New Delhi: Despite rapid digital evolution in India, traditional and non-traditional media are likely to grow and coexist over the next few years. A new report, One Consumer, Many Interactions, by the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) and Boston Consulting Group (BCG), said India will remain a multi-modal market, considering the consumer has access to multiple platforms. However, there will be differences in “what", “when" and “how" media will be consumed.

“There might be a slowdown of growth in traditional media, but there is still much headroom for growth, given the penetration story has not played out completely," said Kanchan Samtani, partner and director, BCG. More than 95% TV households in India are single-screen; hence, most TV consumption happens in a family-viewing setting, the report says.

The Indian consumer is not entirely used to paying for content, while most platforms are advertising driven, unlike US, where the cost of a cable connection can be as high as $80 per month. In comparison, India works with $3. Besides, literacy levels constrain print penetration, and screen density is much lower than China and the US. There should be increasing rural electrification in the coming years creating more windows of opportunity for traditional media, Samtani added.

Overall media consumption growth in India continues to outpace global counterparts. At a 9% compounded annual growth rate over six years, per-capita consumption is growing at twice the pace of China and nine times that of US. At 4.6 hours of consumption per-capita, per day, India is behind China (6.4 hours) and US (11.8 hours), suggesting further headroom for growth.

The advent of digital has changed the pattern of user behaviour for sure. According to the report, the mobile screen has increased the frequency of interactions manifold, ranging from 4-8 times a day per consumer, the average length for most of these sessions is 3-5 minutes, versus 2.5-3 hours for TV and 20-30 minutes for print. Hence, the total touchpoints with consumers across screens have risen 10 times. This has not just led to increased value attached to differentiated content, but new short formats and the use of artificial intelligence to understand user behaviour.

Indians are consuming 190 minutes of video per day, per user, across platforms, which has been growing at 8% over the last five years. More than 30 over-the-top (OTT) platforms have been added to the already wide range of TV channels. Video players invested $4-5 billion in content in 2017, which is 14% higher than their investment in 2016. While an average consumer watches 10-15 channels per day and two to three apps in any given month, the overall spectrum of options is massive. However, the lack of a uniform measuring metric for digital and traditional platforms poses a challenge in terms of advertising.

The tsunami of change is especially a cause for concern for modern media organisations, which have to cope with and evolve accordingly.

“This change is not the future, but rather is here and now," said Sudhanshu Vats, chairman, CII committee on Media and Entertainment, and group CEO, Viacom 18 Media, India. “This is an unparalleled situation even for an industry which has always been at the forefront of disruption. The industry will now need new answers, and will need them fast, even on the most fundamental things, such as talent pool, to run our companies, methodology for measuring the impact we are delivering to advertisers on our platforms."

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