Ardent fans of Bollywood actor Shahrukh Khan flocked to his Twitter page recently when the superstar chose to break the first look of his upcoming film on the online social networking service. King Khan isn’t the only one going the social media way. The trailer for Ajay Devgn’s Drishyam was launched on social media, and reached a total of 2,50,00,000 users within just three days.
Apart from filmmakers, FMCG brands too are jumping on the social media and mobile bandwagon. The classic example of it being Hindustan Unilever’s campaign—‘Kan Khajura Tesan’, in rural Bihar and Jharkhand in which 86% of its target audience owned a mobile phone— nearly 300% the number of those who owned a television. Some of the world’s largest product launches and news announcements are taking the mobile-first or mobile-only route. And India is not one to stay far behind. The Indian marketer is rethinking marketing strategies and reallocating budgets to cope with this mobile revolution.
Move over TV, mobile to dominate the future
The smartphone is entertaining better and providing information faster. To top that, it lets you choose the different degrees of doing so – which means you can watch a two minute song or an entire movie, you can read a whole article or just glance at the news notification. It is empowering the user to absorb content differently – at his own time, pace, location, convenience and in a preferred format; unlike the inherent rigidity of the TV.
Social media enables content-sharing, garnering audience interest, whether it’s the latest national TV channel debate or a newly released TV show. Given that mobile is a device which is always with the user, online video watching has outpaced TV watching. This ‘me-time’ in most cases, translates into mobile time. A significant factor to keep in mind is that mobile reaches specific pockets of the country which do not have access to TV – and that is why ‘Kan Khajura Tesan’ deserves a special mention. In places lacking a television set, mobile broadcast helps as a cost-effective option to reach users. Some consumer technology companies have introduced smartphones that enable you to project images and video onto table tops and walls, further augmenting the switch. Ironically, in metros, an interesting trend has been observed where most people are connected to their mobile devices, even while watching TV.
Research estimates suggest that the average Indian spends approximately 3 hours and 11 minutes on smartphones per day as compared to 2 hours and 8 minutes in front of their televisions.
Putting your monies where your mouth (read: eye) is
Cut to five years ago, when marketing budgets were concentrated around TV with almost nil for mobile. Broadcast was the most expensive medium then, and (arguably) the most effective one too. Today, the story is markedly different. Just how marketers are flocking to mobile, their monies are following suit – the same budgets are more likely to be placed on the mobile platform than on TV, a fact that King Khan is no stranger to.
When TV goes mobile
Mobile phones and tablets are stealing prime time, the period people used to devote to TV. The mobile industry is providing the right platform and innovative technologies to help channel owners utilise their content in newer ways and reach out to contemporary audiences. In fact, TV shows today, are tailor-made to target the largest audience – Generation Y or more popularly known as millennials for whom mobile is the go-to mode of communication. This ‘right here, right now’ generation is not limited to sitting on the couch in front of their TV screens, but are the ones who are always on the move and more importantly, simultaneously on their smartphones. The preference is of a single device with multiple functions than multiple devices offering one function each.
Smartphone usage is largely app-driven. Companies have started publishing content via specific apps like Hotstar, Sony Liv, ALT or on YouTube and are receiving views in millions. Certain channels have gone to the extent of considering shutting shop to streaming their content on mobile phones instead. There are apps like Ditto TV and Tata Sky that enable you to watch all channels on your mobile phone. Inspite of battling seamless video streaming on iPhone and Android phones, volumes of video seen on mobile devices is going through the roof. About 40% of all YouTube traffic comes from mobile. The long and short of it – broadcast on mobile is taking off like never before, and channel owners and content owners alike are facing the exciting challenge of racing to the finish line.
Marketing and mobile – a torrid love affair
Realising the reach and impact of the smartphone and the increasing mobile internet user database, especially over television, marketers have begun to effectively woo the mobile Indian using the power of the smartphone, with brand campaigns tailor-made for mobile.
However, this is just the start; the users’ love affair with digital media and mobile has far from run its course – and this is one of those that could very well last a lifetime.
The author is Founder & CEO, Vserv.