Sandeep Goyal
Dec 14, 2017

Blog: Consumer connections from a telecom man's lens

This is part 3 of our series: '2017 in rear view, 2018 on the wind shield

Blog: Consumer connections from a telecom man's lens
I reached out to Manoj for a perspective somewhat different from those in advertising and media. He is a telecom specialist, having worked nearly 20 years at Airtel, Samsung and Micromax. VuLiv is Manoj Gupta’s entrepreneurial venture which condenses his years of customer knowledge into creating a better ‘connected’ Indian. Manoj has intimate knowledge and understanding of the smartphone business. He is developing amazing technologies that connect ‘offline’ consumers to live-online content.
Manoj Kumar Gupta, co-founder & CEO, VuLiv 
In 2017, one of the key shifts in the media space was the flood of video OTT services in digital media coupled with massive investment in original content production by the giants,  disrupting the biggest media of all times The Humble Television and yes in the long run the film media.…
This tectonic shift in the media space will change the way the advertising world will now view the online media time of the consumer.
A film of a renowned industry leader getting bought over in pre-production stage directly by the leading global VOD cum shopping giant  signals big warning for the media & especially the theatre Industry (which is already struggling for their survival with high cost of land, maintenance and tax). Over USD 40 billion by 8 local & global giants is committed for original content creation, and suddenly a whole new race of becoming the biggest OTT in the country which is still  30% data penetrated @ any given point of time has begun.
This shift in new age media is amplified with cost of internet going down to paisa per GB with demonetization (read wallet bonanza)  disrupting the online wallet space , thereby building a whole new world of media & advertising for the digitally payment savvy consumer, where Data seems like the new DAATAA!
Still, after so many disruptions around in 2017, out of a billion people, there are only a 100 million connected Indians on a monthly basis or 50-60 million shoppers out of a smartphone population of nearly 500 million. 
Gigantic networks are being consolidated on the one hand; talks of 4G speeds touching 5G on other hand; yet TRAI is giving final touches to its latest call drops penalties! Still Jio is going strong… disrupting every other network and reducing every penny of profit from the telecom industry and therefore an unprecedented rush of digital advertising in media all around us. 
Before we begin 2018, we must pause and reflect. Is the change too fast, too soon, to suit the  global powers, or is the speed of burning someone else’s money, the only innovation big brands are teaching all of us around? Seems like the best way to become the biggest is to bribe the customer.  Whether you are the best, who cares? Ultimately, the idea is to wait for the moment for the emotional customer to act foolish and take advantage of the trust built up. Surprisingly, the customer fools all of us around with his common sense and all artificial intelligence deployed by machine learning algorithms are based out of digital syllabus for an Indian consumer who still watches a whole lot of media and entertainment on his device, without internet at times.
A well-established fact came to light some time ago, that India loses over 4 bn USD every year on account of self-obtained content. I am avoiding calling it pirated as this is a fully-fledged business well & truly in front of the law and if it was against the law of piracy, Aamir Khan’s Dangal, the biggest blockbuster of our times would not have been seen by only 2-3 crore Indians out of 130 crore population, because the rest saw Dangal on their humble smartphone screen. Same was the case for Tubelight and may somewhat explain its lukewarm revenues.
In 2018, video platforms will be the new truth, where advertising & media will focus as the “Always On”. India will look to watch free Internet led streaming powered by Jio or any similar network and try to find new ways to record the screen and make digital copies in 4k |HD print for further circulation to 300 Mn Offline India.The New TV is the Smartphone, in the hand of the Indian consumer and therefore the growth of digital advertising revenues especially video will yet again see a growth of over 50% if not more.
Overall digital advertising which saw a Y-o-Y growth over 30% will yet again see a growth beyond 30% but whether it will still be ruled by global giants Google or Facebook or we will see the emergence of new platforms other than digital… because the mass of India still spends a very large part of their lives, offline on user generated content or shared entertainment.
2018, will make all realise, whether it's E-commerce or Entertainment, that the mass of India continues to ‘connect’ offline and there will come an innovation outside of the digital syllabus, that will make Offline = Online.
The next billion consumers will emerge from on-device-regional-unbridged India, where the consumer jumped on to smartphone earlier than the internet and therefore 2018 will see the emergence of completely new platforms and technologies that will connect Digital Platform Players to this unconnected Digital Consumer in real and meaningful ways for brands to engage & stay fresh in customer’s choice with original content to make transactions and not just conversations.
2017 : keywords
#Demonetisation, GST,OTT Video Playback, Jio aur mat jeene do, Consolidation of Airtel+Tata, Voda+Idea, Digital Wallets+UPI, Ecommerce consolidations.
2018 : keywords
# Offline video ,Phone memory, Innovation in Advertising Media Entertainment, OTT OnSlaught, Original Content Production oversupply 
Manoj’s views are different. He comes from a world where the end consumer is his client. There are no intermediaries. There is technology for sure. But it is also technology that either enables or alienates. If 2018 has to become a year of enablement, Manoj’s story is that the ‘offline’ customer will need to be ‘connected’ with through not just content but through technology that leapfrogs traditional modes of ‘connectivity’. To my non-tech savvy mind that seems a big challenge, but the likes of Manoj may just make it happen.
This is the third piece in this year-end series. Look out for more.
(Sandeep Goyal has been 33 years in the advertising and media business. He has seen many sunrises and many sunsets. He thinks year-end assessments are good as a report card; year-beginning predictions are a good road map to new destinations.)
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