'Era of subscription rather than advertising supported media content is approaching us fairly quickly'


Lintas Media Services director Lynn de Souza says the year has been good for business. But she has a word of caution: there is just too much of ads going around for viewers to stomach.

Business wise, 2006 has been a good year for advertising with both value (up 19 per cent) and volume increases. The total number of spots aired on television has shot up by 35 per cent from 10.3 million in 2005 to 13.9 million this year. For the month of September alone there was a 51 per cent increase. Plus, there was more branded content on all media including cinema than ever before.

However, was this also good for the lay consumer, the housewife in Amritsar, the executive in Bandra, and the schoolboy in Chhatisgarh?

Our lives have been swept up by the media. A good one third of the average Indian's waking hours is spent with the mass media in some form or other - all through the day. Our lifestyles, values and opinions are being shaped by what we see and hear on the mass media as never before. 2006 gave birth or renewed life to many news and children's tv channels, global magazine titles, regional language editions of newspapers, FM radio stations. So far all of these, without exception, are advertiser supported.

It has therefore become virtually impossible for the average consumer to find a free moment in space or time where he or she is not accosted by advertising - on the streets, in malls, in airplanes, on the cellphone, in coffee shops, hotels and health clubs, while surfing the internet - besides the expected fare on tv, radio, newspapers and magazines.

It should come as no surprise to us therefore that he or she has begun to get rather annoyed. Our latest estimate of active ad avoidance in this country has crossed 70 per cent for every medium, among heavy upmarket media consumers. Passive ad avoidance is not far behind. Avoidance of advertising among the rural rich is even higher. I therefore doff my hat at all of us who persist with our careers in advertising. This must be the only profession in the world in which the eventual consumer does his or her best to ignore and avoid and turn away from what we have to say.

Intellect, our research and technology unit, recently released 'Engross', a survey conducted last month among over 2000 upmarket Indians to measure ad avoidance, ad perception and media engagement. Since we expected to find high ad avoidance levels, even on the more personalized media like radio and internet, we further probed on the reasons, our suspicion being that perhaps consumers didn't like advertising at all. Indeed, the feedback was exactly the opposite. An overwhelmingly high cross section of consumers enjoy and appreciate advertising, and find it informative and helpful.

So why do they avoid something they like? Simply because there is just too much of it going around to stomach. The same ad over and over again. Too many ad breaks. Ads inside content. Ads on covers. For the smart consumer, it's really getting to be a bad mad ad world.

There is a lesson in this for both media owners and advertisers. The day is not far off when these consumers will pay extra for ad free content. The era of subscription rather than advertising supported media content is approaching us fairly quickly. As advertisers we have unfortunately been caught up in the whirlwind of downward spiralling media rates, and have helped compound the problem of over advertising. Every time we have insisted on a lower unit rate we have been given bonus time and space by the media owners, thus contributing to the overload. We have together written up a volume over value charter, and the consumer is now clearly saying to us, "I don't like this. I don't like being taken for granted."

I hope we will all listen to this voice in 2007. Engross gave us another important learning - for years, content has been informative and advertising has been entertaining. Now however, the consumer finds content, even on the so called information media, highly engaging and entertaining, and considers good advertising to be informative. We would therefore be quite foolish to demean the value of advertising in his or her mind through poorly judged placements.

To 2007, may our business continue to grow, and may our customers enjoy it too.

Latest Reads

VBS 2018: New tariff regime dominates discussion on Day 2

The second day of the Video and Broadband Summit started with a keynote speech from Times Network MD and CEO MK Anand where the media veteran shared his insights on how to keep playing when the game itself changes.

Specials Event Coverage IDOS
VBS 2018: Media & entertainment industry leaders address pressing issues on Day 1

Rapid advance in technology and infrastructure, entry of disruptive forces and changes in consumption habits have led the Indian media and entertainment industry to major conversion. The interesting developments are attracting international players to invest in the market, with traditional domestic...

Specials Event Coverage IDOS
IRAA 2019 announces appointment of Mujeeb Dadarkar as Awards Director

Indian Recording Arts Academy (IRAA) governing council consisting of Anil Chopra, Founder & Director, PALM Expo and Founder & Executive Chairman, IRAA,Pramod Chandorkar, Founder & Director of Soundideaz Academy and Honorary Chairman of the IRAA Award Committee 2019 and Ramesh Chetwani,...

Specials Event Coverage Occasions
Video and Broadband Summit to focus on technology, media and telco convergence

The last two years have witnessed major transformation in entertainment and media industry in India and abroad. Entry of digital platforms, rapid rise in internet users, and disruption in the telecom industry have worked as catalysts. With the emergence of a new media, consumers are getting more...

Specials Event Coverage IDOS
India To Host Fourth Edition of Global Partners’ Forum 2018 in December

This year, India will play host to the largest-ever Partners' Forum on 12th and 13th December 2018 in New Delhi. PMNCH (The Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health) will bring together 1,200 partners from over 100 countries dedicated to the Every Woman Every Child (EWEC) movement and...

Specials Event Coverage Occasions
SEPC pavilion makes waves at MIPCOM 2018

It was indeed a historic moment for India’s content creation, distribution and broadcast industry at this year’s MIPCOM which concluded at Cannes, France on 18 October 2018. More than 300 Indian delegates swarmed the French Riviera village – the largest delegation in the Reed Midem market-cum-...

Specials Event Coverage Mipcom
Casbaa becomes the Asia Video Industry Association

At an Extraordinary General Meeting of members today, Casbaa overwhelmingly approved the adoption of a new constitution and new name.

Specials Event Coverage Occasions
Wizcraft’s 4th broadway styled bollywood musical stage show comes to kingdom of dream

After a glorious run in Mumbai with over 100 shows, Balle Balle - The Biggest and Craziest Indian Wedding Musical theatrical show, is all set to woo audiences in Delhi NCR.

Specials Event Coverage Occasions
ConnecTechAsia Successful in Bridging the Digital Divide for Governments, Cities and Enterprises with Showcase of Latest Tech and Trends

ConnecTechAsia, the inaugural mega technology event comprising BroadcastAsia, CommunicAsia and the new NXTAsia wrapped up last week after an exciting three days of exhibitions and a summit covering the latest innovations in cloud, blockchain, AI, VR/AR, IoT, robotics, 5G, IP broadcasting, OTT and...

Specials Event Coverage Occasions

Latest News

Load More

Sign up for our Newsletter

subscribe for latest stories