PMAR 2021: The media trend of ‘hybridization’ is the way of the future: Apurva Purohit

At the unveiling of the Pitch Madison Report 2021, Purohit, President, Jagran Prakashan, shared insights on getting print, OOH, and radio back to their glory days

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Updated: Feb 19, 2021 12:26 PM
Apurva Purohit

The Pitch Madison Report 2021 was unveiled yesterday, Wednesday, February 17th, 2021 in Mumbai. The highlights were given by the eminent ad industry leader Madison World’s Chairman and Managing Director, Sam Balsara. PMAR 2021 predicts a 26% growth for ADEX in 2021, taking advertising expenditure to Rs. 68,325 crore, almost the same level as 2019. 

After the report was presented, prominent industry leaders had intriguing sessions on various forms of media at the virtual conference of PMAR 2021. The second session witnessed Apurva Purohit, President, Jagran Prakashan, who shared insights on the topic ‘Getting Print, Outdoor and Radio back to Good Times.’

Starting the session, Purohit sharing her views on how things will shape up going forward said, “It is less about what occurred last year but more about what choices we will make going forward. This moment we are in today is a seminal one. As never before there has been a probability of a positive outcome or a negative outcome which is absolutely the same. There is a 50% chance that things will get better and we’ll see hope. Equally, there is a 50% probability that things can go far worse than they have been today.”

Talking about the measures to make the future brighter, Purohit says, “It is going to be about the choices leaders, managers of media make. The learnings that are taken over the last year are going to be the only differentiator whether we will have hope or not. To draw the right conclusion and choices leaders need to know which trends in their business or industry are going to be the long-term ones and that the trends they need to latch on to witness growth.” 

Purohit shared insights about the trends that will play out for the media industry and macro trends that will define the future. The first trend that Purohit highlighted was ‘Hybridization’. She stated, “We have understood in bits and pieces that Hybridization is the way of the future. But it is only last year where we saw hybridization has come into every facet of our life. Whether it be WFH, there is a hybrid model that everyone is following where some are working at home and others are at the office. Similarly, we are seeing this trend in the retail industry. Purpose and Phygital is how all marketers are thinking about their businesses. People are also realizing that the trend can not only be entirely brick and mortar or entirely digital. A model in between the two will be a more successful one. Repeatedly, Consumers are saying that they want to purchase both online and offline. They still want the touch and feel.” 

Clients and advertisers Purohit pointed out have understood the power of ‘hybrid’ and media buyers and sellers need to provide them with this solution. 

Purohit added, “Media is structured in binary fashion. For several years now, we have been buying and selling media in a binary fashion. Either it is a TV consumer or Radio consumer. Either it is you are experiencing OOH or not. Even if someone wants to do a Radio+Digital plan, there will be a radio buyer and a digital agency. Whereas, the reality is the media consumer has historically always been hybrid.”

Decade after decade, we have borne witness to Print, Radio, and Television reach has been going up. Digital media has come in but despite that 2010-2019 IRS numbers show that even though digital is on the rise time spent on print and radio hasn’t lowered dramatically. Time spent on all media has gone up, the unfortunate factor is that all media plans are single media plans. The consumer too has become a hybrid consumer. 

Purohit explained, “Research shows that only if you take multiple media only then you can efficiently and effectively reach out to the hybrid consumer which is platform agnostic and media agnostic. Several years ago when RAM and TAM together did a survey, they pointed out that if 10% of the given TV budget were re-plowed on radio the efficiency of the campaign would improve by 15%.” 

The second trend Purohit shed light on was news content and its credibility. She shared, “News is no longer a word but coming attached with a prefix of fake. Trust of legacy media has gone up as credibility in content has gone down. When there is uncertainty around us we tend to go back to brands that we trusted and grew up with. A media credibility study done recently pointed out that Print has the highest credibility as these print media brands have been around for centuries. There is a fact-checking procedure that goes into print. Secondly, radio too has credibility as pointed out in the research survey. This is not so much to do with the medium of radio but a lot to do with the RJ’s. Consistently, all radio stations have artists who have been interacting on a personal basis with the listeners over a long period.”

Much before this rise of influencers, RJs had started building their community who believed and trusted them. An exciting trend that is seen is that more often advertisers are asking to be associated with credible micro-influencers of legacy media platforms. Purohit pointed out that one RJ in a smaller city a campaign that was done on his page saw 8 times more the number of views vs the campaign that was done on the brand's page. 

Purohit stressed the importance of Publishers having the courage to get a subscription-pay model going. She said, “If you can give credible content there will be no impact on circulation. For example, for Gujrati Miday and Inquilab newspaper we have steadily been raising the cover price every year and it is twice the cover price of an English broadsheet of the same city but there has been no difference in circulation.” 

The last trend she shared was on engagement. She remarked, “I have only seen engagement with media go up; when we first started media planning and buying, it was a passive form of interaction now it isn’t. Now there is a plethora of TV channels and radio stations. The frequency and engagement have gone up. Today, it is also about interaction and user-generated content that is the level of engagement the consumer is having with media.”

In the last few years, The transition has gone from a passive media system to an interactive media system. 

Purohit stated, “In the last 20 years, unfortunately, we have seen an increased commoditization as the only conversation is on CPT. On the one hand, we see engagement go up with our direct consumer but equally, we are seeing a decrease in engagement. There is a dramatic rise in media consumption that has been in tandem with the devaluation of our ecosystem, Indian media consumers are spending as much time as in the US and China. But the difference in per capita spend is glaring. 32 dollars is the per capita spent in India, 222 dollars is the per capita spent in China, and 2260 is the per capita spent in the USA.” 

In her closing remarks, Purohit said, “Getting consumers to pay for content is the only way to de-risk the media business model for all consumers. Our consumers are spending 9 hrs on media but the size of the media industry is 1% of the GDP. When it should be at the center of the GDP.  All hope is not lost as engagement with media goes up, we need to figure out ways on how to monetize the value that our customer is getting from their increased engagement. It is not only about Print, Media, and Radio it should be about the entire media ecosystem. The choice whether we will see hope or despair is a choice that we have to make by understanding our consumer, advertisers and coming up with new ways of engagement so that we can extract the maximum value for the media as a whole.” 

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