Do Publishers respect Abby?

By | February 3, 2016

I hope the answer is a resounding ‘Yes’. But hope means nothing. It is the result that counts.
The experience of the first two years points in another direction.

In 2014, Goafest added ‘Publisher and Broadcaster Abby’.
I was one of the many winners in 2014 and part of the jury in 2015. Hence, this stupid-sounding question.

The numbers of entries went up in the two years. I sincerely believe it is not even a token reflection of the quantum and quality of good work done by media (Publishers) brands. Last year, I was surprised that many of the good works were not even entered. More so, sitting in Mumbai, I am privy to just the tip of the iceberg. There is huge amount of good work by regional media brands in their territories and with the target audience that makes them.

It is difficult to fathom the reason that kept brands like Malayala Manorama, Eenadu, Hindu, Sakal, Punjab Kesari, ABP and even Rajasthan Patrika away from Abby?

Suddenly for no reason, Abby seemed skewed in favour of TOI (Include Gujarati Samay, Mumbai Mirror), Dainik Bhaskar (Include Divya Marathi and Divya Bhaskar), Dainik Jagran, HT (Include Hindustan) and Chitralekha, the brands that repeatedly walked to collect their trophies.

If you take my word, there is a need for participation in Publisher Abby to hit new heights. The winning list shows a complete absence of magazines other than Chitralekha and Forbes.

You will agree that there is award-worthy work happening in print – both newspaper and magazine in offline and online space. You will also agree that the entry fee cannot be a deterrent. Then what can explain the low turnout?

Were the brand custodians and the marketing departments unaware of the new categories and entry deadlines? Tough to believe. Media houses have a huge delegate presence in Goafest and for that matter any industry event in or out of country. Media houses are also sponsors of industry events. Goafest makes enough noise in agencies and media about process and deadlines.

May be by the time they realised the entry date was over. So, why wait this year. Why wait for call for entries. Publishers would do themselves good by evaluating their work and shortlisting what they will like t enter. Take the time to get the details like strategy, objective, results and supporting documents in place. Get internal in-principle approvals. Ask your creative agencies to help prepare the entries. Then just wait for the announcement at www.goafest.com.

Screen Shot 2016-02-03 at 3.30.46 pmMay be they do not lack work and effort but the art and skill of sending entries. Possible. Very much possible. In that case, visit the Goafest site. The instructions are clear. Ask your creative agency to help. Additionally if any media brands need help and guidance, I am more than willing to help.

The print pressure on revenue and the shift in the media weights have impacted the internal thought process. The awards are something that are not considered worth – till they are for circulation and or editorial. Maybe the publications should think again. Goafest provides an additional window to showcase the brand- its work- and attitude. ‘Best front cover’, ‘Best front page’, ‘Use of activation’, ‘Use of digital and mobile’, ‘Best brand innovation’, ‘Newspaper marketing. and ‘Cause ( CSR) related initiatives’ have been some of the categories where media houses won awards. Maybe there is a need to add Abby for ‘Best circulation drive’, ‘Best photography’ & ‘Best use of typography – illustration and infographics’. (sorry, I missed suggesting these in my earlier notings)

Deciding the right categories to enter is one of the most important decisions. Good work will find itself eligible for more than one category. Enter it in all relevant categories. Make that extra effort to ensure right filing of form and providing quality supporting.

‘Only Big Brands Win’ syndrome. They suspect a cartel, where none exist. They are not wrong to be influenced and think so. The industry has always been full of such rumours. I suggest: kill the naysayers. I can vouch with my experience of the publisher Jury, judging is absolutely impartial. Each entry is judged on its merit.

The award categories are not relevant. Nothing can be further from the truth. But what is possible is that the editorial- marketing- circulation volatile triangle in publications does not work in sync. The internal fights and claim for credit unnecessarily affect this process of award entries. This leads to non-ownership is really missing.

One would want to see a multiple rise in number of entries at Publisher Abby and many more awards won. But remember even god cannot help you win a lottery (which Abby is not) if you do not buy the ticket.

Three cheers to Goafest 2016 and the Publisher Abby.

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