According to Mahesh Murthy, founder and CEO, Pinstorm, about 7 per cent of India’ total advertising budget will be invested in non-digital advertising in the future as the country will see more takers for the digital media. Murthy was speaking against the motion in a debate titled ‘Digital will remain 7 per cent medium’ at the Marketing Conclave organised by Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) in New Delhi on 29 April, 2010.
“Presently the share of digital is nearly only 4.5 per cent of the total ad budget and it will grow considerably in the future. Today financial industry spends 70 per cent of their budgets on digital and travel industry spends more than half. And we are also seeing a number of FMCGs coming online as well. With spends increasing, TV, print, outdoor will become digital,” Mahesh Murthy added.
Speaking for the motion, Suman Srivastava, chief executive officer, Euro RSCG, said that digital cannot work alone and need to be integrated with Print and TV. “Besides, digital is a complex medium and the terminology like CPM, CPC, CPL need to be made simpler, so that clients understand it better,” Srivastava said.
Replying to this, Mahesh Murthy said that even his 12 year old son understands the digital medium well. “Simple life is a thing of the past and hence everyone needs to catch up,” Murthy said adding, “Internet engagement is similar to TV views in terms of minutes, but the problem is that the senior management of most large companies and brands are unaware of the medium.”
Agreeing with Murthy, Gaurav Gupta, director, marketing, General Motors, said that the person who clears the advertising budget is actually a grey-haired man who doesn’t understand the digital medium. “But by 2020, 64 per cent of India’s population will be under 35 years and that will change digital’s future in the country,” Gupta added.
Gaurav Gupta further said that when a brand wants to do a big activity in India, the agencies always pitch for TV and print. “They never come up with digital only ideas,” Gupta said. Responding to this, Mahesh Murthy said, “Agencies don’t show interest in digital since they can’t earn more through digital as the medium is free. It is easy to sell one IPL spot on TV for Rs 2 lakh than to earn Rs 2 lakh through an online campaign.”
R Sukumar, editor, Mint, said that there is not a single digital media property that emerges as a clear leader in the digital space. Answering that, Mahesh Murthy said that Facebook and Twitter can get 15 million unique visitors every month and that is something no other TV channel can give. On this Sukumar said, “Facebook and Twitter are cool but there is no business objective attached to them.”
Presenting the publisher’s viewpoint in the debate, Rajan Srinivasan, VP, sales, Web18, said that they have also faced tremendous problems in communicating with the client while selling the property. Srinivasan also said that local language will boost the online numbers in India. “As people start socialising on localised social media platforms, numbers will invariable grow,” Srinivasan added.
Gaurav Gupta of General Motors said that clients will need to do experiment and only then we can expect some increase in the digital media spending and for this to happen, clients will need to be educated about the medium.
Suman Srivastava of Euro RSCG opined that there is a dearth of creative talent in digital as most of the guys running digital agencies are from technology or media background. “When we don’t have specialised departments for print, TV and radio, why should we have one for digital? Integration of all media is the way forward for us,” said Srivastava.