Shibani Gharat

TV.NXT 2012: As evergreen as TV?

Day One of TV.NXT 2012 held an interesting panel discussion on why TV as a medium still works for advertisers.

Commonly, when a marketer is enquired about the media mix for the next campaign of his offering, the answer begins with TV. It probably does not end with it, considering the different media options available today. But, TV still remains the first in a marketer's media mix.

TV.NXT 2012: As evergreen as TV?
Sticking to this thought, the final session on Day One of TV.NXT 2012 was on 'Why TV still works for advertisers?' The panelists included Ajay Kakar, chief marketing officer, financial services, Aditya Birla Group; Ambika Srivastava, chairperson, Vivaki Media Exchange; A Mahendran, managing director, Godrej Consumer Products; Nikhil Sharma, head, marketing, Perfetti Van Melle ; and Abdul Khan, former senior vice-president and head, business marketing at Tata Teleservices, who recently joined Reliance Industries. The moderator for the session was Sreekant Khandekar, founder-director, afaqs!.

Khandekar opened the discussion with how television has been a default medium for a very long time. "But, today, a lot of other alternatives have come. You have a lot of buzz around other media, too," he said. He asked the panel whether the marketer's expectation from TV has changed in the past five to 10 years.

TV.NXT 2012: As evergreen as TV?
TV.NXT 2012: As evergreen as TV?
TV.NXT 2012: As evergreen as TV?
TV.NXT 2012: As evergreen as TV?
TV.NXT 2012: As evergreen as TV?
TV.NXT 2012: As evergreen as TV?
Kakar answered this with a very interesting anecdote on how, while on his way to the venue (J W Marriot, Mumbai), he was listening to a Dev Anand song on radio.

"For me, TV is like Dev Anand: like an evergreen hero," he said. To him, this medium is attractive for its audio-visual nature. He added that being a financial services person, he always wants to touch the consumer's wallet through their heart. "Audio visual is very important for a category such as financial services. TV gives you highest reach both in urban and rural India," he emphasized.

Kakar mentioned how, with every passing year, newer formats come in and hence new reasons attract people to TV. "TV is and shall remain one of the preferred media," declared Kakar. He also stated that successful brands have TV as the primary medium. The others can only be success contributors.

On a lighter note, he enquired what would happen to the entire ad industry, creative gurus, awards, cricket and Bollywood if TV was not there.

Srivastava confessed how advertisers are in love with television. "TV has the potential to provide significant value. Marketers use TV mainly to build brands. The sheer accelerated pace with which TV has helped build brands is commendable, she added. According to Srivastava, when one measures the ROI of television, then there is a huge lift for many brands.

She said that TV continues to be extremely dominant. "It hasn't been challenged by the new media. In fact, television's reach has increased and new media can only compliment it." There are more exciting formats, too. A programme like KBC has evolved over time and it has captured the imagination of the audience. Every now and then, there are path finders in terms of programming that demonstrate why advertisers love television.

Telling a fantastic story on how TV allowed his brand to grow, Mahendran revealed how back in 1987, they would advertise only on Doordarshan. "If I look at today, Good Knight's market evaluation is around Rs 4000 crore. At that time, mosquito repellent was a new concept. We got complete help from the audio-visual format. TV completely outshines the other media," he added.

Mahendran said that the current fever for the digital medium is over rated. "But, television reaches more than half of the Indian population. If you look at the reach of internet, it is only 5 per cent," he compared.

Like Kakar, Mahendran, too, was of the opinion that the audio visual impact of TV is amazing. "As an FMCG player, TV is the only media today to create high impact awareness. Of course, you always have print and radio," he conceded.

Mahendran added that the credit for the success of TV goes to channels. "The TV technology has improved substantially. For the ad agencies too, the technology to produce films has improved," he said, mentioning how they recently re-launched Cinthol and he was amazed with the use of technology that went behind making the ad film for the brand.

In the context of a lot of questions about measurement of TV, Kandekar asked Sharma of Perfetti if the very measurable digital medium ever made him wonder about what he is buying on television. Sharma said that the relevance of TV for the business is also important. "For some of our brands, digital media is important. This is where we have created dialog for the consumer on the digital platform," he explained.

Khandekar further probed whether his expectation from TV has changed, with the rise of other media. In denial, Sharma said that it is pretty much unchanged. "But I look at media plans differently," he clarified, adding how there has been a conscious effort to shift money to digital. "The challenge for digital is different. What is good for TV might not be good for digital," he added.

Khan of Reliance Industries said that most creative directors are headed in the direction of the 'Jurassic Park'. Khan blamed TV of one disservice - that it has made marketers lazy. "They throw TVC at a marketing problem. That is the easiest thing to say in the world."

Khan said that the definition of television in the multi-screen world is going to change. "Many are not geared for multi-screen. If not, then what is Plan B?" he asked.

Srivastava responded to this concern raised by Khan and said that the pace of change has been extremely rapid. "Five years ago, it was much different. YouTube and Google are giving some channels a run for their money. On the same platform, you ser a lot of emerging opportunities." She added that it is only television that has helped the telecom industry achieve what it has been able to achieve.

"I have a lot of admiration for the way in which the category has tried to maximize the use of TV. Look at what is happening with smartphones today, just check what quantity of it is on TV and how much on new media," he added.

She also gave a tip, revealing how, if one wants to really maximize television, one has to think beyond what works with a 30-second commercial or a 50-second one.

On the question of competing for GRPs (Gross Rating Points) with the competition brands, Khan retorted that advertising is just one part of marketing and television is one part of advertising. "You can't simply start a marketing campaign only looking at competitor's marketing campaign and the GRPs that they garnered. You have to consider the consumer more than the competition," he clarified.

Srivastava replied strongly, saying that typically, everyone looks at TV as a touch point. She called it the 'battlefield contact'. "You can't ignore what competitors are doing," she averred.

Khandekar asked Mahendran if Good Knight was to be built today, would it be built on television. Mahedran responded that TV creates high impact and awareness, hence Good Knight would still be built on television.

Sharma, too, opined that TV will be the primary medium for at least 10 years.

This was the third edition of TV.NXT, an afaqs! event presented by ABP News.