Data is the Oil of the 21st Century; it should be treated as a Profit Centre by Digital Media platforms also

Data is the Oil of the 21st Century; it should be treated as a Profit Centre by Digital Media platforms also

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At a Nasscom Leadership Forum, RIL Chairman Mukesh Ambani, who is betting big on data-driven telecom with his Jio Infocomm, described the digital play sweeping the world as the fourth industrial revolution and said data is the “new oil”. 

“The foundation of the fourth industrial revolution is connectivity and data. Data is the new natural resource. We are at the beginning of an era where data is the new oil,” Mr. Ambani said at the Nasscom leadership forum.

What has changed? The growing internet base catapulted by the increasing penetration of smart mobile phones and lower data cost, transformed by the Reliance Jio Phenomenon, has changed the overall digital landscape. Data is abundant, and every one today uses data more liberally. Consumers in Tier 2/ 3 cities are as much in the race as their counterparts in the metros. Smartphone penetration is expected to touch 500 million connected users by 2020, as they become increasingly cost effective.

In 2011, India had 100 million users – we are at 325 million total users today; industry experts opines that by 2020 India can expect to have 650 million internet users.

Whether you are going for a run, watching TV or even just sitting in traffic, virtually every activity creates a digital trace—more raw material for the data distilleries. That’s Big Data Analytics, and its time has come for sure! Brands want to uncover hidden patterns, unknown correlations, market trends, customer preferences and other useful information that can help them reach out to consumers in a ‘surgical strike’ type approach.

My sense is that digital companies must sooner than later begin treating data as an enterprise wide corporate asset while also managing the data locally within business units. Data has to be shared about products and customers – which provides opportunities to up sell, cross sell, offer costumed brand solutions and enhance revenue opportunities.

We have seen Centralized digital content rooms come up; time is ripe now for a adopting the idea of Centralized Data Room that increases synergistic interdependence amongst business units and enhances monetization opportunities for digital publishers.


Raktim Das

Raktim is a strategy and business development professional with over 20 years TV, Print & Digital media experience in leadership roles with leading media organizations like Times Group, India Today Group, HT Media, Zee News Limited, NewsX and Network 18 Media. He can reached at

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