EMM is not about audit but media mgmt: Stephen White

Stephen White, Chairman, EMM India, expects media audit in India to grow to 25% of all advertising from the current 5%, if it has the right environment

e4m by Noor Fathima Warsia
Updated: Jan 23, 2012 7:35 AM
EMM is not about audit but media mgmt: Stephen White

Global media management performance and auditing consultancy firm EMM International made an official foray into India in November 2011, when it entered into an equal partnership with Indraksh Media & Management Services to launch EMM India. For Stephen White, Founder and Chairman, EMM International, India is “the top priority” for the company at present, and that is one reason why White himself is leading EMM India as its Chairman. Indraksh Media’s Yuvraj Agarwal is the CEO of EMM India.

In a manner of speaking, EMM is no stranger to India, since it has worked as a subcontractor with Spatial Access, which is the only company in India that has dabbled in this space. Spatial Access has been around for over nine years now and EMM is of the opinion that the time is right for the market to see more competition.

It has been two months since EMM India has been offering its services to advertisers and agencies, even though it has been in conversations with key players in the industry for over a year. EMM India is already working with advertisers such as Intel.

Riding on a growth market
Before entering the market, EMM International undertook some extensive spadework, including a survey with 200 agencies and advertisers that reiterated the company’s belief that there was space for more media audit players in the market. “I don’t like the word audit,” stated White, adding, “Audit sounds like a policeman, we are a media management company. We also show advertisers all the good work their agencies are doing.”

The media audit space itself is a small pie at present, more so in a country like India, where the market share is pegged at around 5 per cent of all advertising. For White that was the very reason for a company such as EMM to be bullish on India. He explained, “Almost 60 per cent of all advertising is measured by one of four or five audit agencies in the UK. In the US, it is 20-25 per cent and Russia, too, is at 20 per cent. India will be around 5 per cent and it can easily go to 20-30 per cent in the next two years, if we are able to do this well.”

The two reasons why White is expecting this increase is because of the growth market that India is and that the Indian marketplace is dominated by multinational advertisers, who are already being measured in some way in markets like the US or the UK.

The critical friend
Before taking the decision to launch in India, EMM spoke to media agencies. White said, “Often, it is the advertisers that don’t know all the good work their agencies are doing. I am empathetic of how agencies feel. Most agencies feel that media audit is about telling advertisers how bad their agencies are, but that is simply not the case.”

EMM has successfully established an incentive-based model in various countries, which gives agencies the chance to earn more, such as in cases of exceptional delivery. “Both procurement and marketing like this,” White added.

According to him, one of the biggest strengths of EMM India was that it was a combination of global best practices and knowledge of the Indian marketplace. “I believe this will grow into an Indian gateway. There are many advertisers coming into India that don’t necessarily know enough about the market and there are enough Indian companies that are looking at making a foray into international markets and they don’t know enough of that either. We will be well placed to be a critical friend to both these sets of advertisers,” White added.

EMM India has offices in Mumbai and Delhi and a team strength of 50-55 in India that is primarily working as the frontend office. The queries from the market will still be processed in the EMM UK offices. “Gradually, we expect that a lot of work would be done in India, and then India can grow into the market that can process international queries as well,” White informed.

In White’s own words, he is a coach-turned-gamekeeper, given his media agency experience prior to having launched EMM International. He concluded by saying, “We have embarked on a journey of making media in India ever more accountable and rewarded.”

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