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Ifra India 2005 afternoon session deliberates on advertising ideas and the media

22-September-2005
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Ifra India 2005 afternoon session deliberates on advertising ideas and the media

The afternoon session of the thirteenth Ifra India 2005 conference saw some interesting insights from the advertisers. While newspaper houses churn out the perfect content to retain and gain new eyeballs, what was it that advertisers, who put in a lot of money in different media, expect from the newspaper houses?

The post-lunch session was chaired by Andrew Lynch, Consultant Editor, Asian Newspaper Focus. The first speaker was Dr Kai Schilling, Manager Partner, Roses Business Consulting, Germany, who spoke on ‘The advertising market: Strategic planning for publishers’.

Commenting on the content market, Schilling pointed out some commonly known facts – overall positive demographic development, dramatic change in readers’ lifestyles, new diversity in reading patterns and multiple points of access for news and information today. In short, it was “impossible to create ‘the’ one product to satisfy all readers”, Schilling said.

Presenting the advertising market, he said due to fierce competition, pressure to find customers was on the rise, and accordingly advertising expenditures were on the rise too. Further, advertisers were demanding instant results or monitoring, he said. Another problem area was that image and sales were often planned by different agencies, hence it was difficult to approach the right person. In other words, “it is impossible to create ‘the’ one product to satisfy all customers.”

But, according to Schilling, good news was that printing technology was becoming more flexible – both at the individual level and corporate level. Digitising of data had created a myriad new media, which in turn created new formats that demand new content and ads. There were new players now in distribution of content, Schilling said, adding, “The demand for new formats demands a new set of competitors.”

“Media is a growing market and a growing industry,” he noted, adding, “Adapt the content value chain to the age of digitisation.” There was growing demand for the e-paper format now, which meant that there had to be flexibility in creation. A single editor might be expected to write content for multiple formats like for iPods, SMS, Blackberry, e-paper. Moreover, creation today should mirror the multiple product approach as against yesterday’s mono-product approach.

Schilling, however, added, “Flexibility in creation should lead to additional formats no additional cost.”

Not only this, there was also a growing and a more demanding ad market, which Schilling termed as geotargeting.

The next speaker, Garbis Kesisoglu, Media Consultant, Hurriyet, Turkey, presented an interesting case study of the Turkish newspaper Hurriyet, which means ‘freedom’ in Turkish.

In order to drive circulation, the paper went on an aggressive promotion spree which involved giving coupons along with the newspaper that could help readers win prizes from toothpastes to dinner sets to cars and even luxury apartments.

Needless to say, this exercise drove up circulation of the Hurriyet to nearly a million at the peak of the campaign. That was till the Turkish government clamped down and put an end to all the promotion campaigns and readership fell by nearly 50 per cent.

However, the readership base created by this campaign was further developed by ads that stressed on ‘freedom to be’.

Vivek Bali, Senior Vice-President-Marketing, Airtel, India, on the other hand presented the ‘Advertiser perspectives’. He started out by giving a brief background of the Indian mobile phone market.

According to Bali, the wireless subscriber base stood at 62 million in August 2005, which was projected to reach 200 million by 2007. Revenues are expected to triple to $23-25 billion by 2007.

Tele-density, which stood at 2 per cent in 1999, has jumped to 9.5 per cent in 2005 and set to touch 20 per cent in the next five years. However, Bali said, India’s tele-density was still way below when compared to Singapore (the highest tele-density of 91 per cent) and the US (tele-density of 70 per cent).

Giving his views on the current media scenario, Bali said, “There are increased number of touchpoints with consumers now. While there were 50 TV channels in 1996, there aer 287 now. As a result, media today is a lot more fragmented.”

He further said that India lacked a national media, while the only event that delivered was cricket. Moreover, spiraling media investment was also not a good sign. “Media inflation stood at an average 10-10 per cent every year,” Bali pointed out. Hence, he said, it was imperative to create brand solutions that looked beyond the 100 CC ad or the 30-second TV commercial.

And what did he expect from the media? “Share your market expertise,” he insisted, adding, “Focus on providing solutions, invest in technology, embrace new medium like PDAs, digital mode, more accountability and innovation.”

The final speaker in the afternoon session was the energetic Mike Blinder, President, Blinder Group, USA, who spoke on ‘Netting a better bottom line: proven methods in multi-media revenue generation for the newspaper industry’.

According to Blinder, it was a multi-media street fighting out there. There was need to first get in the door as well as crafting a solution, be it media or the message. There was need to redifine the media itself. “It is not newspapers, but information providers,” Blinder stressed.

He further said that today’s reader was the Net-savvy young, affluent, educated, growing and employed person. So there has to be a convergence of the traditional print media with the Internet and cross-promotions as well as cross-linking. To stress home his point, Blinder gave several examples like TimesDispatch.com, JournalNow.com, TBO.com, etc.

What emerged was the need for a synergy between the need for technological innovation and adapting content for the new media plus a perfect media mix to keep the advertisers happy.

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