REEL MARKETER: Thanks for sitting down to do the interview, Shurajit! Tell us a bit about who you are, where you are from, and where you are now and what you do!
SHURAJIT GOPAL: Thank you! It is a pleasure to be here with you! I am from Chennai, the old name is Madras, in Tamil Nadu state, which is one of the four southern states of India. I have been a media specialist for the past 25 years in various capacities. After graduating with a Master’s degree in Mass Communication from the University of Madras, I worked as an Audio Visual Coordinator with the Audio Visual Research Centre at Anna University, Chennai where I was a Cameraman, Editor and Producer of Educational Programs for the University Grants Commission (UGC) of India. Side by side, I was also a bilingual broadcaster with All India Radio (AIR), Madras presenting English and Tamil programs.
I then moved to Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) in New Delhi as a Lecturer in Mass Communication where I continued to produce Educational TV Programs for the Schools of Management, Mathematics, Information Technology and Library Science. After 9 years at IGNOU, I became a Consultant for Satellite Television. As one among the team of principal consultants, I have launched four satellite television stations in India and one in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. After all those years of rich in-the-field experience, I came to North Greenville University in Tigerville, South Carolina and have been teaching Mass Communication courses like Media Technology and Video Production since Fall 2001.
YouTube broke the video barrier for online video, but it started out as chiefly an entertainment portal. Shur, compared to print advertising, and even web advertising, in your professional opinion, is web video-marketing a viable and mature medium that can be taken seriously now?
SHURAJIT GOPAL: Absolutely, Chris. I believe so. YouTube was a successful starter to the game of Internet video-casting. It paved the way. We are already seeing great advancements in Internet TV broadcasting. I got rid of my cable TV service two years ago and I already watch several television channels through the broadband Internet connection that I subscribe to. I even watch live TV channels from India and several other countries! That also includes free Internet video-casting websites that survive on revenue from running web video commercials during the web videocast. Did you know that one can start their own web-based TV station using websites like www.ustream.tv? You don’t have to pay for the service. Just sign up for an account for free and start broadcasting! Ustream.tv will run commercials at periodic intervals to generate their revenue to sustain and run their service! And, many like me do end up watching all those web marketing commercials as we watch the programming there!
Generally, is the video marketing market’s demand that many of your media-centric grads are entering growing and developing?
SHURAJIT GOPAL: Video marketing markets are definitely looking for well trained video professionals who can produce those catchy and effective commercials to market all kinds of products and services. A lot of graduates of mass communication and broadcast media are already starting their own companies and entering into this new hot field. It is a new field with a lot of opportunities of unimaginable potential out there and the young media professionals have already started making hay while the sun shines!
Could you please explain how an organization you’ve observed/worked with/at used video successfully, and what that looked like.
SHURAJIT GOPAL: Now, this is really a very difficult question to answer. It all depends on situation to situation. One one will ever be able to give you a definitive fixed thumb rule of dos and don’ts. All I can say is that one needs to be very imaginative, creative and adept in customizing ideas and methods to suit a particular situation. What proves to be a hit in one situation may prove to be very unsuccessful in another situation!
What critical factors made this organization’s use of video marketing a success? What did they do ‘right’?
SHURAJIT GOPAL: It all depends on how ingenious one is in order to survive successfully in this competitive world!
What is your prediction for the growth/change of online video marketing for the coming decade? Are there any trends or developments that you feel may make an appearance that we can point to you and say “he said it first”?
SHURAJIT GOPAL: I think that online video marketing is slowly going to become interactive letting the audience interact with the web video advertisements. This is something that we may see happening in the near future. I am thinking of interactivity mainly because the audience always likes to engage themselves in any kind of content when they are able to dictate, impact or control it. On the other hand, we need to remember that brands drive the online video marketing. They can even push these videos to ridiculously unimaginable heights. So, what we see the best brands do with online video marketing this year may be what we will likely be doing the next year!
In your opinion, what is a common misstep you see many organizations using video making that could easily be corrected?
SHURAJIT GOPAL: Well, I would say “the viral approach”! While the viral videos did make a big hit when they came into the Internet, that charm has almost been waning away now. But I still see people taking that approach. Nothing lasts for long and nothing lasts forever! People need to constantly come up with new ideas!
What advice would you give businesses considering using video marketing? Would you recommend they “do it themselves” or hire a professional, be it be a graduate of media studies or perhaps production house?
SHURAJIT GOPAL: Definitely hire a trained person. I have seen in a couple of instances where people have tried to do it all by themselves cutting corners in their budgets, and ultimately coming up with pathetic amateur video productions. Quality is directly proportional to what you pay for!
Given you’re working with the latest technology and your grads are up-to-date and in the know, what changes would you recommend for production houses make to catch up with trends?
SHURAJIT GOPAL: First of all, we need to admit that the younger generation do come up with some unbelievably awesome ideas, which we need to value and accept. Hiring a well trained graduate in media can go a long way in coming up with some of the most innovative online marketing videos that you can ever think of!
Thank you for your valuable insight Shur! Is there anything else you would like to share?
SHURAJIT GOPAL: Thank you so much, Chris. Thanks for having me for this interview.
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