By: Amith Rahul
Kamal Krishnan, the new National Head – Media Solutions at Mathrubhumi group of publications started his career with advertising. During his advertising career he has worked with Contract Advertising, Rediffusion and Percept Hakuhodo before moving to the telecom sector. His foray into media was with Radio Mango where he was the National Head for Sales and Marketing.
1. How does it feel to be associated with Mathrubhumi? What are your future plans for the organisation?
It is a great feeling to be part of the leadership team of a 94 year old institution which has proactively played a big role in positively influencing and shaping the aspirations of every progressive Malayalee across the world. Its a name I’m familiar from my childhood and continued to closely associate later in my professional career too. The media industry is in the midst of an extremely transitional state. It is definitely a challenging task and a great learning experience to take this great institution through this transitional phase. There is a definite game plan, and we are confident of the future.
2. Who were the biggest inspirations for your career?
At work all my bosses right from my first job continues to inspire me. They are people whom I can only aspire to become but its still a long way. I have been extremely fortunate to have such wonderful bosses all through my career. I still continue to reach out to them whenever in doubt and in every such interaction they help me to unravel a different perspective.
3. Tell us about your role at Mathrubhumi. What will be your major areas of interest?
The Task assigned to me is to drive Media solutions for Print & Magazines nationally. The challenge as I mentioned through this transitional phase of media is to develop fresh approach and strategies than can drive overall growth of the company. Im also closely working on integrating our media businesses for delivering value packed solutions for advertisers.
4. With Digital Media emerging what will be the future of print advertisements?
This has been an ongoing discussion forecasting a slow death of print in the digital age. However there has been no concrete evidence showcasing this trend. In fact in the latest report of KPMG, Print revenue has grown by 14% in the last 2 years. Indian Print media continues to occupy centre stage in the advertising plans of traditional sector advertisers (FMCG, Automotive, Durables, Financial Services etc). Traditional & Digital are likely to c-exist for a reasonably longer time in India.
5. How does Newspaper Design impact the Space Marking of a newspaper like Mathrubhumi?
Changes in the newspaper design are done time to time keeping in mind the best interest of readers and other stakeholders. As long as these changes appeal to existing readers and attracts a new set of readers, it will have a positive impact with advertisers. The print industry has gone way ahead of selling defined spaces in the newspaper, therefore advertisers have increasingly started looking at innovative ways of using the print medium.
6. Do you think a Convergence of Print and Digital will work for better marketing for the group?
Internet penetration is bound to grow exponentially in the near future. The advantage is that Indian Media has a better learning curve in the digital space and most companies are positioned well in their digital strategy When you compare today’s consumer they seamlessly move back and forth from physical experience to digital Whether it is shopping or any form of entertainment. So in case of Mathrubhumi we use a ‘ phygital’ approach. We no longer approach our products silo as traditional, physical or digital, but have a more encompassing outlook considering them as ‘ phygital’ which has so far been welcomed by our advertisers and potential clients.
7. Do you have any marketing strategies to attract the young Malayalees who live out of the state?
Yes we already have platforms that connect the young Malayalees around the world. Of course this is a continuous process and we undertake several initiatives to keep the connect strong and sustainable.
One such initiative was the Mathrubhumi Kalolsavam (youth festival) which was organised in Navi Mumbai. It attracted over 400 participants and was attended by a large gathering of corporates and community leaders in the region. It was a first of its kind event conducted by a regional player in Mumbai. As a strong regional player Mathrubhumi continues to connect with the diaspora outside the state, providing opportunities for corporate and retail advertisers to reach out to young Malayalees.
8. Is Print really dying? As a marketing person what do you think? Did Demonetization make an impact?
The Print is here to stay for longer time, the trends aren’t really showing any negative growth. Of course demonetisation did impact us like all other media houses in the country.
It was a short-term impact, and post demonetisation the trend seems to be positive and we have aggressive plans going forward.