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Inherent Risks Of Social Media Advertising – And How To Mitigate Them

Published October 28, 2017 by vishalvkale

I was enjoying my morning read of the Business Standard, when my eye fell upon a story – Facebook and Google helpedanti-Refugee campaign in Swing States, Business Standard, Friday 20thOctober. I  noticed this story, and marked it for later contemplation. The recent saga over Twitter usage by  Indian Politicians brought my mind back to this story – and its many implications. While the ethical & moral implications are also present – but most vital is the implication of this, and similar happenings we may or may not be aware of, for us the people as well as for democracy.
Image Credit – Google Search

It is one thing for a politician to openly come on Social Media – quite a few have done it quite successfully; they lay their views, attitudes, national plans, ideals, problems etc – like one Indian Politician. Others use Facebook, and especially  Twitter in their own names to further their own views etc. There is nothing wrong with that – in fact, that is actually welcome, as it helps a large number of people become aware of what that person stands for, as well as have a judgement of his or her potential. Used that way it is ethical, transparent, open and disseminates information.
TARGETED USE OF SOCIAL MEDIA BY INTERESTS
However, I would request that you open the link above and read it; the usage of – maybe even targeted usage of – the Social Media platform as described in the article, goes way beyond what has been described above, and indeed way beyond the scourge of fake news that is now a common phenomenon that we are seeing on Social Media nowadays.  “In the final weeks of the 2016 election campaign, voters in swing states including Nevada and North Carolina saw ads appear in their Facebook feeds and on Google websites touting a pair of controversial faux-tourism videos, showing France and Germany overrun by Sharia law.
This is quite frankly, extremely disturbing, worrisome and should cause unease and disquiet in most minds. The article goes further, showing emloyees roles as well as targeted advertising : “Unlike Russian efforts to secretly influence the 2016 election via social media, this American-led campaign was aided by direct collaboration with employees of Facebook and Google. They helped target the ads to more efficiently reach the intended audiences, according to internal reports from the ad agency that ran the campaign, as well as five people involved with the efforts.
FACTOR 1 : OUR ENTIRE LIVES ARE ON SOCIAL MEDIA AND THE INTERNET
In the modern world, those of us connected on Social Media have our entire lives on these platforms; it is easy to collate and study patterns for the SM companies – with a larger customer base meaning more defined patterns. It allows advertisers to target people specifically as per your individual tastes. Just think – you click on a site, and ads related to that site pop-up in your feed; used this way, it is legal, ethical as well as a powerful advertising tool, which can and does lead to win-win situations for the customers as well as the companies alike. But recall that we have our opinions, likes and dislikes etc all openly stated; it is easy to spot patterns and create interest groups on a large database.
FACTOR 2 : IMPACT OF AV MESSAGES & MODERN PREFERENCES OF PEOPLE
Secondly, the impact of Audio-Visual messages is known to be strong in both psychology as well as advertising. Further, add to that the increasingly short attention span of the audience combined with the sad phenomenon of lesser personal time / greater work stress, as well as the propensity to prefer easier to assimilate modes of information gathering {AV}, and short tit bits. These two sub-factors combine to create a situation that enables a mind to easily assimilate and accept messages that meet these criteria stated above.
DRAWING INFERENCES FROM THE TWO FACTORS
The two major factors above create a situation wherein a targeted message can be accepted with readiness and ease at least by one segment of the population. The abilities and concepts described in the first factor create a set of people with vested interests that enable the creation of ability and skill sets that can be put to use to reach the set of consumers identified for targeted messaging. In other words, to put it crudely, a set of people willing to accept, and a set of providers willing to use this acceptability of the people to get across a targeted message comes together to create confusion.
Let me explain – on one side, you have a set a data, voluminous, about people – their likes, dislikes, views, readership, viewership, opinions. We can use this to create sub-groups according to various tastes, opinions and what-have-you. This is the company-side skill. On the other side, you have a set of people with easy acceptance of AV or short messages, short content as told in the second factor. The companies can spot patterns among the people, can group them together. Thus it is becomes easy to make tailormade messages that can influence people with specific proclivities and propel their choices towards a targeted objective.
It is feasible to create patterns, extrapolate and draw inferences from Social Media activities. If one person has a habit of regularly visiting Food sites, specific to Chololates, Desserts, Cakes – one can draw the inference that this person may have a preference for sweets. Similarly, if a person regularly likes, tweets, gives opinion on one side of any view in the political or social spectrum, you can extrapolate that he believes in one POV. In large enough data – hundreds of thousands of respondents – this will enable the identification of a set of people predisdisposed towards a thought process. This may not hold true for all instances –  but in a large enough data sets of people, patterns will emerge that generally hold true; and remember, in Social Media we are dealing with live data sets, not snapshots of time.
As can be seen above – a targeted message {Anti-Refuge} was delivered through social media. And again, as we can read, there was direct collaboration of employees. Result was a strong message was delivered at a targeted audience, again as stated in the article.  And that is why the article above is so disturbing. While it is possible for this to happen even without the collusion of employees of SM companies, it becomes infinitely easier with their help; also, the data is also relatively error-free. Add to this the issue of Subliminal Advertising – of which currently there is no provable evidence in the public domain, and neither is it a legislated area.
COMING TO INDIA…
Can this happen in India? Has this happened in India? We do not know; I hope not. But we do know that now the political parties are using Social Media in myriad ways, as has been extensively reported. We also know of at least one book on trolling or usage of SM by one party. We have seen another getting smarter in its SM presence. This they should do – SM is an efficient way to reach audiences – be it politics or be it consumer goods. No issues with that whatsoever.
The problem is if this newfound capability is used to get across a targeted message – especially one of the fringe variety, towards a targeted audience. The biggest question is – where do we draw the line? And who is to judge what is the line specifically? If we have the capability to segment audiences as per tastes, I for one see no reason why that should not be used for mutual benefit. But – as I asked in my previous article as well – how far is too far?
It is we ourselves that are giving these parties and these companies this ability, by placing all our choices openly. This cannot be avoided in increasingly connected world – just not posting on SM is not the long term solution; other proxies can easily be developed, as so much is online in the modern world, that with time, money and capability drawing inferences from data sets is dead easy. This is the evil side, the negative side of the technology that drives our civilization. It really boils down to data security, and a question of simple regulation and ethics.
A QUESTION OF RULES & REGULATIONS
The Social Media companies need to have a strong set of internal rules &  regulations governing content that is accepted by their advertising departments; one that is specially rigorous for political parties or for messages that can be construed to have a political content, or indeed for social content. There has to be a differentiator clearly placed between product-service advertising, and cause advertising. This is doable and is frankly easy to do and operate. It requires an iron will within companies. It also requires strict regulation and a code of ethics so that pressure tactics are not used to pressurize companies.
CONCLUSION

Both the above are doable; we in corporate India need to wake up and smell the coffee. We need to open our eyes, and see the immense potential for good that technology holds as well as the immense potential for influence it holds – and the potential for damage. On a personal side, we customers need to be made more aware of privacy issues, data security and issues arising out of the above. It is not feasible to expect 500million people to stop posting opinions etc on SM; that is not going to happen.  Above all we need to understand the immense creative as well as disruptive power social media holds, its potential, as well as the need for regulation. This is a space that is not self-regulating. We need to wake up, and ensure that some borders are set in place. The US example should not be repeated… 
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Farm Gate Prices And Urban Apathy…

Published June 16, 2016 by vishalvkale

Today’s Indian Express carries an interesting article on the rural landscape of India, bringing to the fore a superbly balanced presentation of the farm gate prices issue: should farmers be able to sell as per their choice, and not just through the APMC-demarcated regulated market   yards and auctions. This raises many questions, as we shall see. But first, the article in question:



APMCs were originally established with a view to prevent exploitation of farmers by intermediaries, who compelled them to dispose of their produce at the farmgate at very low prices. By mandating all farm produce to be brought to regulated market yards and sold through auctions, the APMC mechanism was meant to ensure fair prices to farmers. But in many cases, these bodies have themselves become dens for cartelisation by traders, who control prices and charge hefty commission fees on produce transactions.

An extreme case that surfaced recently was of Devidas Maruti Parbhane. This farmer from Vadgaon Rasai, a village in Pune district’s Shirur taluka, supplied one tonne of onions early this month at the local market yard under the Pune APMC’s jurisdiction. The price he got — a little more than Rs 1.5 per kg — was itself very low. But adding insult to injury was the various “cuts” imposed on top of this.

A scrutiny of Parbhane’s patti (trade slip) by The Indian Express revealed his total revenues from the sale of one tonne of onions at Rs 1,523.20. The total cuts even on this meagre amount added up to Rs 1,522.20. That included commission fees of Rs 91.30, hamali or labour charges of Rs 59, bharai or filling-in-bags charges of Rs 18.55, tolai or loading charges of Rs 33.30, and transport charges of Rs 1,320 (as the kutcha patti issued in Shirur was billed for delivery at Pune). Parbhane, at the end of it, was left with a net earning of Re 1: “When after the auction, the trader handed me a Re 1 coin, I was flabbergasted. Maybe, he should not have taken the trouble to pay me even that!”

Traders, however, dismiss these as one-off incidents, while claiming that delisting of F&V would ultimately hurt even farmers. “The produce brought by farmers is not uniform, which is what processors want. The APMCs are tuned to handle variety. Here, we have 50-55 varieties of vegetables and 25-30 varieties of fruits arriving on a daily basis. Such variety will disappear once delisting happens. Moreover, instead of a centralised marketplace, you’ll have small and medium vehicles carrying farm produce and creating traffic mayhem in Mumbai,” warned Rajendra Shelke, a leading onion and potato commission agent at the Vashi APMC.

Besides, the APMC system guarantees that the farmer is paid for his produce, which wouldn’t be the case if he were to sell directly? “The proposed reform looks good on paper, but it will only spell doom for the farmer and end up completely destroying the agrarian economy,” he added.

Sanjay Pansare, who represents traders at the Vashi APMC’s fruit market, justified the high commission rates on grounds that the goods being handled here were perishable and prone to quality deterioration. Only around a quarter of the produce brought to the market is eventually of the best quality; the rest falls between medium and bad. The losses borne by b on this count have to, therefore, be made up through higher commission fees. Since 2002, the Maharashtra government has been issuing marketing licenses to various entities for procuring directly from the farmgate. Besides, 34 private markets have been allowed to be set up. But despite this, an estimated 75 per cent of annual arrivals of F&V in the state still take place in APMCs. The proportions are lower at 46 per cent for cotton and 25-30 per cent in oilseeds and foodgrains.


The good part of the article is for the first time in my reading at least, has someone tried to place the other side – the benefits from traders to farmers; for too long, we have been treated to articles that focus on the low farm gate prices prevalent in India. Such an approach suffers from one major disadvantage: the bulk of purchasing happens through these regulated markets; these are an intermediary reality that cannot be wished away; they form an ecosystem within the economy, have large dependencies of families as well as business connected to them.

Any change process can only be successful when both sides of the coin are taken care of; the concerns of the traders need to be met head-on and dealt with, as, regardless of the question of compensation to farmers, they currently fulfil a market function. This is where a slow and planned change can bear results – as seen in the example above, wherein the procurement for cotton and oilseeds, foodgrains are at much lower percentages. Full marks to the Maharashtra state Government for crafting a graded transition to the newer system!

It is heartening to see Maharashtra and Delhi take the first tentative steps towards making a fair and balanced system for all; this is something needs to be taken forward in all states. Therein lies the major issue- it nationwide implementation. Sadly, I have not come across more coverage, or at least focused and concerted coverage in the media on this vital aspect. While Foreign Policy, Political brouhaha, Make In India etc find coverage and deep, informed, threadbare analysis – this is all but absent in this matter. As a net result, sporadic articles spring up in the media, and the public remains mute, unconcerned and uncaring regarding this matter. While the other initiatives will impact Urban India immediately, and Rural India through the trickle down effect over time – this will have a  much faster and potent impact, given that more than 2/3rd of India is Rural…

This is a systemic change, deep and layered; it does not have the dramatic, esoteric and visual impact of  Make In India, or Digital India or the other steps of the Government; and yet, it is equally, and in some ways more effective in ensuring the development of our nation; it is also something that the internet generation, social media, mainstream media and Urban India just do not have an interest in, which is truly sad.  Frankly, this state of affairs is a brutal indictment of Urban India

The shocking example above exposes the state of affairs – that the farmer is not getting anywhere near enough; other data and proof in the for of articles can be provided; let us take Onions as an example. How much do we pay in retail? 20/- a Kg – 30/- a Kg? At times, 40/- a Kg? How much of this should the farmer take home? Prices to farmers have even gone as low as 20 Paisa a Kg. We hear a massive hue and cry when prices shoot up – so why are the people and the media silent now? Why is there total silence on such a vital matter? Because it doesn’t impact Urban India?


The bumper harvest this year, however, has left farmers in tears with reports suggesting that prices have fallen to an all-time-low of Rs. 30 paise per kg at Madhya Pradesh’s mandi in Neemuch district. “There has been surplus onion production across the country this time, and the demand is relatively low. The farmers are badly hit as they spend at least Rs. 12 per kg in the entire process of producing the crop, excluding their labour cost,” said Rajender Sharma, member of Azadpur, Agriculture Produce Market Committee (APMC).

In Delhi, which primarily relies on these two States among a few others for onions, the situation is equally grim. At the Azadpur Mandi, the kitchen essential is being sold at Rs. 7.86 per kilo on an average. The best-quality onions are being sold at a wholesale rate of Rs. 10.5 per kg, whereas the poor-quality and the smaller ones are being bought by traders at Rs. 4.5 per kilo. The retail prices in the city range between Rs. 18 per kilo and Rs. 20 per kilo.

Did we read much of this in  the Media? And do note the difference between retail and wholesale prices; and ask yourselves some questions on tis state of affairs. Also do ask yourself is it fair that these matters take backstage to the much more visual steps that directly impact Urban India – and also ask yourself how can we change the state of affairs?

THE TRICOLOR – A SHOCKING DEBATE!

Published February 21, 2016 by vishalvkale

This was not a news item that had touched me; in fact, I had dismissed it as just another routine decision by the Government – the one on the National Flag, our beloved Tirangaa. Ok, I thought : so universities have to display the flag; nothing passed my mind – no issue, no question, no controversy. Therefore, I found it surprising when I started getting whatsapp updates on how Arnab is liked for his stance; I also ran into a couple of facebook updates on his now-famous Newhour Debate on the Tirangaa issue.


My interest was piqued, and I watched the programme – with bile rising in my throat, tears in my eyes and with a mind numbed and shocked into total disbelief at the display – nay, the mind-numbingly tasteless display that was being presented on the screen. I mean, seriously – you are actually debating about whether or not the decision to tell universities to fly the flag is a correct one? Now how can this be a matter of debate?
MY REACTION
And yet – the evidence of my eyes, my ears and my mind was inescapable : this was a matter of debate; at least in some quarters. The tricolor, our Tirangaa is the pride of every Indian – that I am sure of; then how does this question even arise that telling Universities of fly the flag is debatable? How can it become an issue –even a mild one? But that is precisely what was transpiring in front of my very eyes; that was what my memory also reminded me, with those posts and those updates. A simple google search completed the picture, and I was left in shock, and crying…
The arguments presented by the people objecting were strange; I would call them funny if the matter weren’t so emotionally charged. Liberalism, Intervention, Timing, Extremist Nationalism etc were the reasons trotted out. Some of these, on the face of it, sound perfectly reasonable; especially when viewed individually, and on their own; but the moment you place them in the context of the National Flag, our Tirangaa – it becomes another matter entirely. This is, frankly, a routine albeit laudable decision taken by the Government, one which really has no basis for argument.
This is about the National Flag, which  is the symbol of our nation. It isn’t about anything small; The Flag is what represents India. Any which way you look at it, this is a big, big deal. The Flag is what The Army fights for, The Air Force fights for, The Navy fights for, the Sportsman representing India in international events takes pride in, the scientific achiever in conferences sits under, the diplomats sport on their embassies, the normal Indian loves and takes pride in. People have died trying to protect the flag, and what it symbolizes, and yet this is an issue in some minds?
THE OBJECTIONS TO THE DECISION

The questions raised center around Timing of the Decision, Politically expedient, Liberalism, Intervention, Autonomy of Universities, Extremist Nationalism. Take timing – how can any time be wrong to fly our Tricolor? Are we saying that it is wrong to fly the tricolor? Why on earth? Why should we not fly the flag – and in our own country? How can stoking nationalism and a feeling of pride in our nation be wrong at any point in time? That is a positive step, so how does it acquire negative connotations? The logic escapes me!  
And how is it politically expedient? Is the Government peddling its own party? No! It is simply saying to Central Universities : Fly the National Flag! Ok, fine – this decision is coming in the middle of some protests in one, two or three universities, agreed and granted. So what? The decision to fly the Flag applies to all Universities, for starters. Next, The Flag represents India, and stokes a feeling of love and pride in our nation. So how can that be wrong? It might even be a great decision – given that at least I feel an immense satisfaction, calm and pride whenever I spot the flag!
Any Central University is an Indian entity, first of all. So the question of Autonomy or intervention is also moot. Autonomy does not mean that you do not fly the Flag! How is asking the University to Fly the Flag an issue of Autonomy? I heard one professor state the University Flag flies –but how can this relatively unimportant flag compare with the National Flag? Which flag is more important-  and how can you object to the national Flag being given precedence over your own flag? As an ex-soldier observed, and I concur – are these not in Indian Territory, and Indian Institutions? How can anyone compare the National Flag with a local flag?
The even more amazing argument is Autonomy. Just how is the Flag, the Tirangaa, intervening in anyone’s autonomy of functioning? It is not intervening in your day-to-day functioning, or stopping you from your duties. As an Indian University, how can the National Flag intervene? It should be the opposite – it should stoke pride, and a desire to work and study harder for the sake of the nation! That is actually strengthening the duties and tasks of Universities, who are responsible for delivering trained people for Indian Institutions and companies, taking  forward the cause of the nation!
The saddest argument presented is Extreme Nationalism; how can flying the Flag be termed Extreme Nationalism? What is so damning about flying our Tricolor that some people term it Extreme? Absolutely nothing, that is what! The Flag is representative of All India and all its citizens, and is a powerful symbol of our nation and our pride. What is extreme in asking that it be flown? It is simply a powerful and symbolic reminder of our duties towards our nation!
THE UNIVERSITIES AND THE NATION
The Universities of India have regularly been producing two kinds of people – patriots who stay in India, join the Armed Forces, The Police, The IAS, Universities and Schools, Hospitals, Other Services, Private Companies in India, open their business in India, and contribute in myriad ways to the development of our holy motherland.  They work hard, combat various problems and imperfections that our land is famous for – but stay, struggle, live, love, and contribute here.
These same Universities also produce a steady stream of people who leave India, go abroad, and even surrender their citizenship. These people forget India – to say nothing of The Tirangaa, and prefer to contribute to other  nations, other economies, and other flags than our own. This is a hard reality, and is an inescapable fact. Thus, in a small way, flying the National Flag on the Universities – even if it converts one student to stay, it will have been well worth the effort. Ek Se Ek Jude Ek Zanjeer Bane is what I say.There have also been protests that, as per some Media reports, have some objectionable content. In that light, any even small step that can reinforce nationalist feelings in howsoever small a way should be welcome – and the National Flag is by no means a small step!
People from these same universities who stay in India indulge in various acts that harm India in many ways, like Corruption, and many other social and other evils; as well as other, more grievous but thankfully minor incidents or one-off incidents that have occurred. There is a strong and crying need for a surge in nationalist sentiment so that the Agenda of development can be carried forward, and where better to start that than the place that churns out the people who will carry forward the idea of India, who will eventually go on to lead India?
As a matter of fact, this should be introduced in as many places as feasible – upto school level, as it would serve as a powerful reminder as well as a education to the young  growing up children, some or most of whom will want to know more about the Flag, once they see it more often. Sure, it is a small step – but it is the small, even tiny, but powerfully symbolic steps that have the most far-reaching and strong impact on a people, a society and a nation. And given our overt and obvious love for the Tirangaa, it is bound to kindle a slow change. Kudos to the BJP for thinking of this, and never mind any of the so-called objections…
CONCLUSION
This has, in many ways, been the most shocking and sad debate I have seen in my life. That The National Flag, for which people have died, for which countless young Indians have laid their lives without a second thought – should be a subject of such a sorry debate is mind-numbing, and totally unacceptable. I agree with those who say that this is not open to negotiation;  that this is a long-overdue step that has been taken by a superb Government. Credit where credit is due.
It is surprising that some people find this decision of flying The National Flag at Universities objectionable, and is being politicized by some quarters. It is fine if these places of education produce people who forget the flag, the nation and move abroad? It is even a matter of pride with regard to how many people have gone abroad – but no, the call to simply fly the National Flag is met with objections from some quarters? This symbolic gesture is met with various inane objections and politicization! Why cant we just accept it as a routine, symbolic gesture rather than a political one?

We need a symbolic gesture, a symbol, a reminder as it were, of the idea of India in these trying times. Symbols are known to have a powerful presence and impact, and that is why, given the recent history, it is also good to have this small but potentially powerful step. Full marks to the Government for thinking of this. We need to drive in the idea of India deep into the minds and hearts of all the people-  and where better than a University to start this? In conclusion,  can only state: People have died for this very Tirangaa. Respect that at least, if nothing else. 

Famers, and The Urban Indian

Published February 2, 2016 by vishalvkale

The past few months {and more} have seen a whirlwind of news regarding great moves by the NaMo Government; highlighting a series of developments and laudable initiatives by this Government by the Media as well as the Bhakt Brigade on Social Media. That is indeed good; a positive environment engenders a powerful impetus towards growth, and is a significant factor. Positivity engenders growth and development, problem resolution in a manner negativity can never do.
In all this euphoria and positivity, one factor lies ignored; the status of the Agriculture Sector. This article isn’t about The NaMo Government, but about our {Urban India’s} response – or lack of it – regarding the Agriculture Sector, about how it has taken the back seat, and about how we just don’t respond, or are not even aware of, the status of this sector, its issues and the problems that plague it. While news regarding Farmer Suicides reaches us due to the sensationality factor, the real issues and problems this sector faces never reach us. And for that, we the people are to blame.
Rising Farmer Distress in some parts of India, for example in Maharashtra is but one aspect of this; the aspect of drought that has hit large tracts of India is another and potentially more troublesome and serious a factor to hit us. Add to this the lack of serious attention to the myriad problems that inflict the agricultural scenario, like Seeds for example, or unbalanced fertilization to take another pertinent and current example.
And yet, despite the scale of these problems, neither the mainstream Media or the larger Social Media is focussed on these factors; the large number of news articles, updates etc are built around digitisation moves of the current Government, Smart Cities, Bullet Trains, Railway Modernisation, Make In India, Digital India, FDI and Economic Growth, Basic Office Hygeine steps by the NaMo Government, Aggression {long-needed} towards the needs of the Armed Forces etc.
Not one of the points listed above is unimportant; not one is without value. Each step truly laudable in its own right, and very welcome. Credit where credit is due; fact is fact. But critically and interestingly, Crop Insurance apart, no news in relation to the Agriculture Sector has made it to Social Media, or to the News that I am aware of – not to the tune of the others, those I mentioned above. That means either the Government has done nothing; which is highly debatable – given that there is a ministry devoted to this; or that we aren’t aware of it- which is far more likely.
The state of affairs in Indian Agriculture is there for all to see, and requires no data to prove it. The shocking evidence of your eyes should shake anyone from stem to stern, with rampant poverty, and abject conditions the moment you move into the Rural parts of India. And yet, we Urban Indians continue to bask in the glory of moves and steps that largely benefit Urban India; I refer to Smart Cities, Make In India and Bullet Trains etc. Even the praise of Digitisation in Social Media hovers around facilities for Urban Indians! Why doesn’t the status of the Farming Community in India reach the consciousness of us Urban Indians?
The news that is coming out is disturbing, to say the least; The Maharashtra government has declared a “drought-like condition” in 14,708 of the state’s 43,000 villages. This means the drought covers 34% of the state, as per a Times of India Report. Another Hindustan Times report states As of Nov-end, nine of India’s 29 states had officially declared a drought, and 302 of the 640 districts are living in drought-like conditions.  That is approximately 50% of India. Another report from October categorically mentions : For India to grow at 8%, agriculture must grow at least 4%. Yet, the farm sector has barely crawled at 1.9% in the first quarter (April-June) this year. It could get worse when the effects of a widespread drought become visible in the next few months.
The same report goes on : Between April 2014 and February 2015, the value of India’s farm exports dropped nearly 3%, as prices in global commodity markets fell. In August this year, tractor sales were down 23%. Rural wages rose at a slower 4.6% pace in a 12-month period ending in June, compared to a 12% rise in the same period a year ago.; earlier, the same report made this point : Alarmingly, a rural distress — marked by slowing wages, poor incomes and lower profits from farming — now looks getting entrenched.

{Image Credit : Hindustan Times, article linked in references}



Another Hindustan Times article strips the Urban Indian naked in this blunt statement, which I fully endorse : Obsessed with the latest, hyper-emotional social media trend, India’s people and mass media are all but oblivious to Bharat’s emergency situation. The only national newspaper that has consistently followed collapsing farms and failing rains is Mint. As of last week, nine of India’s 29 states had officially declared a drought, and 302 of the 640 districts are living in drought-like conditions. If you ask why none of this is on India’s primetime television shows or splashed on front pages, I will only say that the media, in general, are not interested and neither, dear reader, are we.Sad, but a completely factual indictment of the status of Social Media.
The same report had made this point : The data indicate the essentially dead-end nature of Bharat’s jobs and realities and a worsening farm economy, which grew only 0.2% last year. If it grows that much this year, we should be lucky. The under-reported and largely ignored farm crisis has been made greatly worse and more urgent by two years of scanty rain. Fact upon relentless fact can be piled up to build the case of neglect by we the people in our consciousness…
Going further, a Reuters report goes even further, with facts : Last month, India made its first purchases of corn in 16 years. It has also been increasing purchases of other products, such as lentils and oilmeals, as production falls short. Wheat and sugar stocks, while sufficient in warehouses now, are depleting fast, leading some traders to predict the need for imports next year. The same report also has this stunning statement from an analyst : “There’s a complete collapse of Indian agriculture, and that’s because of the callous neglect by the government,” said Devinder Sharma, an independent food and trade policy analyst.
In our Euphoria about the various Urban developments, somewhere along the line, the hands that feed us, the hands we owe everything to – the farming community in India, lie forgotten. This does not reach the awareness of Social Media, which is busy extolling the virtues of Urban Development and the various and admittedly excellent steps undertaken by this Government in its tenure so far. The reality of the farming scene is  not even on the radar of Urban India.
Furthermore, the other side of the story lies forgotten. I had noted categorically in my budget analysis last year, and I quote : And then, you expect the states to implement what is in essence a centrally thought plan. While the plan to devolve to states is laudable, there is a dire need to pull up recalcitrant state governments.{ http://reflectionsvvk.blogspot.in/2015/03/is-this-government-on-wrong-path.html}
Note this article from The Indian Express, which corroborates and confirms my reading of the state of affairs:  “During the UPA regime, the Centre contributed 90% for the initiative while the state pitched in with another 10%. But following the Narendra Modi government’s decision to slash central assistance for most centrally sponsored schemes from April 1, 2015, the Centre’s share has gone down to 60%. A condition that this reduced share will be released only after states release the matching grant was also imposed. Given the fund squeeze in the state, officials admitted that funds earmarked for the scheme in 2015-16 have not been released to districts so far. The scheme is applicable in 33 out of the 36 districts in the state. With funding support drying up, it has now come to light that the societies have tapped into the unutilised development funds marked in 2014-15 for the farmer training initiative for meeting salaries of the staff. {Jan 7, 2016}
Farmers produce the food we eat; this is a fact. Their troubles should be on the forefront of the nations’ priorities; alongwith the needs of the Armed Forces. The proofs and reality given above bear mute testimony to two realities : one is the lack of awareness and churlish attitude of Urban India towards the farmers and rural India; and the other reality being the gap highlighted by the Indian Express article on the change in the method of operation of UPA vis-a-vis NDA, which is exactly what I had foretold long back. I am sure the Government will learn and take corrective measures {Note article from reuters}; question is – will we, the people, wake up and understand that it is the Rural India that requires our helping hand? That extolling Urban Developments alone does not suffice? Will the Urban Indian wake up? 

References : 

Book Review : This Unquiet Land

Published January 2, 2016 by vishalvkale

THIS UNQUIET LAND – STORIES FROM INDIA’S FAULT LINES
BY BARKHA DUTT

THE INTRODUCTION

Image result for This Unquiet Land Barkha DuttThis Unquiet Land is a book that stands out among all the other books I have read and reviewed on my blog, numbering more than a 120 at least. This is also a book that sets a narrative of India that is at complete variance to the one which the people of India would like to read which is that of a vibrant and fast growing India, an India that is on the road to its desired goals of Economic Growth and the promise of a future pregnant with positive developments and fast rapid emancipation of problems.

This is a book that looks at the dark side, the unsavoury stories and realities of India, a side that we would much rather ignore, or a side that we would much rather leave to our fervent hope that things will get better. This is a side of India that is best represented by “out of sight, out of mind”; a side dealt with looking the other way. This book is a book that is deep and dark in its narrative and tome – yet not depressing which is quite an achievement for the author, who has successfully taken on many a dark side of India.


THE AUTHOR’s NARRATIVE, AND THE LAYOUT OF THE BOOK

The book revolves around the author’s personal experiences through her extensive touring and exposure to India during the course of her long and eventful career. She has resorted to her experiences quite extensively; which brings me to the most significant disadvantage, or negative part of the book which lessens its impact by a wide margin : the lack of a proper annotation end-notes and bibliography alongwith precise dates of events.

There is a bibliography – but when you are penning such hard-hitting content, it is better to use in-page annotations, end-of-chapter endnotes or endnotes at the end with proper numbered references littered throughout the book. I would like to point the reader to other non-fiction books reviewed on my site – examples being Parag Tope with his seminal classic Operation Red Lotus; or Narendra Singh Sarila with his explosive Partition – The Untold Story. This would have elevated this book to the level of legendary stuff.

The author writes with transparent and unreserved passion with remarkable control over her language considering her depth of passion – which makes for fast as well as  absorbing reading; she is passionate about all topics she has covered – and it shows in her writing. This is a definite plus; the problem is in the layout of the content within each chapter. She has been fair and balanced for the most part; but a proper sequencing of the narrative and the points raised would have been welcome as it would have expanded its impact. A slightly more analytical approach, without compromising on the narrative tone, and a structured approach to each point would have been welcome; that said, I like it as it is. This is just a thought that could have made it more powerful.


THE CONTENT

The content is thought-provoking, and takes on Indian Society head on and in no uncertain terms. If anyone has been spared, I cant offhand think who, or what. There is no bias that I could detect {bar one – maybe two places, where I could also be mistaken}, and certainly a thorough hammering has been dealt out to each participant in the chosen topic regardless of the side the participant is one. Be it Women, or be it Society, or be it The Middle Class, or be it Kashmir, or be it Politics – everyone has been shredded.

Before I continue – just a disagreement on Nehru & Kashmir; I thought I detected a tone of blaming Nehru; I would like to point the author as well as the reader to the books reviewed on my blog, which are all authentic evidence-based books that tell a completely different story. Links of all books mentioned at the end of this review.

·       WOMEN : This is the chapter that every man should read. A hard-hitting and brutal chapter that takes your mind into a disturbed vacuum, factual and completely true so far as I could tell. Be it our treatment of and approach to the rape issue; or be it the issue of work versus family for women – you will find it all here. My only issue relates to the question of gender roles in Indian society, as my article argues. I look forward to the author’s views on that, if possible

·       THE COST OF WAR : This is the peice de resistance of the book, a chapter on her experiences in the Kargil War. You are left with wonder as you marvel at the courage shown by her and her staff, as well as the commitment and passion. This offers a very different look at the Kargil War, from the perspective of a civilian, rather than the look given by General VP Malik in his two books reviewed earlier. {Links below}
·       TERROR IN OUR TIME : This chapter deals with a wide spectrum of terrorism – related experiences. Vast in its scope and breadth, it gives a birds eye view of the terrorism challenge faced by India, including a short precise on the maoist challenge. The one problem here is the inclusion of the sporadic incidents of Hindu extremists; while these need mentioning in a chapter on terror, I felt that they could have been reduced to a half page, or one page – rather than the 2-odd pages they got.  Am I nitpicking? Perhaps I am; but smaller focus would have been more balanced. The main problem we are facing is different

·       IN THE NAME OF GOD : I don’t write on Religion – period. This is the red line I will not cross. That said, I highly recommend this chapter – without giving my views on it, I may have liked it, I may have hated it. My views on this remain sacrosanct, and in my mind. I have a determined policy to not write anything on Religion, after my last 2 articles on this. {Links at the end}.
o   My only comment – the identification of the colonial factor as being one of the causes of the conflict we are facing {page 129} is somewhat accurate; though not completely so. The origin of this sectarianism cannot be understood unless you understand the changes that took place right from 1700AD, as I argue in my secularism series {Links below}. This is something that I still haven’t fully understood despite reading a full 28 books on this – all pedigreed, maybe more. {PS : Not all are reviewed on my blog – some will not reach my blog, as the content is either explosive or the book is too hard to review, like Jinnah or Experiments}
o   There were always 3 players – The Muslims, The Sanaatan Dharmis {Hinduism is not the name of our religion; the only name we can give it is Sanaatan Dharm} and The British. What we see today has its origins in the three societies and their delicate interplay, and is not so simplistic. For more, click links at the end.

·       KASHMIR : Read the book for this chapter alone, and with an open mind. You will be the richer for the experience. This seminal chapter is an excellent kaleidoscope of personal experiences at the tragedy that is Kashmir wedded with a short look at the history of the state during Independent India, making for enthralling reading. What is specially noteworthy is that our mistakes have been thoroughly analysed, making for a highly disturbing but thought provoking read
o   That said, this is the one chapter where I have two disagreements: Nehru – whose role has been revealed in the classic book by NS Sarila {ADC to Mountbatten} which reveals the true story basis original documents – with proof and extensive references –  from the archival records of three nations. {Link below; suffice it to state that I thank God for sending Panditji to us as an Indian}.
o   The other disagreement I have is in the detailing of the tragic stories of excesses by security forces. I don’t object to them being aired; we are a democracy – and these excesses should be aired. The problem is that in analysing the mistakes we committed, I felt that a greater sense of balance was  needed in clarifying the foreign role and the Pakistani hand, as well as the loss of life due to it, which numbers in thousands. That said, she has looked at all sides of the picture to be honest

·       OF POLITICAL DYNASTS, JUGGERNAUTS & MAVERICKS : Loved this chapter – thought provoking, disturbing, blunt and to the point, with a hard hitting look at all political options, with no one being spared –whether Congress or BJP. This is a truly great read, as we get an inside look at the entire political brouhaha of modern India, as well as some pretty direct questions and searching examinations. AAP is the only party that gets away easy…

·       A SOCIETY IN FLUX : This is the chapter I loved the best, given that I have analysed almost the same in my article {The Great Indian Middle Class – Neither Middle Nor Class}. While I look at the aspect of corruption and selfishness of the Indian, the author has taken the middle classes and upper classes apart, torn them to shred in my opinion in this chapter – which is also the darkest and most disturbing chapter in the book with the graphic descriptions and horrors. A riveting yet darkly fascinating mirror to Indian Society….
o   The stark statement of the inequities in our society, the level of deprivation and the level of deplorable ignorance shown by us, the terrifying sceptre of poverty, or the shocking and ugly pusillanimous behaviour of us Indians has been ruthlessly exposed through real life incidents that will haunt you. Read the book to feel the same level of shock and disgust I felt…

CONCLUSION
In conclusion, I rate this book 4.5 stars –  am docking 0.5 stars for the reasons mentioned. It is a tour de force penned by a person with a vast experience cutting across a veritable kaleidoscope of situations – which bring a murmur of admiration to your lips at the sheer chutzpah, courage as well as her strength, given what life has exposed her to. At the end, you are left with a picture of India’s fault lines which need attending to, as well as an appreciation of the author. Could this book have been more balanced with a look at the positives? Yes – but then, it wouldn’t be a book on Indian Fault Lines-  and high time we Indians faced up to our challenges. Overall, an excellent book!

Are there disturbing elements in this book? Yes, there are. This is not your coffee table book; this is a hard look at the nation’s problems; could it be more balanced – yes; as I point out. But that does not mean we ignore it. A must read as per me…




REFERENCES AND SUGGESTED READINGS : 


Secularsim – Modern India and Pseudo Secularism {follow links for historical detailed persecpective}
In addition, there are over 26 books on Indian History reviewed on my blog; feel free to browse if interested

Book Review : The Indian Media Business – 4th Edition

Published August 8, 2015 by vishalvkale

The Indian Media Business 4th Edition  
ByVanita Kohli  Khandekar
This is the updated 4thedition of the Book “The Indian Media Business”; if you are a deep student of Indian Business / Indian Media, then don’t miss this updated edition; but if you have read the 3rd edition, and are not too serious about Business in India as a student or analyst, then you can give this a pass. This edition has many changes to it that warrants its listing as a separate book almost; these flesh out the previous material, and make for an interesting and absorbing read. There is a new introductory chapter in the beginning of the book, as well as an analytical section in each chapter, updated data and more relevant graphics, more relevant and updated regulations, changes and history, making it overall a far superior effort to the previous one
THE FUTURE OF INDIAN MEDIA – {Introduction}
This is a short, 3-4 page analysis of the trends in Indian Media, taking a look at investment, profitability, fragmentation, consumer trends and segmentation; and is replete with excellent supportive data on reach, growth in media, time spent, revenues, investment, Media Groups etc
·                   The constant comparison {or, to be more precise, examples of  and from} with the developed markets, throughout the book, seems premature and out of place for the Indian scenario. This is a significant downside of the book – although it does give interesting insights of the international scene. Since this concerns Media – differences in Economic Status, Culture, Stage Of Development of the Industry renders any comparative look irrelevant.
·                   The notation – the consistent western notations make no sense, as we are attuned to thinking in terms of Lakh and Crore; thus, notations in Million and Billion are, frankly, useless, and are a major strain os you struggle to compare with other numbers you have read, or place it in perspective with Indian Data. This is a major problem throughout the book.
·                   The value-judgement on segmentation along linguistic or cultural lines has been treated, in my opinion, in a dismissive fashion – when the reality could just as well be that this is what is actually firming cultural ties, preventing domination of one tongue, leading to deepening democracy and prevention of fissiparous tendencies In its own small way
PRINT : {The Indian Print Industries Death-Defying Growth will continue for some some}
The analysis on print is excellent, the objections notwithstanding; with a superb presentation of why Print is in no danger, and will continue strong in India. It also identifies the threat of corruption of content very accurately in a separate segment, which is top-class, alongwith the presented linkage to advertising revenues. It presents a complete overview of the entire print scenario spanning magazines as well as dailies, regulations, metrics, valuations, changing readership trends etc
·                   Again, Language Newspapers and Media has not got the attention it deserves; this book is largely focused on the English Media, although around 90% of the material is generic and applicable to Print in general, and extensive data for even language media has been presented. That said, the focus in terms of analysis, space in the book and interpretation is lacking
·                   To be fair, the author has herself identified this with an exemplary case study on Hindi Newspapers, with some tough questions, like the over-emphasis by advertisers on the English Media – leading to the question, are brands reaching the right consumers? More research is needed-  but there, we are absent in both universities and companies…
TELEVISION : {The Indian Television Market is finally coming into its own}
One of the best chapters of the book – exhaustive, detailed, comprehensive and spectacular in content as well as analysis.
·                   Virtually flawless in its entirety, with an excellent coverage of issues , though it does tend to, yet again, miss the chance of analyzing the rise of regional channels fully, as well as advertising revenues by language
·                   The preference, in my humble opinion, of pay revenues begets the question – is this model workable in India? Can all Indians pay high fees? What about the regulation? The identified problem of cartelization in the book advocates a more measured response, and that regulated pricing is the only way forward; in a limited competition, the risk of rising prices cannot be negated.
·                   Further, the comparison with developed markets is again premature, as the paying power of consumers is much lesser in India; the elitist focus on pay models, or the opinion on exclusive broadcast rights of national events comes across as being pro-Corporate; the Indian consumer cannot afford to pay for access that the focus on pay or exclusivity will inevitably bring
FILMS : {In its 100th year, Indian Cinema look young, fit, and with it}
An excellent chapter, which identifies trends and developments that will surprise the reader; this is a chapter that is riveting and well presented, with several deep learnings and take-aways
·                   Again the comparison with Developed Markets! How can you compare ticket prices across India and the USA? What about the difference in purchasing power?Are we reaching all audiences? Can the poor afford your multiplexes? The pay models? Don’t they have a right to fun?What about developing alternative models for them, and not just in films? Cant some out-of-the-box thinking create a market out of that?
·                   “underworld money – industry is absolutely clean” : on what basis? No proof presented…
·                   The fragmentation of the market between NRI preferences and Resident Indian Preferences, local and regional preference variation elevates this chapter to the stuff of legend, with proof; as is the divide between A and B class cities in India.
MUSIC : {The music industry best symbolizes the possibilities and perils of digital}
The story of how an industry can adjust, revive and ride to glory, overcoming all converting challenges into opportunities… The story of music is, in the words of the author herself, is  “that digital can really trouble you, disrupt your business and make life miserable for you, but if you can harness it, it can still deliver”. That about sums it up; all other industries can learn from this excellent chapter! The big surprise of the chapter is the fact that of the Music Industry’s  Rs. 1060 Crore sales  in 2012, 60% came from new formats or non-physical sales.
·                   A flawless in its entirety, I could not find anything out of place in this entire chapter; which is replete with facts, is free from any assumptions unlike the previous ones…
RADIO : {The Radio business really needs to move on}
Yet another thought-provoking chapter, this goes deep into the Radio mess, looking at all issues relating to the current mess, from license fees to roll-out to content to localization in a very well-crafted chapter. The main take-away from the chapter is a superb detailed analysis of the Licensing norms and process, and a small examination of how decision paralysis is impacting the industry and spectrum both. That said, this chapter could have been better :
·                   Focus on content, especially localized content, could have been greater; while it is true that localization has, for the first time in the book,  got adequate space, the focus in not on the nature, language, content of the programmes; that could have been attempted. Content is the product – not radio; further, how will radio fare against Saavn, Hungama etc? How can FM differentiate and make itself more relevant? This I missed in the chapter
·                   A small notation : radio, with its relative ease of setting up, needs regulation more than most, imho : due to security considerations primarily, I don’t think this can be argued with
DIGITAL : { Stop, take a breath, Digital. Think about where you are headed }
A fantastic and deep look at the current status of digital and telecom, and emphasizes the felt need for a re-look, a re-think and the requirement of a sense of direction. The prologue successfully tackles the belief that Digital is a panacea in a sharp 5-6 page critical analysis, proving that it is anything but a panacea and a utopian ideal, using data, facts and figures to make its point. This one is a genuine surprise in some parts. It deals with convergence, fragmentation, ROI, Scale, Consolidation in a few behemoths, that no one is trying to grow the medium strategically and that there exist huge errors in companies in this field,
·                   I will just paraphrase the author here for emphasis : I cannot put it better. “This chapter then is an attempt to create a structure around all the forms of media emerging as a result of the affairs and marriages between old and new formats, between technology and content, between the medium and the message. It collapses the two old chapters on Internet and Telecom into one overarching one”. Top stuff- convergence is the future!
OUT-OF-HOME { The similarities between out of home media and cable TV are startling } & EVENTS { Everything is an event }
The last two chapters deal with the underdogs in media – out of home, and events. These two are deeply interesting, as for the first time, adequate attention has been paid to these two step-daughters of Media, given their historical treatment by us not from the Media trade at least. As in the rest of the chapters, everything from valuation, regulation, how the business works, history to current issues and major players to growth challenges have been covered in detail, making for a most absorbing read! The only miss is that the out-of-home completely ignores {apart from one mention in a table} Wall-Paintings, which were the mainstay in rural India; one can still spot these wall-paintings.
CONCLUSION
The book is a one-of-a-kind, placing in one place regulations, business internal, valuations, metrics, history, operation, challenges, issues, current operational methods,  – making it a top-notch resource if you want to have a overall understanding of the Indian Media business, as well as a starting point for deep studies. Reading this gives one a comprehensive idea of the trade in at least the basics. A must read for everyone in  Marketing, to be honest.
The book is good at tracing the genesis on each industry right to its beginnings, studying the interplay of market forces and regulations, also interventions, that lead to the current state of affairs – giving deep insights into both market forces as well as the good side of regulation & the perils of over-regulation. It identifies burning issues like Consolidation, content corruption, regulatory hurdles while also going deep into the genesis of some of these issues, while also examining how these industries actually operate, making this book a unique resource, and easily one of the best Business Books I have read.  

Book Review : The Indian Media Business {3rd Ed.}

Published May 9, 2015 by vishalvkale


BOOK REVIEW : THE INDIAN MEDIA BUSINESS

BY : VANITA KOHLI-KHANDEKAR






Image result for the indian media business vanita kohli 3rd edition


ABOUT THE AUTHOR : 
Vanita Kohli-Khandekar is a media specialist and writer. She has been tracking the Indian media and entertainment business for over a decade. Currently she is a columnist and writer for Business Standard and Mid-Day. Her earlier stints include one at Businessworld and Ernst & Young. A Cambridge University fellow (2000), Vanita teaches at some of the top communication schools in India.
THE BOOK
The book is, in simple terms, a reference book on the entire Media Landscape of India; at the same time, it is also a book that teaches you the basics of the game, and then proceeds to take you into the inner working and nut&bolts of this industry and all its constituent sectors. It traces the development of each sector right from its beginnings, right from the start, and develops right upto the present time. It furthermore  also covers regulatory and legal aspects of the business, making it a one-step guide to this industry, and a must read for anyone even remotely connected with Indian Business in any function; more so for Sales and Marketing Professionals, for whom this should be required reading. 
It devotes one chapter on each sector of the Media Business – Print, Television, Film, Music, Radio, Telecommunications, Internet, Out-of-Home, and Events. Within these chapters, the book uses a standard layout for all chapters: introducing the industry, a brief but powerfully hitting strategic summary, then tracing the entire industry from its origins to the modern day {till 2009, when the book was penned}; as well as its operational realities & how the business works, topping it off with a reasonably thorough look at the regulatory history as well as current landscape of each sector. After this data supported {extensively data supported, may I add} portion, we are treated to Case Studies from India and the World, which are very relevant and pertinent. All in all, a complete reference guide for the Indian Media Business!
THE REVIEW
First of all, the content is a bit dated – there is an updated version now available, which is recommended for purchase.  {I shall be reviewing that as well on my website}. But that apart, there is almost nothing that is bad, or even debatable, or even far-fetched. This is a superb book that is factual, data supported and full of  pertinent information for the interested reader.
1.  Print Media : “The Indian Print Business Is In The Best Years Of Its Evolution” The book starts with the Print Media, and packs a surprise right on the first page for the uninitiated – India is one of the fastest growing newspaper markets in the world. I liked 2 things in this chapter : one, content quality and corruption / issues and challenges – which she has taken head-on in no uncertain terms; and the other the short and succinct analysis of why Print is not likely to fade in India
2.   Television : “The Market Will Remain About Broadcasting For Very Long” This is a rather detailed chapter, which could have been better, in my opinion – but the author was constrained by having to cover all points as per the chapter layout planned for each sector. My main take-away – the rise of the Regional Channels in the industry, as well as the advertising section. The rise of regional channels leaves you wanting to know more, which is only a tantalizing glimpse in the book!
3.  Films : “There Has Never Been A Better Time To Be In The Movie Business” Most of us know zilch about this sector and how it operates. Well, you’ve got the right book for understanding this segment; the piece de resistance of the book for me – along with the Out-Of-Home segment. Here again we run into the rise of the regional cinema, in a short tantalizing look; confirming that there is a case for the Author to devote more space to the regional language media, whose rise does feature, but gets drowned in the other stuff. That apart, this chapter offers a complete understanding of the business of Movies from content to distribution, attendant risks, challenges and issues – which will not be found anywhere else as far as I am aware.
4.  Music : “The Music Industry Is Finally Enjoying The Growth Possibilities Created By New Media” This is the one single chapter I look forward to reading in the new edition… that should sum it up. No further comments here!
5.  Radio :  “The Radio Business Needs To Move On To The Next Stage” The second take-away from the book; the unsung Medium in the Indian Media story, which is normally dominated by Television and Print in the Media. This chapter has the Author in her element, as she goes about tracing the challenges and pluses, which are reasonably well covered. Again, in the opening strategy section, we get a glimpse of deep insight as the author notes with pain the absence of true localization in the content – leaving the reader with a sigh of dissatisfaction, at the prospect of having a more analytical look into this Medium… let us see if the next edition is upto the mark in this
6.  Telecommunications : “Telecom’s Ability To Master The Media Business Will Depend On Its Flexibility” So much has changed, that it would be futile to go into this here. Suffice it to say that the chapter gives you a hold on this industry {unfortunately my industry L }, its basics and its history. And yes, its regulatory mess.
7.  The Internet : “The Coming Years Will Be Tough For The Internet As A Medium” Written in 2009, current 2015, look above in point no 6. Repeat most part here. Enough said; will look in the review of the current edition!
8.  Out Of Home : “The Similarities Between Out Of Home and Cable TV Are Startling” This is the chapter, this is the sole reason you should read the book… the least understood and most brutal area of Media. And one of the most ubiquitous in terms of customer interaction points. The chapter takes you deep into this business, into its growth, its unregulated and fragmented mess, its potential as well as engaging case studies of how a growing economy of the 90s onwards created both a mess as well as space and opportunities.  
9.  Events : “Everything is an Event” – again, an updated edition is sure to have more masala as events have now grown quite a bit into various streams and industries, so passing up any comment here. Repeat points 5 and 6 here, in short – understand the basics of the business!
SUMMARY
In short, I can say truthfully that this is a primer book; one that gives the reader a thorough and painstaking look at the constituent factors and operational realities, challenges, regulations and history of each Media segment. The sad part is that it could have done all that, and gone into greater detail on some strategic aspects, which I shall cover after reading the updated edition – perhaps they will find justice in the new edition! All in all, a vital and important contribution to the literature on Indian Media!