June 22, 2024

Digitisation is Revolutionising Content, say Top Media Leaders at the ABLF Talks

 Digitisation is Revolutionising Content, say Top Media Leaders at the ABLF Talks

The 17th edition of the monthly leadership series saw industry veterans from IBM, Pepsico and global media organisations share their perspectives on tech-enabled strategies to meet pandemic challenges

Dubai, UAE, 13 February, 2022: 

Increasing digitisation of media has changed the end-consumer’s perception and consumption of news forever, especially in the wake of the pandemic. Organisations, therefore, need to be in touch with their users’ needs more than ever before, said leaders of top media organisations in the region, at a riveting panel discussion on ‘Digitisation of Media: Challenges and Opportunities’ at the 17th edition of the ABLF Talks.

Held at the Dubai Cares Pavilion, Expo 2020 Dubai, under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan, UAE Minister of Tolerance and Coexistence and in partnership with the UAE Ministry of Economy and Dubai Cares, a UAE-based global philanthropic organization, this month’s edition of the Talks focused on the massive impact of technology on the strategies adopted by companies to overcome the pandemic-related challenges.

The conclave began with Saad Toma, General Manager, MEA, IBM throwing light on the tech-giant’s role in the creation and adoption of cutting-edge technology like quantum computing, hybrid cloud and AI in the digital transformation journey of companies and communities.  “A lot of data today is surprisingly underutilised which offers an opportunity waiting to be explored,” said Toma elaborating on how AI will aid this process to become more efficient. “However, this needs to be done ethically which is the focus of IBM’s initiatives in key markets,” he said.

With the pandemic spotlighting sustainability, organisations like PepisCo have been quick to embrace practises that leave a positive impact on their consumers as well as the community at large. Aamer Sheikh, CEO, Middle East Business Unit, PepsiCo, listed some of these measures that included moving away from usage of virgin plastic in favour of infinitely recyclable material like aluminium and glass as well as initiating the Greenhouse Accelerator Program, to name just two of them. “We have tried to be more people-centric, consumer-centric and customer-centric,” said Aamer emphasising the importance of agility in decision-making as the key to cope with unprecedented circumstances. “Earlier, we had five, three and one-year plans but during a once-in-a-century crisis like this, we must be prepared to reinvent the business model and plan on a weekly basis,” he said. 

The highlight session was a panel discussion between media stalwarts where the impact of digitisation on content and revenue was discussed threadbare. Headlined by Alan Griffin, CEO, Khaleej Times, Mohammed Burhan, CEO, CNBC Arabia, Manoj Mathew, Executive Vice President and Territory Head, MENA, Turkey and Pakistan, Zee Network and Olivier Crespin, CEO & Co-founder, Zand, the session drew attention to the changing shape of news, the role of AI in curating news, effect of social media on credibility of information as well as new-age revenue models. “Storytelling will evolve in many ways but we should know our audience in order to drive the business model forward,” said Alan. Mohammed Burhan stressed on the need to change the media’s mindsets about reporting news while keeping abreast of technology and sometimes, even ahead of it. “This is the day and age of integrated journalism,” he concluded. 

Talking about revenue models that had been greatly affected by the pandemic, Manoj Mathew pointed out the dichotomy between increased content consumption but decreased advertising revenue. The way out, according to him, was to adopt a subscription model where people paid for what they read and watched. “With advertising revenue just contributing to about 30 per cent, subscription models are more viable to drive bottom lines. But doing so requires the creation of quality content.”

Giving a financial industry perspective to the digitisation debate, Olivier Crespin drew parallels between the impact of digitization on the media and banking sector. “Media is important when educating the masses on financial literacy to increase financial inclusion,” said Olivier, adding that the two important things that will revolutionise both industries in the near future will be crypto and smart contracts.

The ABLF Talks sessions are available to view on www.ablf.com and the finale edition of the monthly leadership series will be held in March.