<strong>(Christopher Slaughter)</strong> Digitisation is the largest single movement for commercial priority and consumer choice taking place anywhere in the world. Given the size of the Indian market, the sheer ambitiousness makes it the biggest thing in the pay TV industry. It will bring in greater transparency and the latest technology to the broadcast sector.
We need more Aggies and Paddys to take Taproot to the next level... We are very greedy when it comes to work, we treat everything like an opportunity, we have no personal or social life, we compromise that for work. Once we get the brief, we are very excited to see it in some media form. We still behave like a small kid when he sees a new toy; this whole domino effect is what gives us the edge.
Clients are now becoming quite brave in terms of the choices that they might take, but I think it is still a slightly risk averse bravery. Clients are not in a position where they can endlessly experiment, so they need to know that if they are being brave there is a strong likelihood that there is going to be some kind of success at the end of the day
Digital has to be our focus area, under that digital space you have got everything – from saying how do I use the data that the digital world is generating to give me better insights, better accountability to help clients put together the data that they already have. The definition of digital is going to change as more of us migrate more of our online behaviour to tablets or handphones. I don’t know yet whether the advertising dollars are necessarily flowing in as quickly to follow our behaviour. But that has certainly been a challenge as an industry for the last 20 years.
If you are talking about digital or traditional, you are obsolete; today everything is holistic. When consumers are exposed to different messages, they don’t think ‘now I’m going to watch traditional’ and ‘now is my time to watch digital’. They just watch. They are just impacted. It is all about how to be efficient to reach the consumer and to influence the consumer.
Brand aesthetics and the financial impact cannot live in isolation, what you will see is more focus on the brand being able to financially justify themselves. Design of the brand is the best way for it to truly distinguish itself, as long as the design of the brand is representative of the experience consumers expect to have with it.
The readers are heading towards a zone of content and zone of information not necessarily bound by traditional vehicles. Readers are continuing to consume content, but their format is changing from access A to B. Hence, my feeling is that it is the peripheral people who had came in, who are dropping out, because the value that they were getting earlier because of some promotional activities are no longer available.
India is far more complex, if you had to compare it with Europe. Yes, there are cultural differences in Europe as well but by and large the imagery is fairly consistent and homogenous; because the social stratification and education is such that you can have communication that works across the board. You regionalise it for bits and pieces and language, but you are not looking at the lowest common denominator when you are creating communication. So, India is complex from that point of view, which is why the extra science helps.
Ministry of MIB has taken several path-breaking digital initiatives. YouTube channel of MIB Ministry is a big hit; we have more than one lakh likes. Also, every meeting that takes place on digitisation or any other important issue is put on the website of the ministry. We also have a regular blog. Ministry has appointed special set of officers from the Indian information service who have been specially drafted by the ministry to work on social media and they are doing extremely well
New media is not eating into the pie of print content. If you pick any successful digital media portal, invariably it is a replica of the print publication. Most digital content is riding on the back of traditional media, whether it is broadcast or print… As long as we can evolve a new paid model in digital, print has nothing to fear. But so far there are no successful and sustaining digital revenue models. Some day all publishers will realise that we need to have a paid model on digital as well.
TV advertising remains a powerful medium. Our efforts with regions with a localised approach and tailored content should help us tap the market further. Increasing audience engagement will also be key. We will work with our clients on ad formats and targeted ads. Innovative content distribution over digital platforms, better video experience for users, and consistency of experience across our platforms will help us on the distribution side as well.
Our statistics show that 67 per cent people believe in social media, whereas only 17 per cent people believe in advertising. The power of social media today has truly changed customer service. Post purchase service and experience play a big role today; a satisfied customer will post a great review which is greater than all the huge advertisements that the company might put out.
If you love what you do and you build it, margins eventually come. Everything is about geography and technology. Geography is easier to figure out but technology is not. It is very difficult to put your money on something because it is possible that what looks good one day, may not look as good the next day. That said, a company such as WPP is in a very interesting position because the more complex this ecosystem becomes, the more important our role becomes.
There has to be concerted efforts on part of the government, the regulator, MSOs, cable operators and broadcasters to quickly map out which of the 38 cities are doable and which are not doable, as it is better to postpone the date in those cities that are not doable instead of doing half-baked digitisation. My personal expectation is that of the 38 cities, digitisation will happen in about 25 cities.
Digitisation of business is more important than digitising the marketing. Digitisation of business is digitally powering the integration of all of the communication process, data analysis, data collection, marketing and understanding the manufacturing. One can mine information from social media by looking at the conversations and sparking discussions around it that will eventually tell whether the current product is going to survive or not.
Our aim is to strengthen our position India. We have announced a while ago that we want to make India a clear area of focus and we want to double the size of our operations. We are focused right now to give enough power and resources to our agencies here for us to achieve this target figure.
“The opportunity of digital media is vast – from basic sales, marketing, branding to HR, relationship management, repeat cycles management, free brand endorsing and building a brand experience. With the onset of mobile/digital media, the possibility for a brand to engage with a consumer and lead them to a sale is immense, but completely untapped.”
It is still early days of digitisation in the metros, let it play out and shortly we will experience the changes. Both viewers and broadcasters will get the advantage. Viewers will get to choose what they want to watch and many more channels will be placed now. The fact of the matter is content is king and now with digitisation, you will get to see more and more mature content.
The factual entertainment genre in India has grown by 29 per cent since History TV18’s debut, and the channel is the number one factual entertainment channel across some key metrics. India is an interesting market for factual. Some other territories have been reticent to push the boundaries of the genre, though when they do, viewers are very open to the change. That’s not the case in India; it’s an exciting, dynamic market at the forefront of new programming trends.