Though there isn't a textbook definition of a media company, it generally refers to platforms or entities that aggregate, package, and distribute content across mediums such as the internet, television, radio, etc. The successful brands we see today invest heavily in premium quality content to attract new customers and retain the existing ones. Media companies have a significant role to play in the prosperity of such brands.
With the passage of time, people have gradually shifted from the traditional forms of media to the digital ones. Consequently, media and everything related to it has become more widespread and fragmented. Consumers are now entitled to limitless content on the device of their choice rather than relying on newspapers and television. Websites, blogs, apps, and social media have opened up unforeseen avenues. It's safe to say that now is the best time to run a media company.
At the same time, the quest for consumer’s attention has become brutal and requires new strategies and capabilities. Hence, starting a media company is no piece of cake and requires intensive preparation and planning. This StartupTalky post discusses everything you need to know about launching a media company of your own.
The Indian Media Industry
The Indian media industry is an emanating sector for the economy and is making great strides. Backed by rising consumer demand and improved advertising earnings, the sector is at an all-time high. The growth in the media segment can be attributed to widespread digitization and increased internet usage over the last decade.
The Indian advertising industry is estimated to be the second-fastest growing advertising market in Asia after China. At present, advertising revenue accounts for around 0.38 per cent of India’s GDP. Growing at a CAGR of 10.90 per cent since FY17-18, the media industry is projected to grow at a CAGR of 13.10 per cent and touch INR 2,660.20 billion (US$ 39.68 billion) by FY 2023. That's a significant jump from its valuation at INR 1,436.00 billion (US$ 22.28 billion) in FY18.
Consumption of media by India grew at a CAGR of 9 per cent during 2012-18, almost nine times that of the US and two times that of China. The industry provided employment to 3.5-4 million people (both direct and indirect employment considered) in the year 2017.
Revenue through advertising is projected to reach INR 1,232.70 billion (US$ 18.39 billion) in FY23. It was INR 608.30 billion (US$ 9.44 billion) in FY18.
How To Start A Media Company
With so much content everywhere, it’s a cumbersome task to start a media company that stands out among the rest. There is a no dearth of creators and platforms. But the sunny side to the story is that content is worth so much more than it ever was, and the umpteen number of platforms add to the advantage. Here are some key points you need to be aware of if you plan to start a media company.
- Recognize your audience. It’s crucial to know who are you focusing on and why. The passion of the crowd, its views on issues, the topics that bring out strong reactions...you need to know a bit of everything about them.
- Understand your value. Figure out what makes you and your service unique. Convey that message to your audience. Your core values should be propagated through your services .
- Be ambitious and let people know about it. Big projects grab attention. Staying in the news helps raise your stakes.
- Offer a membership model. An audience which feels you speak for them ought to support you. Get them involved in the editorial policy or equity crowdfunding. Make them a part of your company by offering memberships.
- Use third party services to bring high value adverts to your base. You now know about the products your audience likes and wants to buy. Collaborate with a third party native advertising company and have it create content for you while you get paid for hosting that content.
- Leverage affiliate marketing. When you’re promoting someone's product or service, be direct and tell your audience to buy it through a special 'affiliate link'. Affiliate marketing is a great way to generate income.
- Start a YouTube channel. Re-purpose your article into a video. Publicize your video content across video-sharing platforms like YouTube. You won’t immediately rake in money from YouTube; give it some time. As people discover your videos, you will gain popularity as well as monetary success.
- Ensure your content is unambiguous and meaningful. Cringe content won't take you far. Your audience will leave as soon as you start compromising on quality. Give the reader a reason to click on the next article of yours.
Registration And Licensing
1. Single-man firm with unlimited liabilities.
The simplest way to start a business is to open a current bank account and have your service tax registration done. Sole proprietorship is preferred for startups with lower budgets.
2. Partnership firm.
At least two individuals are required to start a partnership firm. You need a registered partnership deed along with a current bank account and service tax registration. A partnership firm is appropriate when the partners have a common vision and are willing to share profits.
3. Private limited company.
A private limited company needs to at least two directors with a minimum investment of INR 1 lakh. It’s best for startups seeking funds from investors.
4. Limited liability partnership.
It is the combination of private limited company and partnership firm. You need at least 2 partners. A limited liability partnership has more agreement requirements when compared to an ordinary partnership firm. This setup is ideal when your budget is less than INR 10,000 and you want to enjoy the perks of setting up a company.
5. One person company.
It is similar to a private limited company but comprises only one person.
Legal Procedure Behind Launching An Online Media Company
- Register the domain name.
Get a unique domain name for the media company by paying the registration fee. One needs to submit valid address and ID proofs.
- Get the federal tax ID number.
This process distinguishes your media company as a separate legal entity. You need to get a federal tax ID number from the Indian Revenue Services (IRS). IRS keeps a track of your business transactions using this ID.
- VAT/Service tax.
A company must apply VAT to its products and pay taxes to the government for services.
- Memorandum of understanding with vendors/contractors.
Be precise when drafting the 'memorandum of understanding' with your vendors/contractors so as to prevent forged services. The process may give rise to legal issues so you need to be careful while contracting. Add a disclaimer to your services/products to protect yourself from legal liabilities.
- Investment in cyber security.
Invest in cyber security to safeguard your customers’ financial transactions. Failure to protect customers’ data can cost you up to INR 5 crores in penalty.
- Trade mark registration.
Registration of trademark is important for web-based/online businesses.
- Website terms & conditions.
- Vendor agreement.
Draft an agreement by enlisting requirements such as payment policy, refund, and the taxes applied to the services/products from vendors.
Growth Aspects And Conlusion
According to KPMG India’s 11th edition of its Media and Entertainment (M&E) report:
- The media industry in India has marked a size of INR 1,63,100 crores in FY19.
- It posted a growth of 13% as well as a stunning CAGR of 11.5% cent over the period FY15-FY19.
- The media segment is expected to post a CAGR of 13.5% over FY19-FY24 to reach a size of INR 3,07,000 crores in FY24.
The Indian media industry is on an impressive growth trajectory. It is expected to grow at a much faster rate than the global average rate. Now is the right time to leverage the prospects of the media segment and launch your media company.