According to the latest McKinsey report, there were about 5,042 towns and cities in 2008 that has now gone up by an approximate 20 per cent. Also, by 2030, India will have more than 6,000 cities and the number of Tier 2 cities will nearly double during the given period.
"Also, as per the Morgan Stanley Alphawise City Vibrance Report 2011, Kolkata ranks at No. 42 and Mumbai is at No. 26," he said. He was moderating the panel discussion, 'What's the opportunity in rural India and the paths to success?'. The other panellists included Vanita Keswani, COO, Madison Media Sigma; Peshwa Acharya, chief marketing officer and management committee member, Apps Daily Solution; Bishwajeet Samal, head, marketing communication, Volkswagen Group Sales India; and P M Balakrishna, COO, Allied Media.
The panel was at a consensus that while there is high ownership of durables in metros, there is greater recent purchase in small towns. Now, when languages are considered, while North and West are dominated by vernacular languages, English penetrates beyond metros in the South and the East.
"However, while the readership of English dailies is only 9 per cent of the total, it garners 50 per cent of the total advertising revenue; Hindi contributes about 26 per cent and other languages contribute about 24 per cent," said Satyamurthy.
As far as television is concerned, regional channels account for about 33 per cent of the total TV share. The regional TV ad market is equivalent to Rs 4,385 crore, wherein most markets continue to be under-leveraged.
Keswani noted that there is a rising trend of the regional influence on channel content strategy, wherein regional plays the lead protagonist in national channels and drive regional viewership. "Channels are using the regional influence as an opportunity to craft their content strategy to drive further growth. For example, Saathiya on Star Plus, which has a Gujarati protagonist, scores an approximate 5 TVR in Gujarat as opposed to a 2.5 TVR in the Northwest," she said.
The regional penetration of the TV market has also forced planners to rethink their regional TV plan as there lay huge opportunity in this segment. For the record, there are 283 regional channels (out of 660+ TV channels overall), of which 49 are cow belt channels, 25 Punjabi channels and 15 Oriya channels.
Acharya noted that even in the digital age, while methods of working will keep changing, the principals will always remain the basics. And these basic principals are the 3 M's, namely 'm'obility (mobile reach), 'm'o-bike (locomotion) and 'm'atribhasha (mother tongue).
"The moment you move out of the metros and choose to conduct any form of communication in the local language, it attracts huge response and therefore translates into higher sales," he said.
Balakrishna, meanwhile, noted that traditional media still rules the roost in the regional markets. "Fifty per cent of the growth of TV sets is happening in the regional markets. And suddenly all marketers, media planners and agencies have woken up to it. Now, the challenge that is being discussed is how best to reach the customers.
"Regional has a lot of paradigms and traditional media is helping drive this growth faster. Marketers will have to create a much better brand experience with the consumers, especially through traditional media through localisation."
Samal added that the non-metro market is steadily becoming more aspirational. Often, when the creatives of a regional campaign are designed, the English or Hindi creatives are directly adapted to the language. And this is where the impact is lost.
"Therefore, since it is now imperative to include regional in the complete media plan, agencies should start hiring people who specifically understand that region and thus its language," he said.
This afaqs! event was presented by Zee Bangla.