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Is selling a product to consumers the same as selling content to viewers?

13-June-2014
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Is selling a product to consumers the same as selling content to viewers?

Speaking on a session titled ‘Media Masala – From Soaps to Soaps, Selling products and content to different generations,’ Ashish Bhasin, Chairman & CEO, Dentsu Aegis Network South Asia moderated a conversation between Shashi Sinha, CEO, IPG Mediabrands India and Sudhanshu Vats, Group CEO, Viacom18 Media.

Vats explained his perspective by saying it’s vital that how intimately you know your customer. The importance of physical interaction with the customer will never diminish. Juxtapose it with data, which can be sliced and diced for faster and deeper insights, you have yourselves a bedrock on which everything needs to be built. He said that in the past, marketers could survive with little knowledge of media and vice versa. Now the case has completely changed.

He also remarked that at the end of the day, consumer and viewer are the same. Products as well as content creation are about telling stories.

Bhasin asked Sinha about his vast experience and what changes and constants he has observed.

Sinha said that 30 years ago, ads had to be made for all segments of viewers keeping the lowest common denominator in mind. But now with acute fragmentation, personalisation can occur very successfully.

When Bhasin asked Vats how they reconcile personalised media with mass media. Vats stated that they cater to all segments of audience with GECs, music channels, etc. The key is sharper segmentation that applies in both, content creation as well as marketing. India is a country of a continental proportion at different stages of evolution. Hence there is scope for Saas Bahu series and also more contemporary entertainment.

Bhasin asked Sinha about digital taking over traditional media, to which Sinha said, “There will be no dramatic change in spends as we don’t know the inflection point,” and further added that when economy stirs up, more advertisers will come.

Vats added that all mediums will co-exist and newer mediums will be complementary to traditional mediums. “The future of TV is TV,” he said. He further explained that when you want to watch live entertainment like sports or a nature show, you would certainly want to watch it on a large screen. So the equation is not ‘either/or’ it’s ‘and’, referring to a combination of traditional and newer media.

Sinha said that if one views oneself as a content provider rather than merely a broadcaster, one will survive and grow in this increasingly screen-agnostic world.

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