Media buying houses in reinvention mode

Written by Lalitha Srinivasan | Mumbai | Updated: Aug 29 2009, 04:31am hrs
The rules of the game have changed in the Rs 22,000-crore media buying industry. To woo advertisers, media agencies are rewriting existing paradigms and increasing efficiencies at every stage while handling business. Leading media buying agencies Starcom MediaVest, Lintas Media Group, Madison Media and Group M (part of WPP Group Plc) are re-modeling their operations to adapt to changing needs of clients.

For instance, Starcom MediaVest is focusing on creating customer value to gain a competitive edge. Ravi Kiran, CEO, South-Asia, Starcom MediaVest Group, said, We are redefining the way we look at our clients' customers so as to deliver a human experience, and not just ads.

On the other hand, Lintas Media Group is working on complete partnership with clients to deliver the various pieces of the communications puzzle. This is the need of the hour and what we are focusing upon. A lot of 'planning only' initiatives with clients, who either do not spend too much money on promoting themselves or indulge in a lot of barter because of the nature of the business, is something we are working on a lot, said Sudha Natrajan, CEO of Lintas Media.

In the fast-paced Indian media buying industry, the accent seems to be on digital, experiential marketing and focus on better use of data. Vikram Sakhuja, CEO, South-Asia, Group M, said, Marketers need to stop being overly cautious and start investing judiciously behind brands. This is my recommendation to all my clients.

Punitha Arumugam, group CEO of Madison Media, said the media environment is dramatically changing as ad budgets shrink day by day. Supply is more than demand. We believe in working towards a win-win partnership with clients and media owners. We would continue to do by ensuring media owners get the revenues and clients get more ROI for the same ad spends as last year, she added.

Indian advertisers are increasingly opting for digital communication as it is cost-effective. According to Natrajan, advertisers have certainly used the digital medium more in the past one year than they have before, but the share of the medium is still about 1% of the total media spends. Most advertising agencies have their own digital arm, either as a stand-alone offering, or digital planners and buyers integrated as part of the planning and buying teams, so it really does not affect media buying agencies, she explained.