How often do we pause and ponder about industry issues that have a bearing beyond just our rigmaroles? Share insights that can further the common understanding? Or, at the very least, point at things that need to be set right. View Point - an exchange4media platform, will fill this void and become a source of understanding, action and perhaps some inspiration.
Watching less, Reading less, Talking more
Praveen Ramachandra, Business Director, Insights, MindShare, Bangalore
Consumer engagement with a medium is reflected to a large extent by the amount of time they devote to it. This is one of the key considerations for marketers and media planners while allocating media budgets for their brands.
Television still remains one of the most favoured mediums for brand communication. Here, it is interesting to note that Indians are one of the lightest viewers of television across the world, spending less than two hours every day in front of the idiot box, unlike an average American who watches nearly five hours.
But what is more astonishing is that unlike major media markets where television viewing across the years has remained stable (as in the UK, the US and China) or even increased (as in Japan, Brazil and Russia), India is one of the few countries where consumers are watching less TV over the years (down from 122 minutes per day in 2003 to 107 minutes in 2005).
Average Daily TV Viewing Time (In Minutes) –
Countries ranked by % change from 2003 to 2005
(Source : Eurodata TV's One Television Year in the World, a global analysis of TV
viewing across 72 media markets worldwide)
These trends are reflected in television’s share of spends across all media in these countries. In India, a 12 per cent decrease in TV viewing has resulted in a 3 percentage points decrease in TV’s share of spends, whereas in Russia, a 5 per cent increase in TV viewing has resulted in a 5 percentage points gain in TV’s share of spends.
TV’s Share Of Advertising Spends
(Source : WARC Ad spend by Country)
Let’s take a closer look at the drop in television viewing duration in India. One explanation is that the high clutter caused by 300+ channels, along with a perceptible decline in the quality of content, has resulted in lesser time being spent in front of the television.
However, a look at the usage of other media in India shows that time spent on print, the other media with a large reach, is also declining. Internet, even though the time users spend on it is increasing, is still a medium with very low penetration levels.
Media Usage Trends in India
(Source : IRS, Urban India 1lakh+ towns)
Indians are watching less, reading less, and listening less. So where are they spending more time? Share of wallet research has shown that with increasingly busy lifestyles, consumers are spending more money (and hence time) on transportation and communication.
During this period, mobile phone users in India have grown exponentially to nearly 200 million users. Reach in urban areas is high, with industry experts estimating penetration levels over 50 per cent.
One of the lowest call rates in the world, plus incoming calls being free, have resulted in Indians becoming the second heaviest mobile phone talkers in the world, after the Americans.
On an average, they spend about 15 minutes per day talking on their mobiles, up from about 10 minutes a couple of years back. And this does not include the time spent on messaging, where India (unlike the US) is one of the leading nations in terms of messages exchanged.
Mobile Phone Talk Time Trends
(Source : Merrill Lynch survey)
Thus, as penetration of mobile phones in India increases further over the next five years to reach almost universal levels in urban areas – with faster Internet connectivity thrown in using 3G – and high levels in rural ones, mobile phones offer an excellent opportunity to be used as an alternative medium for mass communication, if used in a creative and non-intrusive manner.
(Praveen Ramachandra is Business Director, Insights at MindShare India’s Bangalore office. He can be contacted at Praveen.Ramachandra@mindshareworld.com)