Digital Media India 2020 Conference

Ways on how news publishers can create and increase their video content online

Rupa Jha, Head of Indian Languages, BBC World Service, India speaking at the Digital Media India 2020 Conference. Photo - WAN-INFRA

Videos are a great medium to tell a powerful story and engage with the audience and set them thinking and inspire them to make a difference. Powerful, thought provoking stories, riding high on content with beautiful visuals can lead to an immersive experience. Videos can therefore be both informative or entertaining and sometimes even both.

Speaking on the ways on how news publishers can create and increase their video content online, Rupa Jha, Head of Indian Languages, BBC World Service, India addressed the audience at the Digital Media India 2020 Conference organized by WAN-INFRA wherein she shared with the audience some of the successful strategies implemented by BBC World Service, India with examples.

BBC has an identity of being credible and balanced and the three guiding principles of BBC have always been Clarity, Innovation and Distinctiveness. Elaborating further, she says, “BBC stands for credibility, quality of product, doing less but doing impactful work. We believe in making complex things simpler and reaching out to ordinary people and making it accessible and understandable for them so that it doesn’t just become an academic exercise. That is what has kept the audience going on for BBC.”

Content is always a crucial factor in storytelling and in BBC, when it comes to content, they are guided more by impact than reach. Jha says, “How much we have been able to move the dial of impact is what guides us because ultimately that will create loyal audience and that has been the driving force for us.”

Speaking about the strategy of BBC, she says, that over a period of time she has realized that “Audiences always love simple narratives. They always appreciate simplicity in whatever you do.” Optimization is another driving factor and according to her, “One has to learn how to optimize on each social media platform. Every platform has its own texture, demand and tone and one has to be very careful of how to optimise on each platform and direct traffic. So, BBC focuses quite a lot on platform and we make content platform specific.”

Another factor that plays a key role in creating content is Relatability. It is important to ensure that the stories are relatable and the audience can relate and connect to it. According to Jha, “Even if it is an international story, we see if we can relate it to the Indian audience, otherwise it does not work and audiences drop off very quickly”. One should also place equal importance on engaging with the audience on each platform. However, she noted that there would be stories “That have not worked with the audience, but as public service broadcasters, we will do it because it is important to be told” thereby reflecting the honesty and sincerity of BBC. Last but not the least, Jha laid special emphasis on Collaboration which is essential to any kind of creation and growth. She said, “Collaborate with artists and they will be more than happy to work with you.”

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

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– Naresh Khanna

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