Abid Hussain Barlaskar

“Media houses will need fresh content to drive ad spends for festive season after IPL”: Chandrashekhar Mantha, Deloitte

Mantha highlights key current and upcoming trends in the media and advertising business.

It is true that the ongoing India Premier league (IPL) has absorbed much of the shock of the drying content pipeline left by the COVID lockdown. Chandrashekhar Mantha, partner, media and entertainment lead - risk advisory, Deloitte India, says that the pipeline has to be refilled at the earliest to avoid disruption once the IPL fever ends.

Mantha’s experience spans across varied functional services such as media spends review, content production review, advisory, risk and control reviews, etc. across media and entertainment verticals.

He points out that today, it has become extremely important for an advertiser to catch consumers where they are. “In the ad industry specifically, there was temporary disruption. First, because there wasn’t any fresh content on the mediums, and then, consumers were not spending. That way, even if a brand spent on advertising, there would be no outcome.”

IPL Match
IPL Match

He maintains that the media production infrastructure also has to be COVID ready to avoid future crises, and that availability of fresh content will, in turn, affect media planning.

“Advertisers are investing in IPL because it is fresh content which has a large audience locked in for a long period. The upcoming festive season will see another bout of advertising. It will be the next trend after the IPL, because consumers will spend in the coming months. Also, advertising will follow fresh content. Without fresh content, media houses will be the most affected. Newer shows will drive new revenue.”

He maintains that consumers today are adjusting their behaviour according to their surroundings, and will loosen their purse strings. People have accepted the reality and the situation, and are being positive.

“Consumers might not step out, but they will spend. Advertisers need to be there.”

“While consumers are gradually stepping out, some might choose to not step out at all and do their purchases entirely online. But they will spend. Marketers will have to understand this and follow consumers accordingly. We have already seen a lot of marketers expanding their digital spends.”

We asked Mantha about his conversations with clients and what they are seeking the most. He reveals that a focus area is to pinpoint the location of consumers on mediums.

“With consumers on digital mediums, purchase cycles can speed up significantly.”

“Once that is achieved, the goal is to create newer channels of monetisation. That is where companies are reevaluating. They are re-looking the path to purchase. The cycle of purchase in a physical environment would usually take more time. With digital, it can speed up significantly. It can happen within minutes from exposure to an ad. If the decision making time has reduced, brands will have to be that much more effective in their reaction and communication.”

He explains that the time to capture the attention of a consumer has also gone down significantly. “This is where the larger players are focusing on. They now have to be there at the right time, then create the need, help consumers decide and make them act on it.”

Speaking about the technology front of the industry, Mantha states that with minimal human interaction, brands will rely a lot more technologies, like artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, because those will now provide them with better insights on the consumers.

"You can now have technology or effective targeting, messaging, measurement and monitoring, i.e. all aspects of advertising.”

“In the absence of human interaction, it is these technologies that continuously map human profiles and behaviour. They, in turn, assist in making suggestions, rolling out offers, promotions, etc. You can now have technology or effective targeting, messaging, measurement and monitoring, i.e. all aspects of advertising.”

He opines that the trend will also affect client-agency relationships as advertisers will also be choosing agency partners to future-proof their brands. “Marketers will look for the technology investments that the agency has made in order to meet the changing technology needs of their brand.”

“Marketers will look for the technology investments that the agency has made to meet the changing technology needs of brands.”

Deloitte recently acquired advertising and marketing advisory/analytics firm Spatial Access to boost the research firm’s advisory capabilities. Mantha says that the move is part of Deloitte’s larger strategy in the media and entertainment sector.

“We wanted to address the need to be present across the advertising and marketing value chain. This was something that we wanted to look at. We were looking for a partner who had the credibility, credentials and skill sets. Spatial Access is a leader in ad marketing advisory space. We would offer the knowledge, equity and credibility of Spatial Access, backed by Deloitte’s consulting expertise, wider network, technology, etc.,” he signs off.