MD & CEO | 04 Aug 2008
In-store radio plays a big role in setting the ambience within a store and enhancing the purchasing experience of consumers. The radio stations get the opportunity to reach out to their listeners at a very effective consumer touch point – retail – which makes a listener’s interaction with the brand as interesting as possible. Future Radio has already started in-store radio in some of these consumer touch points. Over time, Future Media has plans to launch its own in-store radio network.
As Managing Director and CEO, Future Media, Partho Dasgupta is responsible for spearheading the company’s growth in India. Future Media is the media venture of Future Group that is aimed at offering consumer-brand engagement in the ambience of consumption. Dasgupta’s previous assignment was as Business Head with Times Global Broadcasting, wherein he was responsible for Times Group’s joint venture with Reuters and the successful launch of the English news channel Times Now.
Dasgupta was with Bennett Coleman & Co. Ltd., where he was managing the brand operations of The Economic Times, the business of Times Multimedia and the ET Intelligence Group, before his assignment with Times Global Broadcasting.
He has also worked with leading companies such as CRISIL, Union Carbide, Tetra Pak, and Indal in various strategic domestic and international sales assignments. A mechanical engineer by education and an alumnus of the Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta, Dasgupta is a keen observer of consumer and economic trends. He keenly participates in various industry forums, bringing key insights about media consumption in India.
In conversation with exchange4media’s Pallavi Goorha, Dasgupta talks about Future Media’s future plans and shares his views about the recent initiatives taken by the company.
Q. When and what made Future Media enter the outdoor scene?
Honestly, we are not into outdoor, but out-of-home. In-store advertising literally is as old as the first retail outlet. What Future Media does is bring in a science to the media. Future Media started out in January 2007 with the objective of providing clients consumer engagement solutions in the ambience of consumption within the Future Group and outside. These consumption spaces could be stores, malls, petrol stations, multiplexes, where the consumer is in a receptive frame of mind and is willingly taking in brand messages coming his/her way. Future Group, being the largest retail company in the country, has a vast databank of consumption information like purchasing behaviour and spending patterns, which is used to design effective media solutions for clients. We do not just provide consumer touch points, but build engagement through innovative solutions.
Q. How do you compare the Indian outdoor advertising industry with the global market?
Globally, the retail sector is leaps ahead of what it is in India, and hence, in-store media is also that much more evolved. In-store media is highly developed in the US, the UK, Australia and Singapore, whereas India is very high on the J-Curve.
Q. Future Media had introduced interactive display GestureTek some time back. Where all is this technology being used and how successful has it been so far?
GestureTek is currently put up at show windows at 10 locations at select Pantaloon, Central and Food Bazaar outlets across Mumbai, Pune, Lucknow, Delhi, Kolkata, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Chennai, all of which are controlled centrally from a network in Mumbai. It has been only about a month since the technology has been deployed, so it is a little early to gauge the success. However, from the initial feedback received, it is doing well and attracting good amount of curiosity from advertisers and consumers alike. Sunsilk has taken up the media as exclusive advertiser during its launch phase. There is also great demand amongst brands that are waiting to use this display as part of their marketing campaigns.
Q. Future Media has picked up media rights of three players in the retail space – My Dollarstore, R-Mall in Mulund and Oberoi Mall in Kandivali. What kind of screens have been put up and how many?
All these deals include Future TV and Future Visual Spaces media properties that are part of Future Media’s bouquet of offerings. About 200 Future TV screens have been put up across the three properties.
Q. Future Media and Bharat Petroleum had tied up to launch TV screens at petrol pumps. Could you comment on this partnership?
Future Media and Bharat Petroleum have come together in a long-term partnership by creating a new solution for outdoor communications. Future Fuel, which is what this television network is called, is not a just regular in-store TV, but a unique outdoor media providing audio as well, and viewers spend a good 3-4 minutes consuming this media. While currently, the screens have been put up at 20 petrol stations in Delhi, this number is likely to increase to 100 soon.
Q. Any plans of tying up with more players like Bharat Petroleum?
We are in talks with various players in the consumption segment, not just petrol stations. You will hear from us soon in this regard.
Q. Could you tell us about Future Radio and the concept behind it?
In-store radio plays a big role in setting the ambience within a store and enhancing the purchasing experience of consumers. The radio stations get the opportunity to reach out to their listeners at a very effective consumer touch point – retail – which makes a listener’s interaction with the brand as interesting as possible. Future Radio has already started in-store radio in some of these consumer touch points. Popular radio station Red FM has been playing across Pantaloon outlets, while Big FM plays out across Big Bazaar and Food Bazaar outlets. Over time, Future Media has plans to launch its own in-store radio network.
Q. How many screens does Future Media have?
Future TV has about 1,500 screens across 35 cities, while Future Fuel has 67 screens in Delhi.
Q. Who are your major clients in India?
In little more than a year, Future Media has provided solutions to more than 350 clients. Our client basket is a mixed bag of brands from various industries, and it does not necessarily include only brands that retail from our retail formats. An interesting trend that we have observed is the fact that nearly 50 per cent of brands advertising with us are brands that do not retail from these retail formats. Financial clients like HDFC, ICICI, UTI Mutual Fund, Barclays Bank, Centurion Bank, automobile clients like Pajero, Skoda, TVS, entertainment brands like BBC, Zee, Sony, Star, UTV, Sony Pictures, Sahara Filmy, FMCG brands like Kelloggs, Ponds, Lakme, Dove, Garnier are some of the clients that we have worked with.
Q. Who are your competitors?
We compete with all other forms of media, be it television, print, radio, online or mobile, as we all are vying for the same thing – the evasive consumer eyeballs.
Q. What are the technological advances that the medium is witnessing?
Technology plays a great role in increasing interactivity with the consumers. Innovations like multi-scrollers, interactive show windows, point-casting in the case of Future TV, will not only enhance engagement, but also help brands drive growth in their sales.