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Media industry growing but fragmentation of digital remains a concern for agencies and marketers

Speaking at FICCI Frames 2019, experts said if advertisers can be transparent, media agencies facilitate transparency and owners take on accountability, the industry will be in a better shape

The Indian media scene has grown exponentially over the decade while the advertising market has tripled in size. According to a Madison report, the advertising market has grown from Rs 20,000 crore to Rs 61,000 crore in 2018 and is expected to touch Rs 70,000 crore in 2019.

In a decade, India has added more than 3,000 new advertisers in television and 80,000 new advertisers in print. It will also not take too long for digital to overtake print and be the second largest ad earner. But while the media landscape has grown, altered and evolved, the way media buyers and media agency buy media has not changed. This and other aspects of the media industry came up for discussion at FICCI Frames 2019 in Mumbai.

According to industry experts, fragmentation of digital is a big challenge for agencies and marketers, adding there is a need for media owners, advertisers and media agencies to work together. If advertisers can be transparent, media agencies facilitate transparency and owners take on accountability, then the industry will be in better shape, they said.

Sam Balsara chairman, Madison World, said democratisation of the media market in terms of advertising has started. “In 2009, the top 50 advertisers accounted for as high as 43% of total Adex whereas last year this number has come down to 35%. I am sure with so many regional brands growing and so many going national, this number is going to go further down to 25% in the next three or four years. India’s ad market will remain the fastest growing ad in the world. It will be 12-15% over the next few years given that GDP is expected to grow by 6-7%. In the next three to four years, digital will be the second largest medium, displacing print, as usage of digital advertising continues to gallop,” he said.

Balsara also pointed out that the industry will benefit if advertisers shift from Cost Per Rating Programme (CPRP), Cost Per Thousand (CPT) models to Cost Per Unit (CPU) model of brand outcome.

“The measurement has to improve as it is an intermediary step to business outcomes that are responsible for getting the investments that are being made. The only way for brands to succeed and navigate their way successfully through a changing landscape would be to focus on brand outcomes. The currency that marketers should look at is the cost per unit of brand outcome rather than CPRP or CPT,” he said

Ankit Desai, Head, Media and Digital Marketing, Marico, agreed that the company is in a scenario where there is democratisation of data, and data is threatening to become a deluge to drown companies if they do not do something about it. “Data is a priority to take up so that it is not squandered as an opportunity. There is a fusion of media insights and sales on digital and this is creating a disruption in the way in which business models are being challenged today. Today, the priority is to understand that space and engage with it in a way that the company does not lose the edge that it had,” he added.

As digital and TV are growing, soon there will be a need to have a single currency, which will be developed for measuring video across TV and digital. While TV has witnessed 18% growth last year, its overall market share has dropped by 38%. The share of sports, on other hand, has moved to 10% of the total adex.  The government spends on ads has seen 100% growth since Modi came to power.

The experts feel that there is a quest among marketers to understand consumer-buying behaviour but the more time and money is spent in that direction, the less is understood. This makes the task of the marketer daunting.

Balsara said, “The supply of media has brought about multiple challenges for a marketer when it comes to building a brand and sustaining it. Brand building has become a hugely complex matter and to succeed, one needs a balance of art and science.”

Partho Dasgupta, Chief Executive Officer, BARC India, said talent is the main concern as there isn’t any in the area of media analytics. He said, “Sectors like BFSI and telecom have data analytics talent but in media, finding people who understand data tools of analytics is a big problem.”

Nina Elavia Jaipuria, Head, Hindi Mass Entertainment, Kids TV Network, Viacom18, said the media agency has the same goal of growing its market share. She said media owners are looking at ways to see that clients achieve their business objectives.

Speaking about the challenges, Shashi Sinha, CEO, IPG Mediabrands, said one of the big challenges his media agency faces with clients is deciding how to look at digital as a medium within the context of delivering audiences.

Another challenge is that marketers and people on the creative, media agency side have not understood enough how storytelling needs to change. Ajay Dang, Joint Executive President and Head of Marketing, Ultratech, said, “Marketers have not done themselves a service by bucketing some of these things in a fairly isolated fashion. The audience does not care if the brand’s story was seen on mobile or on the TV as long as the proposition was framed well enough so that the content registered. While the audience has evolved enough, the industry, including marketers, media content generators, have not kept pace with that. We are actually falling behind. This worries me. The ROI that is to be delivered to our organisations is suffering because of our lack of putting it all together.”

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