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Can television's loss be digital's gain?

16-July-2013
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Can television's loss be digital's gain?

Few broadcasters shifting to monthly rating has opened a Pandora’s Box that offers an array of opportunities amongst all the chaos. While the TAM – broadcasters saga revolved only around the TV industry, it widened its reach as soon as some of the major advertisers including HUL, P&G and Dabur pulled out from channels opting monthly rating. Top advertisers pulling out raises the question of whether television’s loss will turn out to be other platforms’ gain, as marketers try to compensate the loss of visibility.

Rise of digital television, YouTube channels of broadcasters and high quality video content has given rise to an entirely new digital broadcasting space. exchange4media takes a look at how dip in television advertising can impact the Indian digital space…

Is digital on the winning side?
Online video advertising has adapted the television advertising format, with increasing number of users accessing content online. However, is the medium strong enough to capture extra investment?

PM Balakrishna, COO, Allied Media explained that it is too early to comment on the development. “The stand-off between TAM and broadcasters will go away eventually. It is all a part of the larger debate. While digital is treated as a serious option, it cannot be replacement to television.”

A reputed marketer shared with exchange4media that if marketers invest ‘X’ amount on digital, it is a well calculated decision; not because there is lack of funds. Thus, even if advertisers pull out of television, they might not add those funds to digital.

Also, internet penetration is still a threat that continues to loom over the industry especially when it comes to tier II and III cities. Amit Tiwari, Country Head – Media, Philips India pointed out that internet is primarily for youth and it will take time to reach beyond those limits.

“Whether ratings are weekly or monthly should not impact investment in television or digital. It is all about the content battle. Marketers should observe the content consumption pattern and viewership according to the time band. Behaviour and strength shift of the TG will matter,” said Tiwari.

While digital will not be replacing television, a certain spurt is expected in the medium, say experts. Amin Lakhani, Leader, South Asia, Team Unilever – Mindshare explained that all platforms, including digital, are slated to witness a growth. “All marketers need to sell their product and thus, there is a potential opportunity everywhere. Clients are looking at alternate options and want to spend. Digital has the lowest hanging fruit of all the media. Online video advertising will witness great impetus.”

Sabyasachi Mitter, MD, ibs expressed that there are two ways to look at the situation. The ratings row is a temporary situation and things might soon get back to normal. However, in the meanwhile, advertisers need to make a sale and will invest in digital. But will that investment sustain is a different question. “The major benefit of the situation is that the advertisers who did not invest aggressively in the medium will now use it aggressively and understand its scalability and strength.”

Online video consumption has risen significantly in the recent past, giving a major impetus to video advertising. However, will the current scenario give digital a firmer ground for growth or will imply as a mere change in situation is a question that can be answered only with time. Nonetheless, digital, as an advertising medium, does hold tremendous potential. 

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