The India chapter of International Advertising Association (IAA) recently hosted ‘Retrospect and Prospect--Advertising Outlook 2016 and beyond’ in Mumbai, wherein Anupriya Acharya, Group CEO, Zenith Optimedia, Shashi Sinha, CEO, IPG Mediabrands and Vikram Sakhuja, Group CEO Madison Media & OOH at Madison World presented their ad spend projections for the year 2016. The three stalwarts also participated in a discussion which was moderated by Ashok Venkatramani, CEO, ABP News Network
Some excerpts from the panel discussion that took place among the media stalwarts-
Acharya’s forecast numbers, which said, growth of print at 11.5%, TV at 15% and digital at 25%, comparing to IPG and Madison projections looked least optimistic and was quizzed by Venkatramani on this.
Acharya: It is an optimistic report; we do take into account the overall macro-economic factors, local factors and all of that. Secondly at Zenith Optimedia we always believe in a cautious forecast, we think it is much better to have a measured approach to forecast and that is the reason we also update our forecast every quarter.
Another trend which Venkatramani picked from Acharya’s report is that- Video sharing is going to go down next year, which is contrary to what digital experts have been saying. Why?
Acharya: Social media has actually moved away from likes to more on building reach and a large part of social media is clearly moving into video ads, which is true for both Facebook and Twitter. When we do our forecasts, some part of the video also gets classified under social media. So if we look at both of them together, the video growth is there. However, to counterpoint the whole growth which we are talking about, we highlighted issues of connectivity, large section of the population is on 2G, data pricing is not getting cheaper, price crash is not around the corner, so one will have to ideally wait and watch.
Everybody is clubbing digital as one umbrella platform, whereas if you start dissecting, there are a host of opportunities and we don’t know which one is going to grow. Do you think it is time to classify them separately?
Sakhuja: I would love to, but the fundamental challenge in digital is- there is no authenticated source which says, how much is going to search and how much is going to videos. Search you can still get, but the ability to dissect it further to apps, videos, mobile doesn’t exist. I think, there needs to be an ad ex mechanism which captures how the inventory goes in digital.
Which is the one advice which you will give to advertisers to help grow this pie?
Sinha: If this country has to grow, it has to grow on the back of SMEs. If SMEs grow, there will be a boom and there will be supply and demand.
Sakhuja: Invest in driving outcome, right now we are at a very nascent stage, don’t think output, think in terms of, am I growing awareness, concentration, advocacy, loyalty etc.
Acharya: I think it is not such a linear question that we want advertisers, broadcasters or agencies to grow this market. Yes if we compare it globally, then obviously the cost of India is very cheap. So, ability for a market to pay for the media is pretty much limited by the ability to charge in their own area. So, it is unfair to say that marketers are not pumping in enough money.
Which is the one wish-list from the two large segments-(TV and Print) to help grow the pie?
Sakhuja: In the HSM, give us local market plan, ability to go to a UP, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and actually deliver a credible market plan. If you do that, market will explode.
Acharya: TV and print is doing very well. If there is content which is sticky, more localised, cultural, the mediums will definitely continue to grow.
What should media agencies do to increase the pie?
Sinha: As we grapple with volume, because of lower margins, sometimes quality suffers. So the challenge is how to improve the quality at the same time.
Sakhuja: If all our clients are obsessed with growing the brands on which they are working on, it will surely help.
Acharya: Training and talent- India is a very complex market and each of the media is also very fragmented. The Industry has not been able to handle that growth. It is expanding too fast and there is an acute need for talent.