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MCI in an interaction with Santosh K. Patra (Faculty at MICA) on the topic "Demonetisation and its impact on Media & Consumer Behaviour"

By : Guest on 15 December 2016 E-mail Comments     Print Print  Report Abuse

Our curiosity about the whole buzz in the media industry, consumer behaviour after the recent demonisation steps taken by PM Narendra Modi, made the Editorial team of MBAclubindia reach out to Santosh K.Patra from MICA, Ahmedabad.


Santosh K. Patra is a Faculty (Assistant Professor) at MICA, Ahmedabad, India and heads the Media and Entertainment Management Area. He holds a Ph.D. from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India. His teaching and research interest cuts across different subfields in social studies, which include digital sociology, self and cyberspace, media sociology and political economy of space. His basic orientation is rooted in sociological understanding of critical social inquiry. He can be reached at


Following is a crisp of his conversation with our Editor- Dipeeka Saboo on the topic “Demonetisation and its impact on Media & Consumer Behaviour”.


1. How did social media react to the whole of demonetisation issue?  What were your observations?


Social Media is like a diversified community emotion. As a community responds to any other issues and people take stands in terms of their belief, perception and ability to comprehend, social media witnessed similar reaction to the issues of demonetisation. However, the triggering issues such as the attachment to nationalism, national sentiment, terrorism and other political sentiments towards the PM consolidated the public opinion in social media. In the beginning, polarisation happened on whether “you are a demonetisation supporter” or “you are an anti-national”. However with time, because of some academicians and opinion leaders (Prabhat Patnaik, Arun Kumar etc.) comments, and conventional media outreach to the mass difficulties, the polarisation of opinion is gradually dispersing.


Nevertheless, there is still a strong sentiment with demonetisation in social media. The same continues to be associated with the strong sense of nationalism and a sense of pride to support demonetisation for the development of the country.Having said that I strongly believe demonetisation has never been treated as a political-economic decision in the present context. Rather it has been treated has 'holier than thou' phenomenon. The neo-tribe of social media treated it as a sacred religion issue and anything anti-religion is anti-community.


Though the contextual reality has something else to offer and people have started feeling the effect of the same (be it short term or long term) but it is still difficult to accept and express the same in public space like social media.     


2. With the latest Demonetisation issue, how has the media adapted to it?


Media has adapted to it in two different ways. One being the effect on media and the other is effect by media. Effect on media is the adverse impact on advertisement spending and media is negotiating and struggling with same with a belief that this is only a short-term impact.


Second, the effect by media. Strangely, the conventional media has also responded quite similarly like the social media. Some bipolar opinion in the beginning and like the rest of the society, media has also started accepting and ignoring the issues or impact of demonetisation. Barring a few, all the media houses have started taking this as a national pride and the strongest decision by a leader. It has never gone beyond the ATM lines or bank queues of the tier I & II cities and some scattered stories of panics and death etc. I have never seen a responsible and investigative journalism on this issue. Neither has anyone talked about how the life of the population depends on informal economy nor, the life beyond the plastic money &its impact on day to day activities from livelihood to sustenance.


Media has also adapted to demonetisation like the middle class has. Both believe that the situation needs to be handled like a war.     




3. How is the consumer behaviour going to change after this? We see ourselves becoming more and more cashless. Is the trend going to continue, keeping in mind the intrinsic nature of Indian consumers to save for future?


Yes, the section of population has the capacity of being cashless but they have always preferred cash economy because of convenience and lesser trust on technology used for cashless transactions. This trend may continue in future and cash gift may shift to kind gift in future. However, this is only applicable for the section (if I may say the neo-middle class) of population not for all as we still have a majority, who are miles away from the cash less economy not because they can't but because they don't have the capacity to do that.


4. Are we going to spend the same, lesser or more now after demonetisation?


I believe the spending habit is going to be the same. Though there will be some impact in spending habits for the time being, as people are busy consolidating their economy and rearranging the same but in longer run the spending habit is going to increase because cash gift or exchange is going to shift to kind gift or exchange. For example in marriages people would now prefer kind gift than cash gift.


5. What is behind the marketers mind now? What changes in their strategies do you foresee? 


Marketers should be clear now that this is not going to impact them much as their consumers have not been affected by this demonetisation. There will be some short term disturbances that they are witnessing now. Hence, all their strategies are now focused on how to address the present situation and crises and still attract the consumers for regular business. But they are also aware that this is a short term political gimmick without any long term impact, except for the real estate and other cash heavy transaction sectors.  

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