Mobile phone the real mass medium: Lodestar study

MUMBAI: The mobile phone is no longer an add-on medium for advertisers to engage users. It has in-fact turned into a mass medium.

That‘s one of key inferences made in the Lodestar Universal research study ‘Mobility Research: Understanding the connected generation‘ for portable devices in India.

The study quotes statistics pegging the Indian mobile market at approximately 200 million users, which is higher than the viewer base of a conventional mass medium like a TV channel - about 140 million.

"In fact, telecom players Reliance and Airtel together are with as many subscribers as a Star Plus viewer base," stated Lodestar Universal COO Nandini Dias, announcing the results of the study.

The study sampled 10,000 respondents worldwide in the age-group of 16-54 of mobile and internet users. The research was conducted across 21 global markets, via Intuition, Universal McCann‘s online research tool.

While India still has some catching up to do in terms of growth in services consumed through mobile-phones, the younger segment of the population is driving growth.

"Moreover, mobile can today be an alternative to out-of-home (OOH) media. People carry the mobile phone with them wherever they go, and especially in India, which has one of the highest travel-times in the world. That‘s about one in three people spending an average of 90 minutes traveling, everyday," said Dias.

Interestingly, the study pointed out that the media convergence is not being driven by affluent markets. "Contrary to popular opinion, users in US and Japan are not yearning for convergence. It is in fact being driven by financial necessity. Convergence, therefore is already happening in India," the study says.

Another feature of the study is the transition of the mobile phone from a mere voice device to a data device.


While currently entertainment based content is most preferred on these devices, in the coming days there will be increase in the demand for info-based content like travel directions, product info and M-commerce. Users are more open to relevant customized content. E.g Advertisements on public transport that send info to mobile phones.

The study further points out that emerging markets including India are most open to advertising on portable devices. However, users are more open to branded content, rather than invasive formats. i.e. About 65 per cent of users think of adverts coming in the middle of video-clips and shows as interruptive.

Moreover, according to the study, portable devices make the ‘Connected generation‘ feel empowered and allows the devices to become an extension of them. As an example, the study states that over 50 per cent of its sample size voted for competitions on TV.


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