Media agency heads shed light on the forces that will redefine and reshape the media and marketing landscape in 2019. CVL Srinivas, country manager, WPP India, recalls Flannery O’Connor’s wise words, “The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it,” as he looks back at 2018. “2018 was a year that reminded us about a few home truths that will shape the ad industry going forward. Just when data centricity was becoming a buzzword, new privacy laws started kicking in. Added to this – we have unearthed so much data in the recent past that marketers are working overtime to join the dots and see what kind of picture is emerging. Data led marketing is thus turning out to be as much an art as a science. Data is no longer just a support; it is inspiring new thinking and creativity.”
Srinivas also observes that marketers have started asking all the right questions on ‘real’ metrics; “Advertisers continue to push their agencies on cost and quality but it’s not as if they don’t respect partners who add value to their business. If anything, there is a trend to consolidate partnerships with agencies that can help drive marketing transformation with strong creative leadership.”
So what does 2019 have in store?
“More hope than despair if you are in India. We will remain the world’s fastest-growing large ad market with more opportunities to innovate, lead, create, unlearn and learn than most other markets. And that is the truth.”
“2018 was a good year for the media landscape. The speed of growth was impressive, and it is noteworthy that in India all major mediums grew positively, making many heave a sigh of relief. This will continue to accelerate in the coming year. From an agency perspective, consolidation will be critical. Today, brands are in a constant need for global practices which will increase the demand of more agency partnerships and allies. One other noticeable thing that happened last year is that legacy creative agencies really struggled and that will get worse this year. Nimbler digitally enabled agencies will have an advantage. 2019 has all the makings of a great year for India with General Elections and World Cup on the cards. The economy is relatively doing better, giving marketers more hope.” Ashish Bhasin, chairman and CEO – South Asia, Dentsu Aegis Network.
Trends of 2019
Sameer Singh, CEO, GroupM – South Asia, lists six trends that will shape the media and marketing landscape in 2019.
- Advance data analytics, better quality, and depth of data will help improve measurement and attribution, resulting in better RoI management/accountability. On digital platforms, the focus will move from the last click to consumer journey, while on cross-screen more empirical data and solutions will start emerging.
- More advertisers will start thinking about platform-specific advertising content and you will see the better marriage of content and platform.
- Voice will get reinvented and adopted to provide interactive solutions at scale. Internet will start talking more in your mother tongue.
- Authenticity and purpose will remain consumer connectors in a more tech-driven world.
- Expect the regulators to become more sensitive to consumer data and their rights, which will start shaping the industry.
- Connected commerce will remain a focus area to drive product and marketing innovation.
Most significant development
Navin Khemka, CEO – South Asia, MediaCom, believes democratization of high-speed and low-cost data was the most significant development of 2018. “The media industry will get redefined in 2019. What cable TV did to terrestrial television in the 90s is what this data revolution will do to cable TV in the next couple of years. The online video consumption will explode and it will not be restricted to the younger audiences alone,” says Khemka.
He adds, “The digital first audience is easier to target as they are leaving behind enough digital footprints for data to be harnessed. Demographic and psychographic filters help sharpen strategies. The challenge will be to see the evolving trend of the analog-first audience and be able to correctly gauge their adoption of digital. This shift will be critical to assess, as this will mean that media investments will see a shift. The industry is gearing up to provide data to represent this and 2019 could be a game changer.”
For Anita Nayyar, CEO – India and South Asia, Havas Media Group, 2018 did not fail to surprise. For instance, when Start Sports grabbed IPL from Sony last year, it layered an addition level of digital outreach and added language assets, which not only gave incremental eyeballs but also helped advertisers rethink their ad strategies. Nayyar believes in 2019 there will more opportunities that brands can explore in the country’s most entering sports event. On the OTT platforms front, 2018 saw big successes of original content. Nayyar thinks as these platforms are proliferating brands this year will be involved in a much-evolved manner. With startup companies’ valuation numbers hitting stratospheric heights, Nayyar says a number of these new brands will spend big bucks on advertising, giving a boost to the industry. Besides, the General Elections will set the buoyant mood for the industry.