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Brand Owners' Summit 2015: Making television advertising affordable via HyperLocal TV

By Shweta Mulki , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Media Publishing | December 11, 2015
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Baskar Subramanian of Amagi explained how the platform has made an impact on television advertising by enabling isolated communication for specific markets.

Baskar Subramanian, co-founder, as well as head of business strategy, investments and research & development, Amagi, took the audience through a journey which described the company's influence on the advertising landscape.

Baskar Subramanian

Subramanian began by going right back to Amagi's genesis. "In television broadcast, feeds go across the country, and Amagi enables you to hyperlocalise that content and advertising. The start was simple. We have a massive viewing population, and on an average we watch over five hours of television daily. Now, there are these large businesses and there are small businesses, somewhat similar to David and Goliath- and we wondered whether we can create mechanisms where we become the weapon which enables the Davids to beat the Goliaths. Television was a great medium for this, and segmented television enabled affordable advertising."

The question the team asked itself was whether it could enable smaller brands to compete effectively with larger brands if geographies become specific, instead of the nation-wide canvas that one had to use.

Explaining the model further, Subramanian adds, "We do what's called regionalisation of television advertising, which means that the same ad spot in the country gets split across its different parts. So, your brand will essentially beam only in Maharashtra or Punjab or Gujarat or individual cities." For a national channel, be it an entertainment, sports or a music channel, Subramanian says specific regions where your businesses exist, are targeted across time-slots. "The tremendous benefit is the resultant cost-effectiveness of television advertising -- you will pay only a fraction of the national price to target your market, and segment your audience," he says.

Subramanian also said that a big challenge here was that television is an all-or-nothing bundled product, adding that there was a lot of spillage and ineffectiveness in how it was structured today. He said, "If you look print, internet, radio or billboards, everything is localised. Why not TV? So, we pioneered this concept of geo-targeting in India. A country of this size, with its diverse demands, critically needs this. We will cut it up for you, and give you the slice you want, instead of the whole watermelon."

Speaking specifically about markets, he explained, "You have Kannada, Tamil, Telugu or Malayalam channels, but the moment you look at the Hindi-speaking markets -- take GECs, sports or news where the viewing behaviour is homogenous, there is heterogeneity in purchasing patterns. That's when we put in this thin sliver of technology, which allows you to slice a satellite beam and have different advertising in parts of the country on the same popular content. We've had brands which have increased their market share through this, vis-a-vis competitors."

Commenting on how this technology could help big brands, he added that larger brands also have specific priority markets where they need to boost their communication and match their share of voice with their share of market.

Speaking about 'right product-right market', Subramanian said, "You also have cultural nuances, and here, advertisers ask whether they can communicate differently in different markets. The cues are very different - the sophistication levels for urban and rural markets, for instance, are very different, and cultural cues make a huge difference. A sambhar curry stain works well in the south while a fish curry stain could work better in West Bengal."

He added that a lot of brands do test marketing in India, but, according to Subramanian, television is not a test market model with the kind of spends it requires. So, one can isolate communication to specific markets with this platform, and target audiences in a way that is similar to how online functions. Subramanian also revealed that over 2,500 brands have leveraged this platform, using it almost on a daily basis.

The ninth edition of the afaqs! Brand Owners' Summit in Mumbai was powered by Amagi, with Wall Street as the outdoor partner, Kairali as the wellness partner, Furlenco as the furniture rental partner, and GainBuzz as its reach partner.

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