'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

Govt extends support to M&E sector in fighting digital piracy

NEW DELHI: The government of India yesterday stressed that it stood alongside the media and entertainment (M&E) industry in fighting digital piracy to safeguard loss of revenue and ease norms for doing business, while CII entertainment committee head and Viacom18 group CEO Sudhanshu Vats.

Specials Event Coverage Occasions
M&E industry to hit Rs8 trillion revenue by 2022: report

According to a report published by Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), India’s media and entertainment (M&E) industry is expected to reach revenue of Rs7.5-8 trillion by 2022 from an estimated Rs4.5 trillion in 2017. Over the next five years, the industry...

Specials Event Coverage Occasions
ATF’s first Animation Pitch announces winners

MUMBAI: As the Asia TV Forum (ATF) draws to a close today. The event saw several activities such as an exciting round of on-stage pitches where producers from all over Asia presented their ideas, the winners of the inaugural Asia TV Forum & Market (ATF) Animation Pitch and the unveiling of the...

Specials Event Coverage ASIA TV FORUM
Indian OTTs to be in focus on day 2 of ATF

MUMBAI: Singapore-based Reed Exhibitions’ Asia TV Forum (ATF) will commence today with 60 countries taking part. The first day will see sessions based on content, advertising and the evolution of storytelling and digital traditions and innovation Ninety thought leaders will deliver fresh insights...

Specials Event Coverage ASIA TV FORUM
'It is criminal for TV not to think of social change' - PMC's Kriss Barker

For most programming executives and managements in TV companies today, television is all about running on a treadmill chasing ratings, viewership, and the concomitant revenues, followed by the next bonus and promotion. Every trick in the creative book and outside it is resorted to keep the...

Specials Event Coverage Occasions
ATF 2017 attracts Indian content studios, both big and small

MUMBAI: Singapore-based Reed Exhibitions’ Asia TV Forum (ATF) is round the corner and the buzz around the event only seems to be ramping up. This year, the forum will see around 60 countries from all over the globe. From 28 November to 1 December 2017, more than 90 thought leaders will deliver...

Specials Event Coverage ASIA TV FORUM
Singapore's ATF 2017 promises more than ever

Reed Exhibitions’ Asia Television Forum (ATF) is back. And Asia’s leading content market cum conference which brings together Asia’s broadcasters, digital platforms, distributors, studios, content creators to strike deals amongst each other and other international buyers and sellers from ---...

Specials Event Coverage ASIA TV FORUM
MIPCOM 2017 - Content Really is King!

Eye-opening, international, new content for multi-platform that fully embraced digital and VR were my key takeaways from MIPCOM 2017. The world may be going digital but content will always be king!

Specials Event Coverage Mipcom
Chhota Bheem becomes Mighty with Netflix

CANNES: The studio behind the popular animated show Chhota Bheem, Green Gold Animation has been commissioned by Netflix to make an exclusive 13-episode series on its trademark show. Paradoxically titled Mighty Little Bheem, the series is set to be released in August 2018. Each episode of Mighty...

Specials Event Coverage Mipcom

Latest News

Load More

Sign up for our Newsletter

subscribe for latest stories