Changing with times: Amar Chitra Katha

Recently while doing some grocery shopping in one of the retail stores, I glanced on TINKLE digest which was kept on the billing counter itself…and well, as usual I couldn’t refrain myself from buying it (Pssst…Shhh with a hidden face I am accepting that though I’m in my late 20s but I still can’t resist comics like Archies, Tintin, Tinkle etc… :P). Anyways, the comic was as interesting as ever but something which caught my immediate attention was the back cover page of the book. The page was heavily promoting online shopping of Tinkle comics as well as e-comics and contest on their website . Hmmm, looks like they have also revamped their website now and that’s why aggressively promoting their e-content.

Curious enough I clicked their URL and the first impression was WOW! Well, lots of changes as compared to their earlier website. Being a Tinkle fan, I had checked their old website once or twice earlier but there was nothing much for me to go back again. But new UI definitely gave an impression that even this 42 year old Indian Comic giant is changing with times. Not only they have changed the look and feel but they have introduced some other interesting features as well which is giving the website overall a modern outlook. I spent quite some time in navigating through the new website and here are some of the things which I personally liked about it:

  • Homepage looks neat and nice. Navigation is quite easy now.

  • Focus is not only on promoting its own content but rather creating user generated content as well. One section clearly focuses on inviting story as well as illustrations from users. Another section is focusing on contests. Very interesting features from customer engagement point of view.

  • Online shop with free delivery anywhere in India. Also offers and promotions depending upon the seasonality. As of today, one can see a Diwali gifting banner there.

  • ACK Pedia which is going to be a user-generated repository of information pertaining to people, places and culture of the India. Considering their credibility in offline medium for Indian legends, folktales and parables, if they do it rightly I’m sure they can become the authority in online space as well.

  • Recommendation Section which they are planning to launch in which they will not only review their own books rather other books as well as other edutainment related products. Good feature as per me.

Well, lots of good things but there are definitely some other things which have got some scope for improvement, like:

  • The home page loads very slow. I have tried it on high speed connections as well but not much luck. They need to look into their performance.

  • I think comic illustrations need bit of revamp. While it’s good to see our good old characters but to suit the taste of today’s generation kids and compete with likes of western ones like Tintin and all, definitely some new character and new content needs to be introduced with a bit modern kinda illustrations.

  • I know the world has moved towards complete English comics but still I think a section of Hindi comics can give them bit of edge in Indian market.

  • The content needs to be refreshed bit more on their homepage, I think as of now major changes are happening once a week, but in today’s fast changing times it would be good if they can manage to change some content daily.

  • It would be a good idea to launch a weekly contest instead of one generic contest with prominent highlighting of weekly winners.

  • I think there is a huge scope of improvement in their edutainment content in digital forms like DVDs, VCDs, video gallery on their own website.

But overall I liked this initiative of Amar Chitra Katha and yes, now I do have reasons to go back to their website again and again. Hope they manage to impress their actual TG i.e., kids and teenagers and they also feel the same about this revamped website :-).

Internet rejuvenating Indian Art Industry!

Yesterday while just casually browsing through ET, one piece which caught my immediate attention was how internet is changing the face of Indian Art Industry. Indian Art and Internet, oh wow what a lovely combination as both happen to be my special areas of interests – art out of passion and internet out of profession J. I immediately stopped over to read the complete story and I was quite happy to observe the shift which is happening even in Indian Art Industry because of this overall internet revolution. Not only artists are using Internet for reaching out to different markets but they are also using it for expanding their canvas of inspiration. While offline stores, galleries and exhibitions give artists a chance to promote large number of creations at one go but at the same time Internet gives them a very wide avenue for promoting their work to right kind of TG across different geographies at a very economic cost. Most importantly you get to see work of other people, you can discuss and share feedback with like minded people as well as it provides ample opportunities for an artist to study and research the subject of painting thereby expanding his / her creative horizon. While downside of it is definitely there with more chances of plagiarism and piracy but as per me the positive aspects of it outweigh the negative ones.

Indian Art industry is moving ahead quite positively and thanks to the internet exposure that prices of Indian works are growing northwards. As per an estimate by the creator of The Fine Art Fund, Phillip Hoffman, the size of the Indian market has grown from $2 million to approximately $400 million in the last seven years and to add to that as per Yamini Mehta, director of modern and contemporary Indian art at the London-based Christie’s, “Indian art is becoming a part of international consciousness, which is why we have seen a spectacular growth in this field”. More and more people outside are looking out for Indian masterpieces and famous artists are getting unimaginable prices too. Early this year M.F. Husain’s “Battle of Ganga and Jamuna” sold for $1.6 million in New York! $1.6 million…this is seriously some money man J.

As an amateur artist with a strong passion towards painting, I have always believed in the power of internet for promoting Indian Art to the right TG. Personally speaking I paint out of hobby and have never tried doing it commercially but I know of many good and senior artists who earn their living through art only and I know how difficult it is for them to meet their ends because of low potential in the local market. I know of this friend of mine who is a very good senior level artist but she was always confined to the limits of Indian Market. One fine day I helped her in building a website and we put her paintings in sites like e-bay etc. Though there was no miraculous result which happened immediately and of course she didn’t make any earnings in million dollars but results were not bad either. She started making money slowly out of online selling and atleast she gets lots of leads now through her website of people interested in learning painting from her. She has got steady income and now she keeps on telling everybody about power of internet and how it can help them in reaching out to wider sphere.

Reading that article in ET with the word “industry” suffixed everywhere after “Indian Art” instilled quite some hope within me. Wish, like many other industries internet revolutionizes Indian Art industry as well with more and more open minded artists who are willing to try out newer technologies and platforms.

India with highest virus ratio


Earlier we were in hit list of spam and now virus! Well, this is just one of the downsides of internet penetration in India I guess. Few months back I had read it somewhere that as per Govt of India report, 76% of mails originating from India are spam!!! And now there is a report stating one in ever 30 emails in India contains virus! “Virus activity increased across a number of countries in January, including India, which takes the number one spot with 1 in 30.5 emails,” a study conducted by a web security services firm MessageLabs said. India has been identified as the most vulnerable destination for virus as well as spam. The ratio of virus attack in western countries is far lesser in western countries. Infact in New Zealand its 1:768, in Australia its 1:298.7 & in US its 1:191.5.

Phew, so where are we as far as internet security is concerned? On an average I get somewhere between 12-20 spam mails on each of my account – yahoo, gmail etc. Despite my all trials of deleting / unsubscribing from all those junk mailers, there is not much refuge from the same. And every fourth email which I get is having an attachment with .pif / …. kind of unknown extensions which surely contain virus. Well, regardless of best possible anti-virus software & spam filters, those junk emails keep flooding my mail boxes everyday. Infact yesterday only I was trying to delete my spam messages from my yahoo id which has got the worst spam filter I guess and after deleting a few I just felt sick & tired of doing the same thing again and again! Well, no wonder if we accounted for 76% spam origin & 1:30.5 virus attacks as the repercussion of the same can be observed in my own inboxes as well J. I’m wondering – is it the phenomenal growth in internet penetration in India or is our poor security systems that we are such a susceptible target for spammers & virus attackers?