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Shelf life of a digital asset is as short as one minute: Daniel Morel

By Anushree Bhattacharyya , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Digital | April 21, 2011
The digital agency Wunderman shifts focus to India, with its upcoming office Super Centre in New Delhi.

Daniel Morel, chairman and chief executive officer, Wunderman, has been with the agency for the last 10 years. Morel, one of the brains behind the fast growth story of the digital agency, talked about his plans for India and shared his thoughts about the growth of digital as one of the most powerful tools for advertisers.

Excerpts from the interview:

afaqs!: Last year, Wunderman's operations was split into two separate entities -- Rediffusion-Wunderman, and Wunderman International -- how much has this strategy worked?

Morel: The decision to create two separate entities was right, keeping in mind the high growth opportunities that countries like China and India offer. We initiated the process three years back. While for the first two years, we worked on this module, it was only last year that we decided to announce it formally. We realised that the global clients have certain requirements when it came to their business model, while India being a land of diverse religion and culture, our clients here need someone who understands the intricacies involved with the local business. So, we partnered with Rediffusion for our local business. We have employed this strategy in markets in China and Europe. We also have a local team in Detroit to look after the Nokia business.

afaqs!: You had once said that one of the biggest challenges for agencies in the future will be the short lifespan of digital content, and will lead to the revamping of the production process. How much has this impacted the business? What are the solutions for this in the long run?

Morel: The shelf of a digital asset is as short as one minute. The way it works is you see the content, pass it on to your friends, and start work soon on another one. This is unlike television, which allows one to recycle the same 30-second commercial in many ways.

Digital, today, mainly faces two types of issues -- recruiting youngsters who are knowledgeable about the platform. And, second, to produce a large amount of content at a reasonable price.

afaqs!: What are your plans for India - how do you plan to tap the business in the country?

& #VIDEO2 & #Morel: India has a combination of a raw pool of talent, knowledge of technology, and low cost of production of content. Therefore, we are developing the content in countries like India where we have a staff of 450 people, Bangladesh where we have 400 people, and Indonesia. We will soon be setting up an office in New Delhi, in India - which we will call the 'Super Centre', where we will be combining data analytic, data manipulative and digital. As part of our growth plans, we are also looking for an ideal partner in India. We hope to get a data and digital local company on board. We are currently working with JWT as our partner, but we are open to acquisition.

afaqs!: How will the game change in the space of digital advertising, especially in the case of a country like India, where it's still at a nascent stage?

Morel: Currently, India does not have many applications as far as mobile is concerned, so in the next 15-18 months, the country will witness the launch of many applications for mobile devices which will be based on the combination of augmented reality, time and location. Apart from this, another section that will witness growth in the future in India is e-commerce.

afaqs!: Going forward - how serious will the business of digital advertising get, apart from social media?

Morel: Social media plays a very vital role and because of the importance of sites like Facebook, we create and aggregate content around the sites. In case of digital, the value of the message is far more powerful in social media than on any other website. However, we still have no metrics or measurement system for digital in India that would give a clear picture of the impact of the sites. Therefore, there is a need to work on establishing a proper measurement system.

Additionally, traditional media will go through a transformation with the addition of digital. Television viewing will become more customised and it is the viewer, who will decide what to watch, when to watch and on what platform, while newspapers will find their presence in tablets.

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