Digitisation of media, whether be it outdoor, or print or even TV, is one way that regional media can attract more national players. The view was in consensus amongst the panellists (on Luring National Advertisers to Regional Media: Challenges & Opportunities) at Pitch CMO Summit 2012 – South, in Hyderabad on June 19.
On the panel were I Venkat, Director, Eenadu Publications; Ramesh Bhaskar, VP, Marketing, Big FM; Suresh Reddy, Chairman and CEO, Ybrant Technologies; and Syed Musharraf Mehdi, MD, Ad Age Outdoor Advertising. The panel was moderated by Sriram Gopalakishnan, Director, Marketing and Communication, Indian School of Business.
The debate couldn't have come at more appropriate time, when the government has deferred the date of mandatory digitisation of TV in the four metros to October 31.
However, the challenge, the panellists said is that players, particularly in the regional media space, do not understand digital very well.
Speaking on challenges faced by the outdoor industry, particularly in the regional space, Mehdi said that 70-80 per cent of business is rooted through media agencies. “There are not too many players who cover the state (Andhra Pradesh) alone or the city (Hyderabad) alone. At the same time, he did assure that there are some national advertisers who are approaching the local outdoor industry directly.
He raised a point that it is difficult to get digitisation to outdoor industry because of government regulations, which prohibited ‘visual pollution’ and hence technologies such as LED can not be used.
I Venkat was of the opinion that it is mandatory now for newspapers to adopt digital and converge the medium. He was sure, while there is no immediate threat to the print industry, unlike the West, where major and century-old media houses have shut down their print shop, in India too print will have to go digital to have a long-term survival plan. He felt that the youth particularly is not consuming newspapers and opt for more on the internet, through various gadgets. He felt that newspapers too have to be on these gadgets to reach out to this audience, and it is also a way how national advertisers can be attracted to regional media.
He rued the fact that while national advertisers did much lip service when it came to rural marketing, but when it comes to conveying the message they are not reaching out to them effectively. He felt that print in Andhra Pradesh has segmented itself quite well, and that hyper local needs of national players or even regional advertisers can be executed in a niche way.
Meanwhile, Suresh Reddy felt that the web is more inclined to get hyper local and actively cater to the needs of national advertisers. Considering that there are measurement tools, RoI can be effectively measured.
Meanwhile, Ramesh Bhaskar said that due to the nature of the medium, radio is more inclined to get hyper local and engage the consumers more in an interactive way and thus make national advertisers reach out to the local people.
He, however, pointed out that in the next few years, the convergence of media is bound to happen, and that young are accessing radio, internet, newspapers and TV on the mobile.