In the current landscape of the Indian advertising market where print seems to be losing ground and with digital still far from making the impact it threatens to be capable of, TV clearly remains the biggest and best choice for brands and advertisers.
TV advertising is in a good place for now and in the near future, but all stakeholders need to be mindful of the long term and take a lesson or two from more mature markets in the West.
The subcontinent in some ways has an advantage over the West with the best of technology helping distribution and consumption of content while the market is still in a growth phase as opposed to more mature markets which had to grapple with the complex migration issue of analogue to digital at a time when growth had already plateaued.
The longer dual illumination phase of migration also propelled the digital growth of IPTV, OTT and on-demand offering economical and convenient ways of consuming content, thus challenging traditional distribution and advertising.
My personal view is that digital has a great future for the functionality, convenience and mobility it provides but it will never be able to substitute TV for the living room experience for content like movies and live sport.
The positives for this legacy business include how in spite of digital explosion and its potential threat to TV dollars even in mature markets, TV spends have not declined and media planners and buyers still continue to put faith and brands on this medium.
Sponsorship innovation, product placement and brand integrations complemented by programmatic, targeted advertising, dynamic ad insertion, interactive data capturing, profiling, etc is a boon to the planner and brand managers.
Innovations and creative brand solutions tried in the UK and the US include:
Dynamic second screen sequential ads: This could be a game changer. It involves linking a television on-air ad with a follow up ad in sequence on a tablet, laptop or mobile telling a story and engaging the viewer through all the connected mediums.
Live ads: Waitrose in the UK had 30-second advertising spots using live stream from a real farm to promote its ‘Fresh and Organic’ range.
Contextual advertising: McDonald’s brought real people together in an ad spot where they were drinking coffee at McDonald’s and having a conversation directly relating to the show the spot was running on.
Advanced product placement: Channel 5 offered Gumtree (a second hand goods website) a unique way to drive new visitors to the site. It placed some of the goods in the Big Brother house which were later offered to the viewers to win and buy directly from the website.
Themed ad breaks: During the final of Dancing On Ice on ITV, all ad breaks were used to promote The LEGO Movie release by having current commercials by advertisers being remade using Lego.
T-commerce: Smart TV enables viewers to buy the product they see on the channel. H&M experimented with this at Super Bowl to allow viewers the chance to purchase the featured products.
The Indian media industry has caught up with the more developed markets in the last decade. But unlike mature markets where the growth of TV advertising is challenged by digital and piracy, both traditional and digital continue to register healthy growth in India.
However, a word of caution for channels and media agencies will be to learn from the trends which are hampering growth in mature markets and be better prepared once the sheer volume growth curve starts to tail off.
The author is EVP & head of international business, Sony Pictures Network