Media - That will rock 2010: Industry perspective

My mother isn't the most tech savvy person and doesn't really understand the dynamics of Internet. She keeps wondering as to what I do all day long sitting in front of the laptop exploring something called the Web. She just cannot fathom the fact that this can be a revenue source as well. For her, income comes in when you go out, work with a company and talk hardcore sales or marketing. Or operate people. Or engineer something out of a trash can!

She gets baffled when I explain her concepts of internet and is left completely bewildered when I talk about Facebook and Twitter. Why would you want to be doing Facebook when you have a mobile phone to connect with people, is something she cannot understand. She cannot even digest the fact that I can access my bank account on my phone and watch video clips on it!

I can't blame her though. She grew up in an era when computers were not even heard of, mobile phones were an item of fancy imagination and the televisions were mostly black and white, in India. Things, however, have changed. And how!

India started actively experiencing the internet phenomenon since early 90s but the internet boom came in only during the late 90s and there's been no looking back. Mobile phone technology too gripped India relatively recently. Back in early 2000s the incoming and outgoing calls cost a huge amount. Now though, the incoming is free and service operators are constantly locked in a fierce battle to offer the cheapest calling rates to their subscribers.

With internet and mobile phones fast becoming imperative tools for survival, India is growing at a rapid pace already and is among the fastest growing economies in the world today. Adgully, in an effort to evaluate which medium is seen as the fastest growing marketing tool, reached out to industry pundits to gain their views. The battle here is between an advertiser's favourite medium, television, the ever-growing and ever-important, print, conventional out of home medium (OOH), radio, Internet and mobile.

L V Krishnan, CEO, TAM, is of the view that all mediums will co-exist but says that internet and mobile are gaining massive popularity.

"I hope television and radio, but I am sure online is going to be very big as will be mobile. Probably, a convergence phenomenon is going to happen whereby you could have broad band coming in to the home and television sets delivering content through broadband as much as the channels on internet like YouTube. Mobile is also becoming increasingly important," he said.

Ravi Kiran, CEO ' South Asia and Emerging Market Leader ' Specialist Solutions, Starcom MediaVest Group, believes that there is immense scope for cinema, as an advertising platform, to rise immensely.

"I don't think there is any medium which growing slower or faster than other mediums. One of the media which can do really well, but somehow isn't gathering the attention of a lot of planners, is cinema. Unfortunately it is not measured a lot which is why it is left out. Last year, OOH medium was going through a bad phase, but this year, it is back with a bang. Almost ever medium is growing," he said.

For Dave Cobban, Consumer mobilization director, Nike, television and digital are two most important mediums.

"Because we are in the sports business, TV is always going to be there for us. When the IPL is on, every Indian is going to be hung on to it. During such events when every eye is looking on TV, we gain the most mileage. But there are times when, throughout the year, we would look at the digital medium. So it's almost like when you look at our calendar digital, retail, and marketing will happen throughout the year but there are certain moments in time when there are spikes and we do radio and print as well," says Dave.

Keertan Adyanthaya, Managing Director, Fox International Channels, vouches for digital and mobile, but maintains that television is going to be strong all through. "

TV has a very strong and steady growth, as we all know. But, I think the fastest growing medium is the mobile and the digital. Of course, the two platforms have a very small base so they can afford to grow at that kind of scorching pace. It could be high double digits growth or even triple digit in case of mobile. With television and print our base is so large that even if we grow by 25 percent, it eclipses everything else," he adds.

Les Margulis, president, Media Direction, thinks India is as dynamic as any other region of the world. "In terms of traditional media, India is no different than any other market. We see slow but continued growth. Our estimates for the next 12 months suggest that Digital will grow at an average rate of 12 percent while radio, television, OOH and print will grow at 10, 7, 6 and 4 percent respectively. Cinema, we think, will remain flat.

However, these numbers particularly for print are so much better than those reported in the US press, specifically: newspapers will drop 10.7%, while magazines will slip an additional 7.3%. Those drops, however, are less significant than the plunges of 27.2% and 19.6% for newspapers and magazines in the US respectively in 2009.

India is indeed looking very good.

With digital being the unanimous choice for every one, television is seen as the other most important medium along with mobile. Adgully maintains a common belief with L V Krishnan that content is king, medium or channel notwithstanding.

"There will be three things ' devices, platforms and content. Content will be on television, the channels available on the mobile sets, on the radio stations, and even the internet. The platform could be broadband, satellite television or DTH and the devices could be mobile phones, TV or a computer. All these mediums are going to co-exist," Krishnan adds.

Television has the luxury of beaming some of the most eye-capturing events, the most recent example being IPL. Ravi Kiran agrees and, citing the example of IPL, said, "For us, TV is the bounce back, partly because a lot of our clients who delayed or withheld their launches last year are back. Also, IPL was a big boom and we, Starcom and ZenithOptimedia as a group, were the single largest buyer of IPL."

Dave Cobban too remains highly optimistic about the business, with television as the medium. "TV is never going out of fashion. I can't wait for the World Cup! We used to do a lot of advertising throughout the year but now we really concentrate on the right moments. Rather than looking at trends we look at the moments in time," he shares.

So, overall, although television has the stronghold, mediums like digital and mobile are coming in fast and coming in strong. Speaking of internet, it has a huge advantage over any other advertising medium.

So make way for the next-gen advertising platforms. Hail digital.


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