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Guest Column: The three dimensions in Digital Media

28-December-2017
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Guest Column: The three dimensions in Digital Media

As the year closes, individuals as well as corporates, tend to introspect and look back at the major trends that have influenced decision making. They also look forward to what will be the key things of importance in the new year. In digital media, the trends change at breakneck speed, as we have seen this year as well. If I were to pick three things that concern the digital media world, and will play a vital role in the coming year, I would highlight the growing focus and importance on audiences, a decisive move towards mobile-only consumption and finally, re-visiting digital media monetization.

1. The increasing emphasis on and significance of audiences

With the coming of digital age, the most significant shift that has happened is in the availability of umpteen amounts of user data. What she likes to read, what is her investment strategy, when was the last time she ate out to what her movie preference is. It is increasingly becoming critical not only to collect and store this data but also use it to ensure she gets the best experience on your platform.

Building rich audience profile and leveraging it to provide personalized experience ensures brand loyalty, which was underscored by the runaway success of Spotify's Discover Weekly. Even brand marketing and communication needs to move towards a personalised experience. Easy Jet's 20th anniversary personalized e-mailers, bringing each user's travel history to life, led to a 100 per cent increase in open rate over its average emailer and 25 per cent click-through rate.

At Network18 Digital, we have already taken key steps towards capturing user preferences through our data management platform and are moving towards fulfilling the need and interests of the users.

2. Mobile first to mobile only

The internet has seen a sharp growth in penetration, driven by increased adoption of mobile internet. Most significant enabling factor has been mobile data affordability. Mobile data cost has reduced by ~96 per cent from September 2016 to December 2016, as per a KPMG-Google report "Indian Languages – Defining India's Internet."

There is an entire demographic of users that have skipped the desktop and is consuming the internet only on the mobile phone. There has been a sharp increase in user consumption through mobile phones across media properties. These developments require a shift in focus for content creators and marketers to ensure we create concise, media and graphic rich content that is suitable for consumption on the smaller smartphone and feature phone screen.

The growth of regional language content has been even more dramatic on the mobile platforms as 99 per cent of Indian language internet users access it through their phones. 94 per cent of those users feel a need for local language content. Brand marketers and content creators need to strive towards achieving this as 75 per cent of the user base by 2021 will consume content in Indian languages, with the voice as the medium of search.

3. Re-visiting digital media monetization

Advertising revenues have seen pressure this year, as there is a shift in consumption pattern in India to mobile, and monetization on mobile has still not evolved. However, a more global phenomenon of the media favourites, like Buzzfeed, missing their revenue targets has made most media organizations revisit their monetization models.

Publishers globally are starting to go back to basics, where content is king. With digital advertising revenues continuing to come under pressure, media houses will have to look at diversifying their revenue streams while continuously investing in quality content. Publishers have started going down the subscription and transactions path to diversify their revenue streams. The New York Times globally has shown a significant surge in digital revenues with 46 per cent year-on-year increase in their subscription revenue versus an 11 per cent increase in digital advertising revenue.

At Network18 Digital, we have realized the importance of diversifying our revenue. We are experimenting with both subscription and transaction based services. It will be interesting to see how this plays out in the Indian landscape, where we are still a few years behind the global curve.

Manish Maheshwari is the CEO, Network18 Digital.

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not in any way represent the views of exchange4media.com

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