Why Prasanth Kumar remains optimistic about growth potential of linear TV

In an era marked by rapid technological advancements and shifting consumer behaviours, the media landscape is undergoing profound transformations. Against this backdrop, Prasanth Kumar, CEO, GroupM South Asia, offers nuanced insights into the intricate dynamics shaping media consumption, advertising trends, and the future trajectory of the industry.

Impact of Elections on Media Consumption

Elections serve as significant milestones in the Indian media landscape, influencing advertising spends across various platforms. Kumar elucidates that elections typically account for approximately 1% to 1.5% of advertising spends, with a notable emphasis on local media channels. Moreover, he highlights the increasing relevance of digital platforms in election campaigns, driven by their ability to target diverse constituencies effectively.

“Overall, we’re seeing about 1% to one and a half percent of the AdEx playing out in the elections. Digital stands to benefit, I’m assuming. Obviously, we see the skew being on digital, but each election is placed onto different states, different constituencies. Local media is equally important there,” explains Kumar.

Television Advertising Trends: Linear TV versus Connected TV

The traditional paradigm of linear television advertising is witnessing a gradual evolution, spurred by the rise of connected TV (CTV). Kumar notes a decline in linear TV spends, particularly in non-event periods. However, he remains optimistic about the growth potential of linear TV, particularly during marquee events like the Indian Premier League (IPL).

“Spends on linear TV are seeing a downturn, especially with the rise of connected TV. But when it comes to events like the IPL, we see a different story unfolding. The momentum is palpable, with increased brand participation and early planning indicating positive growth potential for linear TV advertising,” remarks Kumar.

Digital Media’s Ascendancy and Market Penetration

The digital realm continues to assert its dominance, driven by innovations in targeting, personalisation, and content delivery. Kumar underscores the pivotal role of tier two and tier three markets in propelling digital growth, fueled by the widespread adoption of smart TVs and the expansion of broadband infrastructure in non-metro areas.

“The growth is coming from the tier two, tier three markets. Whether it’s connected TV and OTT is directly linked to connected TV. In India, we hardly manufacture non-smart TVs. Everything has just moved on,” observes Kumar.

Startup Sector Outlook: Opportunities and Challenges

Amidst the evolving media landscape, the startup sector emerges as a burgeoning player in the advertising ecosystem. Kumar reflects on the momentum building within the startup sector, highlighting increased activity and spending. However, he underscores the importance of strategic planning and cautious spending, considering factors such as seasonality, competition, and geopolitical uncertainties.

“The startup sector is witnessing a resurgence, with more players becoming active in advertising. However, prudent planning and strategic allocation of resources are imperative, especially amidst uncertainties like seasonality and geopolitical tensions,” advises Kumar.

Future of Media Consumption: Personalization and Innovation

Looking ahead, Kumar envisages a future characterized by personalized content and targeted advertising across multiple platforms. He emphasizes the pivotal role of technology in enabling enhanced targeting, engagement, and measurement capabilities across the media spectrum.

“Innovations such as gamification, interactivity, and commerce integration are reshaping the advertising landscape, offering new avenues for brands to connect with consumers. As we move forward, the key lies in leveraging technology to deliver personalised experiences that resonate with audiences,” asserts Kumar.


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