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IT Makes the Pen Mightier

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DQI Bureau
New Update

Is the pen still mightier than the sword? The doubts are justified today,

especially after the fiasco of Bush's embedded journalists in Iraq. But one

thing is for certain-no pen can be the ultimate weapon today unless it is

bolstered by the click of a mouse. And media too has diversified into different

avatars-it is no more only the print media dailies and magazines, electronic

media, in the form of a spate of TV channels, requires extensive amount of

automation.

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Indian media has traditionally lagged behind in IT usage than its global

peers-in fact, this was perhaps the last of the verticals to embrace IT. And

the catalyst was, undoubtedly, the TV channels-which changed the equation

since they needed enhanced technology to even run their day-to-day operations.

Fuelled by the competition, even print media houses realized that automation was

the need of the hour-in the last two years, all the big groups like ToI,

Hindusthan Times, Ananda Bazar, Hindu and India Today have gone for an IT

makeover. And the other compelling factor that drove the media towards

increasing IT usage was, perhaps, the emergence of the Internet.

But, unlike in banks, telecom, pharma or auto, very few have still attained

global standards-IT implementations in Washington Post, Financial Times or

even a specialty publishing group like Vogel, are today sample case studies in

business courses. In India, the adoption of IT is still primarily restricted to

mainstream media houses; barring a handful like CyberMedia Group of

Publications, it is still not prevalent amongst most niche publishing groups,

while in the vernacular press IT is still a distant dream.

No pen can be the ultimate weapon today unless it is bolstered by the click of a mouse

Fortunately, the government behemoth Prasar Bharti, that runs both All India

Radio and Doordarshan, has woken up to the need for technological innovations it

has to go for to keep pace with the competition. And not only newspapers,

magazines and channels, today the ambit of media even covers publishing presses

like McMillan, Thomson or Rupa which cannot sustain their business model without

a large dosage of IT. Add to it the advertising agencies-the marketing

communication tsunami is reaching a crescendo today-big names like Lintas,

O&M or HTA cannot survive without automation. Some like FCB Ulka have even

gone for innovative IT usage, like developing a time keeping mechanism. Finally,

with broadband services and mobile content providers gradually emerging into the

mainstream, the parameters of technology usage in media are likely to be

re-defined more extensively in the next few years.

Talking of application trends, most newspapers like ToI, HT, ABP have gone

for SAP implementation-knowledge management, data warehousing and BI are some

tools most likely to integrate with their ERP. Interestingly, most TV channels

or radio stations are going for applications including ERP developed in-house-some

like SET Max justify this with the argument that a generic ERP cannot handle

specific functionalities like programme and advertising time allotment or artist

booking and royalty payment.

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