Raushni Bhagia

"The advertiser has to accept that his ad is not being consumed in a 100 per cent dedicated environment": Sam Balsara

Balsara, chairman and managing director, Madison World, spoke on 'Monetisation opportunities in the multi-screen world'.

On Day Two of FICCI Frames 2014, the afternoon session titled 'Monetisation opportunities in the multi-screen world' got a string of interesting discussions and insights on the trends and possibilities of milking the multi-screen consumption pattern emerging in India.

"The advertiser has to accept that his ad is not being consumed in a 100 per cent dedicated environment": Sam Balsara
Sam Balsara, chairman and managing director, Madison World spoke on the topic as a keynote speaker for the session. He started off by mentioning how the life of agencies and advertisers is more complex than that of content owners, in the current scenario. Balsara wished to focus more on what advertisers feel about the complete multi-screen phenomenon and monetising on the same.

He focussed on facts that he has observed emerging in India in the last five years.

First, the social media networks are so strong that whatever happens in the US happens simultaneously in India. Multi-screen is a trend in India too; television and mobile screens are the most dominant and viewed. These two are where most of the money is going to be, he said.

Second, in India, whenever a person is watching television or consuming any other media platform, he or she may be accessing some other form of media at the same time. On the other hand, the users of digital haven't really decreased their time spent on television, print or cinema.

An irritating trend that has emerged from this is while earlier people focussed on just one thing at a time, now, there are simultaneous things going on for everyone. In his master plan, the advertiser needs to factor the fact that a consumer is never going to see his advertisement in a 100 per cent dedicated environment.

Third, it's crucial to recover investment in content creation. The two likely sources of returns are advertising and subscription. Earlier, most robust business models had a healthy 50-50 ratio of the money coming from the advertiser and the viewer. However, with time, the subscription revenues have come down, despite the increasing reach. Balsara added that there is a need to pull back from this environment and move back to the 50-50 situation.

Fourth, content owners most of the times fail to understand why an advertiser advertises. He is never happy to spend his money on advertising but that is important for the buzz. The advertiser is always looking at getting some rub-off of the vehicle or (media) brand that he is putting his money on.

When IPL started, he said, they went to the advertisers and convinced them somehow to buy the heavy sponsorships so that the tournament could take off. Now, there are (an exaggerated number of) people selling IPL for different things.

He summed up by saying that television and digital form the best combination for synergistic use of multiple screens. He cited the example of the Bournvita Quiz Contest, which was executed such that the viewer could answer the question through an SMS, which created a lot of engagement for Cadbury's.