Will traditional media survive the digital era?

The massive growth of digital has pushed traditional media houses in a phase of existential crisis. Though traditional media in India currently attracts big ad dollars, the question is: Will advertisers continue this faith in traditional platforms?

e4m by Ruhail Amin
Updated: May 17, 2018 8:54 AM

Traditional media in India continues to hold its ground. But, at the same time, the growing clout of digital has forced traditional media houses to look at the looming existential crisis that they may encounter few years down the line.

While advertisers are currently spending most on traditional mediums like TV and print, the question that arises is—Is this faith in traditional sustainable? Will advertisers ever overlook traditional for digital or will the two continue to co-exist without getting into a versus debate?

According to Anand Chakravarthy, MD, India-Essence, “In a country the size of India, media penetration of digital will grow over time. Media like TV will continue to dominate the landscape for some time to come. Globally as well as across evolved digital markets, we see the resilience of television despite the fast growth of digital penetration and reach.”

“Typically, in most markets, the growth of digital has impacted print more than television, as is also the case in India. Hence, even over a five-year horizon, while advertisers will certainly increase investments on digital, other media like TV, OOH and even print will continue to enjoy high reach among most audience segments. And therefore, advertisers will continue to invest in these mediums.”

Chakravarthy added, “What may change significantly for some segments -- premium, high digital connectivity etc-- is that the share of digital spends for these segments will grow much faster and eventually digital will be the lead medium, though there will be a role for multimedia yet and hence other media touch points as well. In sum, irrespective of the nature of the digital landscape, multimedia will be an essential need to reach consumers effectively and hence marketers will continue to be interested in and invest in other media along with digital.”

For Deepak Lamba, CEO, Worldwide Media, every medium has its strength in delivering value to a brand by the way of leveraging its various attributes.

He explains, “While digital has definitely become the core of every client and brand's deliverable, traditional mediums such as print, television and others still hold tremendous value. These mediums are also evolving by extending their presence in the digital space. Few years down the line, each will have an all-encompassing engagement plan, which in some cases is already starting to reflect.

“By advertising on a platform that provides a 360-degree engagement opportunity, a brand will gain far more than unidimensional platform and this strategy will only gain more prominence in the coming years."

If we look at the latest ‘This Year Next Year’ (TYNY) report by GroupM, advertising expenditure in India is expected to grow at 13 per cent to touch Rs 69,346 crore in 2018. The report states that among media channels, digital continues to be the fastest growing medium registering 30 per cent growth rate to reach Rs 12,337 crore. Television advertising, on the other hand, is expected to grow by 13 per cent to Rs 31, 596 crore, while print will witness a modest growth of 4 per cent reaching Rs 18, 437 crore in 2018.

Talking about the growing clout of digital, Siddhartha Roy, CEO of Hungama.com, shares that the consumption patterns in India suggest that ad spends on other media would grow as well.

He said, “Over the years, digital media in the country has gained a lot of prominence. From being considered just another medium to connect with the consumers, it has now become an indispensable part of the advertising mix. It offers advertisers an extensive reach, precise targeting and thorough measurement, making it a lucrative way to reach the desired audience.”

“As per a recent study by FICCI and EY, digital advertising saw more than 28 per cent growth in 2017 and constituted 17 per cent of the total advertising. An explosion in the number of connected devices, falling data prices and increased content consumption on digital screens is expected to boost advertising spends even further in the coming decade. Having said that, consumption patterns in India indicate that ad spends on other media would grow as well.”

Ravi Ganesh, Head of Strategy - India, Havas Media, added, “The important point to note here is that while digital has gained share of consumer time spent, it has not substituted traditional media; the total media exposure time of consumers has actually increased substantially. Growth of digital driven by falling data charges and Wifi access will create consumers who will consume both traditional media as well as digital media. Traditional media will continue to be very relevant for advertisers in a country of the size of India.”

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