By Shree Lahiri
Shankar B, CEO of Fourth Dimension Media Solutions Private Limited, talks of digital overshadowing television in the media space, need for qualitative measurement in the domain and survival of the 30-second TVC…
Shankar B recently quit Ignitee Digital Solutions to join Fourth Dimension Media Solutions Private Limited as Chief Executive Officer. In close to 18 years spent in the media sales domain, Shankar has worked for media brands such as Indian Express (Madurai), Turner International India, Hello FM and Network 18 Media’s E-18. The Chennaibased Fourth Dimension Media Solutions has already bagged the advertising sales for Tamil news channel Puthiya Thalaimurai TV, Puthiya Thalaimurai magazine and an FM station. The company will conceptualise and execute large format events and activations. It will also provide consultancy to E-18.
Here are excerpts from a conversation with Shankar:
You have had considerable experience in media sales. How has this space evolved over the years? What are the challenges posed to media sales in today’s fragmented media scenario?
Today, there is no qualitative measurement. It’s all quantitative. No one is willing to pay the price for quality, it is only quantity in media. With so many channels and a plethora of options available, I sometimes pity the planners and buyers. You need to be extremely peoplefriendly and innovative to be a succesful media sales person.
What are the must-have qualities for a professional in media sales?
Aggression with a little common sense, perseverance, being extremely innovative, people-friendly and above all, cheerful.
Is the 30-second TVC dying out, or will it continue for some more time?
The 30-seconds TVC can never die – it is here to stay. There are so many markets in the country today that still believe in television as the lead medium. Let me cite a small example here. During my tenure with E-18, when I sold events and sponsorships, clients had difficulty shelling out even Rs 5 lakh for events. This, when they happily put in Rs 50 lakh into advertising on a cluttered medium like television! Television still has its own charm and will continue to hold its own place.
At Fourth Dimension Media Solutions, what do you see as the key growth drivers for the company going forward?
I am extremely grateful to NewGeneration Media (brand owners of Puthiyathalaimurai TV and Puthiyathalaimurai magazine) for having reposed trust in Fourth Dimension Media Solutions as its clients. We are also speaking to various media houses in the country and are in the process of signing with a couple of them before Diwali. Currently, Fourth Dimension Media is a known entity in the market we also have a lot of media owners reaching out to us from the South and East. We are very clear that we will be a professional outfit based out of Chennai, where we feel there is a gap to fill. I have a fantastic team here headed by Bharath Viswanathan, COO, West headed by Thyagraj and South by Balakrishnan. We want to stabilise in the area of products we represent rather than being present everywhere. We need to do justice to our television brand first, and then look at expanding.
Could you elaborate on Fourth Dimension’s association with E-18?
We will sell their events and activations to clients nationally, and as per arrangement, distribute our revenues starting with Independence Rock and many more.
Do you see digital overshadowing television in terms of being an ad platform?
Definitely. Today, whatever events or activations we do, it has a digital leap, and if I may use the term, digital amplification.
What scope do you see for digital in the times ahead? Where is it headed?
Digital is here to stay and rule. But it will take time to rise to the top. Clients and advertisers have started taking it seriously. It is easily measured and pretty cost-effective too.
Since you have worked in both North and South markets, what are the differences you perceive between these two zones?
I feel South is more of a relationship market as language plays an important role here. In the North and West, relationships do matter, but it is more of number-crunching and then things falling in place.