The highest growth in the past decade has been experienced by radio and internet. The next decade belongs to them. Readership levels will continue to drop slowly and television will get even more fragmented
Many things have changed and many things have stayed exactly the same in this industry. There is a new set of leaders at the top. And a completely new set of values exhibited by entrants into the business and the mid-band.
While FMCGs continue to dominate the client space both in terms of spend and demands, the telecom sector has taken the entire industry by storm with its rapid growth and risk taking appetite.
The highest growth in the past decade has been experienced by the two smallest media with the highest potential – radio and internet. The next decade belongs to them, even as readership levels will continue to drop slowly and steadily, and television will get even more fragmented.
What's stayed the same? The industry continues to be valued on the basis of hygiene delivery – media prices and television films. Though advertisers want to receive all the strategic inputs and integrated brand services, they still aren't willing to pay for these services the way they do when business consultants provide them.
The media agencies undoubtedly have witnessed the most growth, both in scale and skill, led primarily by the consolidation of GroupM, the significance of Madison's Sam (Balsara) and the entry of multinational players to handle global assignments. As far as the agency module is concerned, the full service agency is dead, much as we would like to hide the fact, it remains only in the accountant's Excel sheets. Having said that though, media agencies must find a way to work collaboratively and closely with their creative and other partners, otherwise the media solutions they come up will suffer from price- and inventory-driven myopia.
In 10 years, the overall media spends have grown from Rs 8,500 crore to almost twice that much (1.7 times to be exact). Television spends have now overtaken print, if you remove the classifieds. All the media have evolved by leaps and bounds, using technology to deliver faster, better looking content, and also to deliver greater geographical and yet more localised reach. Indeed, I believe that growth in television content and talent has far outstripped even Bollywood in the past decade.
The Indian consumer, too, has changed. Now, there is a lot more on the menu to choose from, so diets have also become more varied and more eclectic. The staple fare of movies and top 10 countdowns from 10 years ago is now changed to be in line with one's gender, age and other persuasions. There's something for everyone, but still not enough for all. The youth would like to see more content made for them than just cricket and comedy. Reality shows have made a dent at least for now. Though there are so many radio stations, they all sound the same, that's pretty tragic. The web of course, particularly the social networking sites are growing so fast that it's unbelievable and advertisers have yet to catch on.
A Rs 2-crore campaign, 10 years ago was a big thing. Today, it will be spent in a week and forgotten in a month. Unless you get really smart and targeted. As far as talent goes, 10 years ago, you were an MBA with a fondness for data and research and statistics, who preferred a desk job. Today, you are probably an MBA or equipped with some sort of specialisation in communication. But in addition you have a creative side, you are an outgoing person who can communicate well, and you have to be a bit of a sponge, open to receiving stimuli from everywhere, assimilating them and applying the learnings to your job.