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With state elections and multiple big-ticket sports events, including the Indian Premier League (IPL), being held in the country, advertisers are looking to leverage different media platforms to woo consumers this year. While the pressures of the global slowdown are imminent, India remains a bright spot for many brand categories.
In an interaction with Storyboard18, Amol Dighe, CEO of Investments and Business Development at one homegrown media investments company, Madison Media, which handles clients such as Godrej, Asian Paints, Marico, Pidilite, and Cipla Healthcare, talks about adex growth, big shifts in the media landscape, and why broadcasters are looking at integrated ad deals.
As the world prepares for a slowdown, how are you preparing as an agency as clients may become cautious when it comes to media spends in India? Do you see a slower Adex growth for this year?
Despite global challenges like the Russia Ukraine conflict, high inflation and global slowdown, global Adex reportedly still managed to grow at 8 percent. This growth was comparable to the CAGR of earlier years. The Indian Adex also grew at a healthy rate in spite of a muted last quarter in 2022. The overall growth was led by digital with traditional also on the growth path. However, we estimate that growth in Indian Media in 2023 will be slightly muted and as per Madison Pitch Report, the growth will be in the range of 16 percent. This is largely due to global impact and inflation etc.
How does the media spend on news genre looks given its an election year?
This year 13 states will go to elections. Some of them already have and things will heat up from April onwards. So, it will be a boost to the news channels revenues which are under stress due to the genre falling in ratings and the overall soft market conditions
What are the big shifts in the media landscape today both globally and in India?
We have been seeing a continuing shift towards digital spends. In 2022, the digital share of spending increased compared to 2021. And the comforting factor is Adex in developing nations continues to grow at a much faster pace than the global average. I don’t think this is going to change significantly in the next few years. Coming to India, the digital share is growing but is still much lesser compared to the global average. So, traditional mediums are still going strong. Print is recovering and other mediums like outdoor and cinema will also grow in the coming years. The one big area of growth is sports in India. With IPL becoming bigger on multi-platforms and cricket expanding its scope to females, the sport offers many opportunities for brands to associate throughout the year.
Also, one big shift will be how sports reaches out to more consumers through digital. With media companies offering attractive schemes for consumers to watch sport on digital platforms, it will certainly lead to more consumption. However, the question is will it lead to overall consumption of sport going up or a consumption shift from one medium to another. This could certainly alter advertiser choices going ahead. Also, there will be intense competition between companies to garner a higher share of spending between TV and Digital for the same tournaments as far as sports is concerned.
In a dynamic world of today, what are the key strategies that can help planners/buyers to do their job better?
We have seen how digital has evolved so quickly and has become a strong medium for advertisers. It’s no longer a support medium and has become one of the leading mediums. It’s challenging and at the same time exciting for planners and buyers to build plans now. A lot of creativity and out-of-box thinking is put in when plans are made now. Bundled deals or integrated deals are in the offering and networks also have realised that integrated deals are the need of the hour now. Planning and buying is becoming media neutral, which is the right direction.
What are the key skills and traits it takes to be a media planner and buyer today?
Today’s media environment is more challenging than in the past. Fragmentation, shifts in media consumption, and consumer behaviors are becoming more and more difficult to predict. A good media planner and buyer today should be media-neutral and more consumer and business-centric. They should have the ability to think beyond the media and think about more business outcomes for the brand. Hence, creativity and conviction become very important. In addition to using science in the plans, they should also be able to layer it with what will be more impactful for the brand and the business. In the past, there have been many cases of unconventional thinking in unconventional categories using media to drive business. More importantly, the planner and buyer should have fun building their plans.
What are your immediate priority areas for Madison Media and OOH?
Our focus has always been on how to become a trusted advisor to our clients by helping them achieve their outcomes. Our constant new account wins and client retention record shows that we are succeeding. We see ourselves as our client’s business partner and not just a media agency. All our businesses are firing; there is increased interest in social, digital, and OOH. We are also witnessing the power of India rising, with a lot of previously small clients developing big aspirations and backing them with increased advertising spends.
What are your targets for 2023?
We have grown very well in 2022, despite being a year plagued with high raw material prices for our clients. On the back of such growth, we have laid out ambitious plans for 2023. We are also continuously working on improving the quality and effectiveness of our plans and not just our numbers.