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The latest Chai Talk: Top tips to start an owned media platform

At the latest PRmoment Chai Talk, in partnership with Weber Shandwick India, speakers discussed the future of PR 4.0 and its focus around owned content.

The panel consisted of:

  • Tuhina Pandey, communications leader - IBM Global Digital Sales and India & South Asia
  • Karan Bhujbal, communications lead, Instagram India 
  • Senjam Raj Shekhar, global communications lead- Mobile Premier League (MPL)

The topic kicked off with an introduction from Karan Bhandari, MD, Integrated Media Strategy, Weber Shandwick India who said, "The definition of omni channel has continued to expand due to digital and now the metaverse, and it will keep on doing so in the next foreseeable years. So, literally, what we're trying to get down into is the stretch between the web 1.2 to the web 4.2. So from the old to the new, channels are literally having their own spaces, their own forms, and continuing to evolve, but still serving a purpose and having a specific outreach to specific audience for a very specific action."

The rise of the corporate journalist 

A quick audience poll that PRmoment ran during the panel discussion threw up interesting results. The preference for owned media as a channel to invest PR resources in was nearly as high as that for earned media with low interest in paid media.

Commenting in this trend, Tuhina Pandey, communications leader - IBM Global Digital Sales and India & South Asia said, " The newsroom is happening simply because not just the fact that you are a publisher. But you're a publisher with a deadline. And you have a crisis and reputation management, you have a point of view, you have a news cycle that you want to respond to. And all that has to happen in a quick base. So all of us in that sense, are corporate journalists."

The discussion then moved to the Flipkart stories experience, probably the first home grown, storytelling owned media property by a major brand.

Senjam Raj Shekhar, global communication lead for MPL, who was at the forefront of Flipkart Stories when it started in the mid 2010s decade, said, "The brief to the team was that you will go and find stories. Now it's very easy to set up a storytelling platform because you own the platform. But, why will people come there?  Your stories need to have all elements of stories they need to have conflict they need to have some kind of you know, drama all of that must happen and how do you make an E commerce company interesting? 

When we started looking at the looking at the data and found that a lot of people from Jhumri Telaiya were buying jeans amd  mobile phones, we actually went there for 3 days and filed stories on that."

Shekhar shared that a proper storytelling approach combined with SEO planning led to organic traffic of half a million to 1 million visitors for Flipkart Stories.

Shekaar also shared MPL's recent experience with creating expert owned content, "When we launched our Olympics campaign last year, we approached a sports website called the Bridge, which actually does a lot of Olympic sports to actually create content for us. Similarly, we wanted, you know, people to know about stories beyond our athletes. And we approached this platform called 'Humans of Bombay', who are well known for doing you know, humanised kind of story to do to do stories for us."

The intersection of branded, owned content and short form video

Branded short form video is increasingly on the rise, with regional influencers riding the trend as well.

Karan Bhujbal, communications lead, Instagram India, thinks it's become very clear that increasingly short form is the way people like to consume content. 

He adds, "But when it comes to brands, I think the core, you know, the core core way to think about it is that think, as a content creator, to be honest. And think what's the way in which you can entertain audiences using this, you know, short form format. I think that's the way in which you operate it. For instance, we did a we did a campaign with Spotify around Holi last year, where, you know, they worked with a number of influencers to drive traffic to a particular Holi playlist they had and that grey gave that playlist, a big boost around a topical day for them. So there are, you know, business results."

Watch the full discussion here for tips to start an owned media platform:

PRmoment Chai Talk 2022, in partnership with Weber Shandwick India 

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