Sandeep Goyal
Dec 12, 2017

Blog: Of rear-view mirrors and windshields - Part 2

When I speculate on the future of advertising, I see only an abyss populated entirely by accountants chasing last years' outstandings, says renowned strategy planner and consumer insights specialist, B Nary Narayanaswamy

Blog: Of rear-view mirrors and windshields - Part 2
B. 'Nary' Narayanaswamy is a legend of Indian advertising. One of the first strategy planners in India, Nary spent his initial years in Contract Advertising. He then set up Indica Research and pioneered customer satisfaction measurement in the telecom industry. Nary sold Indica to Ipsos and remained there for many years till he moved to ‘active retirement’ in Pondicherry.
B. 'Nary' Narayanaswamy, Former Director Ipsos Research
Video content now accounts for about three-quarters of the internet traffic. It's expected to grow to be some 82% by 2021.
But it's Live video that's expected to grow the fastest. It's early days though. Facebook, Twitter and a  variety of live video platforms are jostling for marketshare and dominance.
It's useful to think of sports while trying to understand this change. Not so long ago, it was only sports  and pageants like the Republic Day parade that one got to see broadcast live. Now you get to see pretty much everything from updates on the weather or traffic to scuffles with airline staff. Video needs bandwidth. And that is now available aplenty, thanks to all the 4G bundle battles, price wars or what you will.
With access, bandwidth and content so well poised, what happens to advertising? I expect solutions to emerge in 2018 situated on three different pivots:
Experience, Language and Social. The exact unfolding will depend on how their interplay is created.
Let us start with the basics. How does a given consumer get to see a piece of, say, a video or a blog news article? Mostly, it's through a message gotten on social media. That's how.
So the job that used to be done by media planning guys - targeting and curating the editorial environment- is now out of the agency's hands.
Let us add to this the content creation by the advertisers. It's just a matter of time before marketers and publishers in India do what a Pepsi or a New York Times has done - set up a fully fledged film studio and develop video content.
The world hums on user generated content anyways. Ciao Creative Dept.
That leaves the planners. Here is where it gets really interesting. As advice and analytics become pretty much the only service with some scope (hope?) - the consultants have begun to eat that lunch. And they are acquiring design outfits, so they can finely deliver a nuanced end user experience and an experiential ambience to the brand.  So they don't need the planners or their ammunition of choice - the PowerPoint bullet.
So when I speculate on the future of advertising, I see only an abyss populated entirely by accountants chasing last years' outstandings.
It's in this backdrop that I also see the singular media event of last year, namely Star TV's acquisition of IPL broadcast rights. So it's not the Brobdingnagian scale of monies that is being paid that is new news. It's that they will likely completely dis-intermediate the entities in between, both in distribution and in advertising. That news will indeed set Twitter on fire. 
These are all interesting perspectives from leaders who will count in the year ahead. Which is why it is important to know what they think and why they think what they think. 
This is the second of the year-end pieces. More will follow from industry seniors before we say bye bye to 2017. 
I have my own views on what happened in the year gone by. I also have my thoughts on how 2018 will pan out. I will however retain my prerogative to be the last to express myself. 
(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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