There’s a problem with digitisation - once begun, it just doesn’t stop. And people can’t seem to stop talking about it either. The interesting aspect is that irrespective of who is doing the talking, media experts do find something new to throw light on – whether it is impact coming from measurement, need for digital content management, or a paradigm shift in traditional primetime to an anywhere – anytime scenario.
In a session focused on various aspects of digitisation, Forrest Didier, MD, Asia Pac-Latin America, Nielsen Media Research, drew attention to the manner in which the Internet was growing, and more importantly, to the fact that in developing economies, its growth was driven by broadband penetration. He underlined that the Internet would change the way people watched and consumed media.
On the driver angle, he said, “It is observed that in markets like China and Brazil, which are traditionally low penetration markets, when the switch to Internet is made, people are directly going in for broadband than dial-ups.” Given the manner in which broadband has shaped up in the past few years - especially on factors like speed - Didier believes that Internet penetration is set to increase further in these markets. “This will be the driver of the many changes that we will soon see, even in markets like India,” he said.
He pointed out that the broadband user was spending more time on the Internet, and was also more active and interactive with what he saw on the web. “People are watching music videos over the Internet and are willing to pay a higher price for it.” He believed that this changed the television experience, and some of the possible outcomes of the changed scenario included tie-ups and partnerships between broadcasters and websites.
“Broadband represents a major shift in the Internet share of voice and what transforms content. It is set to affect TV in different ways to the extent that the web is seen pulling commercials off-air,” said Didier, quoting an example from the US market, where on a campaign claiming spends of $50 million the first leg was devoted solely to Internet advertising.
Nonetheless, Didier brought to the fore the fact that in its present stage, the gap between the share of voice of the Internet and the share of spend was still big. “But we see this gap narrowing. Advertisers are seeking to reach niche and more difficult-to-reach audiences. They need the targeted capability of the Internet to do that. Advertisers will demand this kind of targeted communication as part of their worldwide media campaign,” said Didier.
This opportunity presented by the Internet has attracted NetRatings’ interest in India. Didier is assertive that with the coming of measurement in the medium, advertisers will be willing to pay more. He cited the example of New Zealand, explaining the increase in Internet ad revenues by almost 100 per cent within a year of the launch of NetRatings in that market. He said, “This is an example that repeats itself in market after market, and media after media. The fact is that people are willing to invest if they can track effectiveness of these spends. We see huge opportunities for this marketplace.”
Another aspect of digitisation came under the scanner when Dave Robinson from Amarchand Mangaldas highlighted the need to look at Digital Rights Management (DRM). “There is a need for management of content in digital form, as content needs to be protected more when it is in a digital form. This is where DRM comes in the picture,” said Robinson. He spoke on various ways in which digital content can be managed and protected by means like circumvention, and the challenges like costs required for implementing such solutions.
Steve Marcopoto, President and MD, Turner Broadcasting System Asia Pacific, focussed on the new attitude of anywhere, anytime, rather than primetime, and said that the phenomenon was largely applicable to ‘digital natives’. He explained, “Digital natives have one thing in common - they covet technology and the viewable, audible or playable content that latest gadgets deliver. But more than that, they drive demand for the cutting edge and expect to manipulate media so that primetime is whenever and wherever they want it. I call what they demand ‘Mimetime’, short for ‘My Primetime’.”
He spoke on the challenges and the opportunities that came with this shift, and the clear move beyond linear TV. Marcopoto presented an optimistic but very challenging picture when he spoke on digital immigrants. Said he, “The number of these immigrants actually far outweighs the natives, and they have some serious money to spend on content. Recent TV Land research by Age Wave says that they spend more on mobile, but only when they feel comfortable with the technology.”
The challenge lay in the fact that the viewer is visibly taking the charge of what she wants to watch, and the freedom to do that comes more from the Internet than from television – in essence, reflecting the coming together of mediums like TV and Internet on various levels of content.
In conclusion, he said, “All this talk of content may lead you to think I’m going to ultimately utter another convention cliché: ‘Content is king’! Of course I’m not going to stand up here and say that. Let’s take it a step further. If ‘Content is king’ then technology is God. And if technology is God, then there is a holy trinity of media, which looks like this: tech is the father, driver content the son, and the holy spirit? The unbridled creativity that will drive it all.”