Amardeep Singh, CEO of the IPG Mediabrands digital media agency, Interactive Avenues, is flooded with queries from his clients on digital media possibilities for brand promotions. “Every advertiser today has a focus on digital media," he says, adding that typically organisations have a digital marketing manager looking specifically at digital media. “Firms with a huge focus on digital, now have a chief digital officer. Advertisers are spending upwards of 15% of their total media budgets on digital." Three years ago, the fast moving consumer goods category had a negligible presence on digital. Today, they are big, adds Singh. So, is there a big shift in advertising from print to digital? Rajiv Dingra, CEO, WATConsult, a digital and social marketing agency, responds with a resounding yes. “The shift of monies from English print to digital is happening across clients and not just in FMCG. Firms such as Unilever, ITC Ltd and Godrej group are increasing their digital spends year-on-year. Although print still continues to be part of the marketing plan, but its significance is reducing gradually." Others advertising online are retail, banking, financial services and insurance, automobile, telecom, real estate and e-commerce.

Anita Nayyar, CEO, Havas Media, India and South-East Asia, elaborates on the logic behind the shift. There is a dramatic change in consumers’ media consumption habits, thanks to growing use of mobile phones, especially smartphones, and the internet. “1,300 PB (Petabyte) worth of internet data is being consumed monthly in India, witnessing nine times growth from 2016." India stands second in the global mobile traffic share. The impact of Jio saw 48% drop in data prices, leading to rise in streaming services. “We live in a world of content overload and consumers are consuming content on varied platforms and on various devices," adds Nayyar.

According to estimates, 400-500 million Indians are online today. Clearly, as the eyeballs move online, so does the advertising dollar. The stickiness of these eyeballs has also been highlighted in a recent report. The average time spent by an Indian watching videos online has grown to 52 minutes per day in 2018 from a mere two minutes per day in 2012. It is expected to increase further to 67 minutes per day by 2019, reports media agency Zenith. A Boston Consulting Group report says that the OTT video streaming market in India is set to touch $5 billion by 2023 as the online video base grows on the back of rising affluence, increase in data penetration in rural markets and its adoption by women and older generations. Currently, 82% of the users in the Indian market are consuming advertising-led video-on-demand platforms. What makes digital attractive is its measurability and targeting capability, hence, when the medium suits the business objective, it becomes part of the overall strategy. “Efficiency, targeting and measurability are driving digital as print is more expensive and tracking it is still a challenge in most cases. Another factor is the changing trend of consuming news on digital platform due to growth in smart phone penetration. The younger generation is staying away from newspapers," says Neel Kamal Sharma, chief operating officer (buying), Madison Media.

According to estimates, the total digital media spend is 12,000-13,000 crore. Of course it is still small compared to TV and print, but it is the fastest growing media at about 30%. According to industry estimates, print is growing at 4-6% and television at 12%. Currently, of the total digital spends, the maximum share, 60-70%, is hogged by Google and Facebook. Says Nayyar: “India is clearly becoming mobile-first internet economy. Spend on mobile advertising (SMS/In-app ads) recorded high y-o-y growth of 34% from 1,314 crore in 2016 to around 1,761 crore in 2017, and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 49% to overtake spends on desktops by 2020. Search and video take the lion’s share of digital ad spending, hence, a major chunk of the revenue goes to Google/YouTube and Facebook."

But experts say that print needn’t worry. “While on the one hand we have FMCG brands like Godrej, Nestle and Reckitt Benckiser investing heavily in digital media, we also have brands like P&G cutting on its digital spends. Therefore, neither of the two mediums can be neglected." Agrees Sharma, “Print is still very strong with massive reach, as you can see digital giants such as Facebook, WhatsApp and Amazon, Snapdeal use print to expand their businesses."

Shuchi Bansal is Mint’s media, marketing and advertising editor. Ordinary Post will look at pressing issues related to all three. Or just fun stuff.

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