WPP's digital biz to grow by 7% in India: Sorrell

MUMBAI: While traditional media still remains to rule the rooster in the Indian advertising industry, it is digital media that will drive growth within the country, believes WPP chief executive Sir Martin Sorrell.

The global advertising and marketing conglomerate is expecting its digital advertising business in the country to grow by 5-7 per cent this year.

"While I am expecting an overall growth of 3-4 per cent in our India business, the digital advertising space is expected to see a growth of 5-7 per cent," says Sorrell. In 2008, WPP posted a revenue of $400 million from India, while its worldwide revenue stood at $13 billion.

Sorrell notes that the major client categories that will look at investing in the digital advertising zone this year are telecom, technology

, media & entertainment, sports, travel and automobile. "Meanwhile, FMCG will still remain conservative on digital spend," the chief executive said here today, while speaking to reporters.

Globally, clients allocate approximately 12-13 per cent of their advertising budget towards digital.

Sorrell expects the augmentation of the digital ad market in India to majorly come from mobile as Internet penetration is still low in India.

"While lack of Internet penetration in the country can hinder digital advertising growth, the existence of 400 million users in India will surely bring in significant change in mobile advertising," he explains.

Sorrell believes that the movement of crafting the Internet growth delta has begun to shift eastward and, therefore, despite the dominance of traditional media (television and print) in India, the country is surely to get bullish on digital.

"In 2008, the Internet growth delta came from China indicating that economic growth is shifting east and allocating more resources," Sorrell says.

Overall, while the first half of the year remained flat, WPP is expecting to witness growth from the second half and in 2010.

"With the World Cup, Winter Olympics, World Expo and US mid-term election lined up for the year, 2010 is surely to push up the global advertising trajectory as it will stimulate spending," he says.

For Sorrell, apart from India, the other geographic zones that stand as opportunity areas to generate revenues are Vietnam, Bangladesh, Turkey and Japan. Latin America, Africa and Middle East are also opportunity areas for the advertising industry.

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