Dwelling deeper into the discussion, “Business on the Internet”, the second leg of the exchange4media i zone Roundtable was held in Bangalore. The panel took the topic a step further by assessing advertising as a key driver for business on the Internet.
The panelists included N. Murlidharan, MD, Jobstreet.com, Rajesh Vimal, Director, M One, John Kuruvilla, Head of Sales & Marketing, Air Deccan and Abraham Mathew, President, CIOL who moderated the session. The group went beyond assessing the merits and demerits of the Internet as a medium and went on to examine problem areas, predict a trend in the industry and suggest possible routes to further the interests of all players.
Describing the internet as a “media planner’s delight”, Kuruvilla noted that despite the medium’s cost effectiveness, limited spill over and high accountability, it had failed to create a mark with advertisers. Kick starting a round of debate, Mathew raised the question of whether agencies are to be held responsible for the medium’s extended nascent stage.
Putting things in perspective, Vimal spoke of how the dotcom boom period extended an over promise to the medium which along with it being technology ridden, made it too complicated for media planners to consider.
However, when the example of several agencies creating a special online ad division was quoted, concerns were voiced about how developments like this are further delaying online advertising from merging into the mainstream.
Offering his perspective on the matter, Murlidharan said that with an agency earning very poor returns through an online initiative, it was but natural that its investments on understanding the medium would also be low.
Moving the discussion to other related areas, Mathew threw open a debate on the technological developments in the area of online advertising. Even as the attributes of various ad tools were discussed, the panel agreed that while talent was aplenty in the country, the lack of technological standardization continued to drag down the quality.
Even as the need for agencies to devote a complete creative team for online ventures was stressed upon, the panelists accepted that clients too were required to formulate their own online policy to further their branding on the Internet.
While these and many related issues were raised in the course of the discussion, the panelists closed the session with a unanimous verdict that the formation of an association or regulatory body was of prime importance to further the interests of all players on the Internet. As said by Mathew, while the boom time Phase I of ecommerce saw glory and post bust Phase II saw misery, now was the time of Phase III which heralded some serious business.