Campaign India Team
Jan 20, 2011

Mindshare India: Looking back, looking forward

Prasanth Kumar, GroupM, managing partner, South Asia, Central Trading Group (CTG): "It is only a matter of time that digital ADEX would be a much more significant contender"

Prasanth Kumar, GroupM, managing partner, South Asia, Central Trading Group
Prasanth Kumar, GroupM, managing partner, South Asia, Central Trading Group

2010: What a year it has been!

 For someone predicting the future back in 2008, the events of 2009 and 2010 would have come as a pleasant surprise. As has been well documented now, India never did go through recession- the slowdown that the country saw was that of the economic growth coming down from 9.2% in 2008 to a little over 6.5% in 2009. I am inclined to believe that the resultant flat ADEX in 2009 was more a reflection of the broad market sentiment than the prevailing macro-economic headwinds.

All of this has augured well for growth witnessed in 2010- a composite effect of a low base coupled with renewed excitement in the domestic consumption story of India. Advertiser A: S ratios today are at an all-time high, which in the context of increasing sales has had a multiplier effect on the overall demand for advertising inventory. The 68 page edition of Bombay Times during the Diwali week and innovations like the talking newspapers , are examples of this increasing demand. Commercial GRPs that grew by over 20% in 2009, have furthergrown by 10% in 2010.

Over the last 365 days, if someone said innovation is the key it was out-beaten by opportunities that inspired the innovations in every single practice.

Some significant structural developments are emerging leading to changes in the way business is conducted. Digitisation of television delivery platforms is one such development. Trends suggest that viewers spend 10-15% higher time on digital platforms, and with more number of channels being delivered to end consumers, the opportunity to deliver to focused audiences is increasing. The need now is to map the trends of this increasing audience base and understand its behavior pattern in greater detail.

Regionalisation has been a theme that has consistently been chased by marketers over a period of time. While regional print continues to be on a growth path, a heavily fragmenting regional television as opposed to a consolidating national televisionis an area to be watched out for going forward.

While critics have been writing off print as a medium, print ADEX growth numbers tend to indicate quite the contrary. A closer look at the split oftop advertisers versus the long tail would indicate that the dispersion defies the Pareto’s 80-20 rule, much a reflection on the wide spread reach of the medium. With India structurally being a domestic growth story, where local businesses are growing at a rampant pace, print would lend the very support that these businesses require growing. I, for one, am of the belief that the print story is far from over. As an aside, it is heartening to see the additional focus on research around the print medium with IRS now reporting on a quarterly basis.

Digital as a medium has been steadily growing and is now getting close to being the third largest in terms of ADEX. This however is just the beginning of things. For a country where internet and mobile penetration has been increasing multi-folds, it is only a matter of time that digital ADEX would be a much more significant contender for the advertiser’s media mix share. One big initiative this year was bringing IPL live on the net and concepts such as these would help bring further steam to a fast converging world.

Radio- the buzz medium- saw a significant development this year with the launch of Ramayan. The initiative paid back the station,with listenership increasing by over 20%. I believe this is a positive step for an industry that has long been equated to just the music genre as also has been perceived a passive medium; however more initiatives like Ramayan should help arrest such perceptions. Newer genres such as news, sports etc. getting addedwould be a huge positive for the medium. It is encouraging to see regulatory hurdles being overcome with the various industry bodies aligning and working towards a more conductive business environment.Phase 3 roll out of private FM should lend added support to the medium with expansion into newer territories as also addition of frequencies in existing cities. Content syndication at this time would take further prominence as the need for rationalising spends per needle hours would increase.

Cinema as a medium for advertising has long been losing mind share with advertisers.I have however noticed a perceivable difference around the attitude related to the medium post the advent of multiplexes and digital cinemas and the opportunities that they bring forth for an advertiser. Today’s cinema advertising has far crossed the realms of on-screen and moved to being an ambient medium with the potential to customise communication to the highest. Yet again, the move to get IPL live into multiplexes was a significant one. Going forward, digitisation of screens, conversion of single screens to multiplexes, higher number of quality releases are triggers for the medium in the forthcoming year.

Big things that await us in 2011

Some of the top media opportunities that await us in 2011 are the cricket world cup, the phenomenon called IPL, launch of new television channels specifically in the regional space, and further growth of digital television delivery platforms. I do sense that the first half of the year will have cricket being spoken off and written about excessively. Therein is the challenge for organisers of the game to keep the interest levels high over a sustained period of time.

8 significant trends to watch out for:

1. Percolating “Integrated Media Approach”-By media owners and advertisers; to reach customers: A fast fragmenting media environment and the increasing need to tap customers would give rise to advertisers further integrating their mediaapproach. Already in 2010, we have seen a 10% increase in the number of brands who have taken an integrated media approach over last year. This scenario would also lead to media owners across various mediums joining forces to offer better products. The resultant offering delivered to end consumers would be of higher quality and generate greater interest. A win-win for all!

2. Commoditisation of media will significantly grow: Over 93% of all commercial spots on televisionrate less that 1 TVR. Given that the overall level of viewership has remained relatively constant, and with the launch of new channels in the forthcoming year,the likelihood of further commoditisation would increase. A space to watch out for!

3. Need for effective ROI measurement tools: Media research would continue to take prominence as this demand pull inflationary environment would lead to advertisers wanting newer and more effective sources for advertising.

4. Growing passion digitally- A factual experience and reality: Across practices (and that is in consumption or business implied practices), passion to try and imbibe digital would be at the highest growth. Newer products and newer platforms would accelerate the growth more so given the roll out of 3G and the impact hence.

5. More formats in content: In the need of higher attention- “eyeballs”, 2011 would see more “newer” formats of content across media. This would include customisation and localisation of content to a large extent.

6. Broadcasters to eye distribution as their large focus: The roll out of digital television platforms has taken shape in a real sense over the last couple of years. With progressive growth in distribution discipline and systems, many new channel launches would be customised for these platforms. An interesting paradigm awaits!

7. An increased need and higher acceptance of innovation: For a product to catapult to the forefront of customer attention, innovation and differentiation are the keys; more so in a scenario of a growing economy, where the customer is willing to spend as long as true merit is seen. Differentiate or die has never been more pertinent!

8. The spotlight continues to cost savings and also cost saving technologies: Rather than a trend, this is a hygiene factor for all!

I foresee a year of continued growth, maybe even bigger than 2010- All in all exciting times awaits us.

I would like to sign off by wishing all of you a very happy and prosperous 2011. May this year bring with it the best of health and happiness.

Read Jai Lala's views on what's in store in 2011 in his Mindshare India Predictions 2011 piece here

Read Vikram Sakhuja's  views on what's in store in 2011 in his Mindshare India Predictions 2011 piece here

Read R Gowthaman's views on what's in store in 2011 in his Mindshare India Predictions 2011 piece here

Read M A Pathasarthy's views on what's in store in 2011 in his Mindshare India Predictions 2011 piece here

Read Alok Sinha's views on what's in store in 2011 in his Mindshare India Predictions 2011 piece here

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