CASBAA 2015 celebrates New Era, New Opportunities'

Once again CASBAA brought together a host of local and international speakers at its India Forum 2015. This year’s theme was “New Era, New Opportunities,” for the CASBAA India Forum 2015. The forum captured the essence of television in the country and spurred by the plan to digitize the cable television sector, the Indian TV industry has been invigorated with the promise of increased transparency, pay revenues and access to content.

CASBAA put together an eclectic mix  of expert speakers to debate various  issues along with a variety of other important topics paving the way for India’s continued growth such as audience measurement, media regulations, advertising, new technology, satellite spectrum and much more.

As it has become quite obvious over the last couple of months  that the battle between the two measurement system is heating up .During a session at CASBAA Forum 2015, Unravelling The New Measurement Path Partho Dasgupta, CEO, BARC and L.V. Krishnan, CEO, TAM Media Research (India) along with Smita Jha, Leader, Entertainment and Media, PwC India discussed quite a few challenges, techniques and future of measurement system in India.

Defining measurement Smita Jha said, “Measurement system is getting quite challenging day by day. Measurement system not only enhances the working of the entire industry but also gives opportunities to the marketers/advertisers and broadcasters to explore opportunities.”   

Looking at the challenges both the bodies are facing, when Jha posed a question that whether Sampling is an issue as only 50 thousand people meters are being installed by  BARC, which is less than a percent of our total population, would that suffice .

Answering the same Partho Dasgupta said, “Sampling is not only about population or the number of people but it is also about the heterogeneity of the population. Putting up meters more than one percent or less will not actually matter as one needs to look at the nature of population where the meters are being put up. India is a huge country hence putting up as many people meters would also pose a challenge in terms of calculating the exact preferences but as of now we think 50 thousand people meters are decent enough to give us a better understanding. ”

Having said that Parto Dasgupta meant that it is not only about number of meters but also about how one mirrors the sample size. LV Krishnan here opined by saying, “Yes it is far beyond  just putting up meters. We have been discussing the sample size and issues revolving around the same from quite some time now."

"Today we have much advanced options like panel data and universe data which describes how people consume the content on television or online. So there are many other ways which allows us to track the consumption pattern at the universe level. So it depends upon how one uses and utilizes the available options and opportunities,” LV Krishnan stated.

Adding further, LV Krishnan said, “Looking at the consumption pattern today, it is important to track them beyond just television and TAM has been exploring solution on those grounds too. Today consumers are across cross-platforms. So if that comes into account it would give a better perspective to the markers and open up opportunities for them.” 

Agreeing to the fact that  the advent of technology has indeed  helped in bringing in changes however for further clarity Smita Jha  posed a question as to where and how is India as a country  lagging behind when the other parts of the world are able to keep a minute by minute tracking?

Answering to that Partho Dasgupta said, “It is not true because even we can provide you data of every 8 seconds but will it add value…No because majority of our population stays in towns where there is no electricity for sufficient amount of hours on daily basis.”

LV Krishnan said, “It is all about what and how one measures. No doubt about the fact that there are infrastructural issues; but that is not the only issue that is posing a challenge for the measurement system. Also it is about utility and usability. We too can get the minute to minute data but when you invest money in research and putting up infrastructure then one should also look at return on investment. ”

Looking at advent of technology when Jha asked about the technology being used by both the bodies and if that is one of the issues; LV Krishnan said, “We at TAM have been using one of the best technologies. We have been beautifully measuring the data from years now. We are also working towards measuring cross-media platforms too.”

Partho Dasgupta here opined that the technologies that is being used at BARC is cutting edge which will surely give a better measurement index to the industry.  

In his keynote session Sudhanshu Vats, Group CEO, Viacom18 Media, highlighted how disruption is driving opportunities for the brands and M&E industry continues to evolve. He also highlighted few key trends that will impact the industry.

He said, "After spending two decades at Unilever when I planned to shift, there was so much happening in the sector and digitization had kicked and the ecosystem was evolving rapidly. To get a better understanding i caught up with few industry friends and understood the on-going disruption in the industry."

Having said that, the industry has been evolving and evolving over the years. Every year opens up a new perspective and new opportunities for the players.

Highlighting few key trends he stated, "Firstly, the way Big Data is going to increase it will open up opportunities that we need to leverage. Secondly, programmatic buying is seen to revolutionize the Indian Television industry; thirdly looking at so much evolution our industry is set to cross an encouraging Billion Dollar mark and Also undoubtedly Cross-industry collaboration is the future."

While concluding, Vats said, "The only thing that has kept us growing, kept us thriving is the process of continuous disruption."

Another session on Digitisation Dilemmas highlighted the fact that after the first two phases of digitisation, digital rollout seems to have hit a roadblock or plateaued off. Has over-regulation taken the sheen off digitisation or is there activity taking place that is not so discernible – are stakeholders ready to iron out their differences in bonhomie? With: Sunil K Singhal, Advisor, TRAI Ashok Venkatramani, CEO, ABP News Network & VP, NBA; VD Wadhwa, CEO & ED, Siticable Network Pulak Bagchi, Senior VP, Legal, Star India. The session was moderated by John Medeiros, Chief Policy Officer, CASBAA.

For Ashok Venkatramani the biggest dilemma is the carriage fees and the ups and downs that are revolving around the same. Multiscreen operators or bigger broadcasters have been benefiting from that but the smaller broadcasters are seen facing challenges. He said, “Apart from that a large part of the news content is today being consumed on various digital platforms. So interestingly, another dilemma is whether digitization will kill us first or the advent of digital medium.”

Sunil K Singhal said, “Our concern is to keep in mind the benefits and issues of both broadcasters and consumers. For us there is no specific dilemma though but to help both the consumers and the broadcasters keep upto the mark and benefit out of the regulations.”

VD Wadhwa said, “Monetization has seen improvements to some extent but the fact is also that the cost of feeds have also increased. The dilemma here is that monetization is not to the expectations and taxation has also posed a big challenge.”

While broadcasting industry is facing an evolution what is also important is the small Town Advertising Story. The panelists include Jawhar Sircar, CEO, Prasar Bharati CVL Srinivas, CEO, South Asia, Group M Anita Nayyar, CEO-India & South Asia, Havas Media Ashish Sehgal, Chief Revenue Officer, Zee Entertainment Host: Vanita Kohli-Khandekar, Consulting Editor, Business Standard

As it is quite visible that for most sectors in India, small towns are fuelling growth and advertising should be no exception. However, there are  always fine prints in large growth stories. Vanita Kohli-Khandekar said, “Today reports say that on an average marketers are spending quite a sufficient amount of mullah in small towns on advertising. There are potential and possible growth areas for Indian advertising in those towns.”

Ashish Sehgal said, “Yes small towns are catching up at a rapid pace but there still needs much more advancement for those cities and by 2020 this shift will surely be seen. Also there lies no doubt about the fact that spends in rural marketing are increasing and going further there will be a sufficient rise.”

Anita Nayyar said, “Metros are getting saturated day by day and larger FMCG brands are going beyond just metros. Tier 2 and 3 cities are coping up in all the possible areas whether it is digitization or mobile penetration or e-commerce. We have clients who spend around 30 to 40 percent of their ad-spends in tier 2 and 3 cities.”

Agreeing to the above mentioned thoughts, CVL Srinivas here said, “Last year the total CAGR in small towns was around 16 to 17 percent in small towns and around 6 to 7 percent in metros, which clearly marks the inclination of marketers towards small towns. Also 18 percent of television growth has come from smaller towns whereas metros garnered only 8 to 9 percent. Interestingly, approximately 40 percent of Television and FMCG players are seen spending sufficient amount of their ad-spends in smaller towns.”

Adding further, Anita Nayyar said, “We cannot forget the fact that today majority of our population still lies in smaller towns and is sufficient enough to adapt new ways of living.”

Making a valid point CVL Srinivas said, “In terms of targeting tier 2 and 3 cities a lot of marketers are spending immensely in Print which is making India as the only market place where print is still thriving and is competing among already existing and new media platforms.”    

Speaking about the CASBAA Forum 2015, Christopher Slaughter, CEO, CASBAA said, “Reflecting India’s continued importance and influence in the Asia Pacific region, CASBAA’s annual overview of this vibrant broadcasting market attracts the very best speakers from within the country and around the world.”

“As the television industry continues to evolve not only in India but across the globe, it truly feels as if we have entered into a new era of broadcasting and this forum is dedicated to the exploration of the vast opportunities now available to industry stakeholders,” he added further. 

Though the forum came to an end with such insightful sessions but the team has already geared up for the next year.

This year, corporate partners for the CASBAA India Forum 2015 included Supporting Sponsor SES and Sponsors Eutelsat, MEASAT, TMT Law Practice and OJSC Digital Television Russia


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