While digital media is still very nascent in India and has its own challenges and concerns, the recent economic slowdown helped this medium evangelise the accountability and engagement or interactivity that it offers to users. Over the years and especially 2009 saw more brands exploring digital advertising and spending more in this space.
Putting the spotlight on this media, the Digital Media Conference 2010 saw a panel discussion on digital advertising, which discussed the opportunities and challenges for digital owners, brands and marketers. The panel members included Arun Mehra, COO, Zapak; Siddharth Rao of Webchutney, Tushar Vyas of Sure Waves, Sandeep Singh of Quasar and Future Group’s Sandip Tarkas. The session was moderated by Neville Taraporevalla of Microsoft India.
Sandip Tarkas observed, “Digital media is certainly emerging big time in India, but in a different way as compared to the West. The Internet already enjoys a fairly good power ratio; the medium perhaps has to generate more engagement for users so that they spend more time online.”
Arun Mehra noted, “Marketers, including FMCG companies, are willing to pay dollars. We treated ourselves as an agency and driving the digital plan changed the way clients did business with us. Marketers are willing to pay for something that is different. Who would have thought that automobile as a category would come on board. People are changing and it is time that even we revamp the way we look at ourselves. If the industry does follow the fixed based pricing model, it would be a big step for the industry.”
Sandeep Singh noted, “Today, consumer durables and FMCGs are exploring the Internet lot more, however, brands should not shy away from performance based advertising, but should use digital as a platform for engagement. The objective of one’s advertising should be sorted. I don’t believe in the China model as digital allows you to measure extensively. MSN followed this model for sometime, but had to change it. If the industry does not provide accountability and follow the ‘fixed based pricing’, then the money may move to search, but if we are able to calculate unique reach, their reaction could be different.”
“I believe there is no dearth of talent in the digital industry, I am working with a lot of talented people, however, the creativity should not be limited to banner advertisements alone,” he added.
Tushar Vyas commented, “The Internet is not just a medium, but transaction as well. The cost of media is very low and because of the Internet, traditional media, too, started to push back or started getting more accountable. However, I believe it is the caliber of people in the digital medium that will make a huge difference to the medium.”
Summing up, Neville Taraporevalla said, “While the web has been fragmented, it is mainly when both web and mobile come together that there is a good response. Somewhere, we have not been able to sell the communication to the client, hence, it is we who are to be blamed.”