available for the transaction.

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Fortunately, I found few people using POS machines provided by banks. I asked them why you are using it when you can have cash transaction. They replied by saying “Aaj kal ke log ke pas cash nahi rehta, faltu me kyu customer lose kare?” Then one thing clicked into my mind, if these few people are adapting to the change just because they don’t want to lose the customers then why aren’t other people doing the same thing? After lot of survey I found out that there are few reasons that maximum people are not following the line of digital payment. Those reasons are as follows-

  1. Do not have trust on all digital services. Chances of frauds are high.
  2. There are so many ATMs around us, if customer doesn’t have cash we suggest him/her to go at ATM and withdraw money. We don’t lose customer here because customer is also in a need of that specific product.
  3. Hidden charges. We live on the very thin margin and if these machines are asking for commission which is eating my margin, why would I go with it?
  4. We don’t want to link our transactions to bank. We would prefer cash as it is available for us for the daily use.

All of the above things forced me think about the future. Nowadays, e-wallets are gaining the popularity in the market. Government is also trying to boost digital payment by giving the hints of UPI system. All in all, if we think from the different perspective, will we be able to accept the digital payment anytime soon? If yes, then what about the all above mentioned factors? Are they going to change in shorter run? If you observe, you will find that there is very less transaction between two individuals. Maximum transactions happen at the retailer point or at any goods exchange point. If all the merchants are not ready to go with the system then how will you reduce the use of cash? All of these questions will get answers in coming days only.

Happy Obervations!

Today, everyone is being MEDIA!

Don’t you think the title is the current scenario we are watching or facing or experiencing? I think YES. Yes, it has become today’s trend to do so. Forget the real journalism, in India or all over the world we are developing a new journalism. Since last few days I am watching various posts on Facebook wall, Twitter tweets, YouTube videos and where not. They all are talking about “If a man does anything, there will be a woman who can treat him however she wants to treat him” or “A 21 year old want to go Backward for its own benefits” or “A murder mystery”. Irrespective of these recent happenings, my total focus is on why this news are trending at all? News like this really holds that much of importance in our day to day life?  Or it is like we have the freedom so we must use it in any possible way, Is that so?

There is boon of social media but there is presence of unseen dark side also. From any account holder’s point of view , it is an experience that he/she gets at his/her fingertips. The social media wave is not new to us. Facebook (February 4, 2004), YouTube (February 14,2005), Twitter (March 21.2006) etc. were invented before 2007 mark and certainly it took more than a decade to expand its presence from few thousands to billions. The reach has grown up, friend list or followers or subscribers are went from 100 to millions. To add to this, Facebook acquired WhatsApp! There are always two sides for a coin, one side is happening or the side where everyone wants to be and on the other side is more practical than the first. These two sides are common human being and Business respectively. Business side works properly without any intervention by human being. Business gets marketed, shared, offered, extension by the overall reach caused by social media. To add to it, each company is allowing a specific budget for Digital Marketing.

Social Networking - Boon or bane

But the other side is darker side than what one can expect. This side of “common human being” is nothing but a own media channel of a user. If something comes handy to you, you must post that on your wall, that post then must be viewed or liked or commented by many and in the end it must be shared by your fellow friends or followers. This is like nuclear explosion, you just need a start. This is the blast of useless things at useful place. Why in this world people do not understand the real meaning of priority? Providing news is the work of News channel, they are doing their work (the way of their working is good to be unmentioned), then why everyone here is being a news reporter without any pay? Do you really get any pay for sharing these things on your wall? Just have a look on past, few months back when Deepika Padukon acted in a video titled “My choice”, the fire went on opposing that video. That resulted in few sites or group on social media came up with a male version of the video. But now as the days have passed, do you remember that video or content of that video? You must only remember “To have sex outside my marriage is My Choice”. But when you look into technicality of that video, it was mere a promotional video of “Vogue” magazine India. Well, that magazine did sell well in that point of time. They got the money. Deepika Padukon in succession released her movie PIKU which crossed almost 80Crore mar. So now tell me who is at loss? Deepika? Vogue? Social Media? None of them at all. The loss is yours. The loss is of your time, your thought process, your share on the social media. You followed a trend which never stayed with you longer than a week or so.

The gist of this long article is only to tell all social media users to Be Wise, Be Independent, Be sensitive to social issues. Have your photos on your with your friends, add life events/achievements on your timeline, so that 10 years down the line when you will take a glance at your timeline, you will fine ‘you’ rather than any short lived trend which never did anything for your betterment.

Use Social Media wisely!