Ad industry experts share ways to unlock the next growth opportunity

On the panel were Vikram Sakhuja, Shashi Sinha, Kavita Nair, Anupriya Acharya and Amin Lakhani. The discussion was moderated by Nawal Ahuja, Co-founder & Director, e4m

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Updated: Sep 27, 2019 12:41 PM



The ad industry is under immense pressure to change its strategy and business models. The sector has witnessed a lot of disruptions this year, with the impact of regulations, NTO, OTT and digital video consumption becoming more prominent. With the industry undergoing stagnation of sorts, what can stakeholders do to be on the top of the game? The question was answered by a panel of industry leaders at the 19th edition of e4m Conclave held on September 24 at Taj Santacruz, Mumbai.

On the panel were Vikram Sakhuja, Group CEO, Madison Media & OOH; Shashi Sinha, CEO, IPG Mediabrands; Kavita Nair, Chief Digital Transformation Officer, Vodafone Idea Limited; Anupriya Acharya, Chief Executive Officer, Publicis Media; and Amin Lakhani, COO, South Asia, Mindshare. The topic of discussion was ‘Unlocking ad industry’s next growth opportunity’. The discussion was moderated by Nawal Ahuja, Co-founder & Director, exchange4media. 

The first part of the discussion was: Are things going to get better or worse? Sakhuja started off by saying, “When we downgraded the entire growth of the year in the Pitch Madison report, the only one we dropped was TV by about 6-7 points. The reason was that we saw the NTO happening, but didn’t see the implications of that. That really led to a whole lot of advertisers developing cold feet, therefore, reducing spends on TV. The rest of the mediums actually went as planned.”

“The second quarter also grew on the back of IPL, Cricket World Cup and elections. With the announcements by the Finance Minister, I think the last quarter will bounce back. We are going to have growth this year vs last year. But how much percentage, is something that remains to be seen.”

Adding to the point, Sinha shared, “It was looking tough this quarter, and I think, the latter part of the year Nov-Dec will be tough. Although, with Friday’s announcement, the sentiment has changed. The economy is in trouble because of structural reasons that are not going to go away in the long term.”

Talking about what an agency can do to bring more knowledge and insights to the table, Nair commented, “First is to challenge the existing model. We are all in the world that we saw and grew up in. We see the world as ATL, BTL, TV, Print, OOH. I don’t think the consumer processes like that anymore. I don’t know how many look at outdoor when they are moving. Are they on their smartphones or looking at OOH? The agency ecosystem has to get to problem solving rather than worrying about their own businesses and whether it will work for them.”

Acharya remarked, “As media agencies, the kind of solutions being provided to clients have changed in the last three years. The role of agencies will continue till there is value on the table.”

Next came the question: How should large agency groups be equipped to deal with start-ups that are led by 25-year-olds?

“It is very important to have a start-up mindset even if you are in a large organisation,” said Lakhani.

Talking about young agencies vs the established ones, Sakhuja commented, “The young ones are very good in managing the digital ecosystem, but very little out of it. We should keep ourselves surrounded with fresh minds.”

Ending the discussion on a positive note, Sinha concluded, “Quality talent is what we need to crack in order to grow as an industry.”

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