"Covid2019 has shown how supply is critical to marketing": MediaCom's Soumak Banik

He says that supply is the new demand.

NEW DELHI: Despite the calamitous Covid2019 situation, TV channels and producers have steeled themselves and are rolling out fresh programming. The good news is that inventory fill rates have gone up. What needs improvement is the pricing of the purchase by media buyers from agencies. Almost every TV channel vertical - news channels included - are also in a similar position on the rate front. In the first episode of 'TV Buying: Agreeing to a new normal’, founder CEO & editor in chief Anil Wanvari spoke to MediaCom chief growth officer Soumak Banik.

According to Banik, the Covid2019 era has changed the intercommunication between clients and brand. He said, “This is the time where we are not just partners but advocates and it's more about being connected, staying together and giving more value-added services. The amount of conversion, from an agency to a client level, has almost increased by 50-55 per cent. The current time is teaching us to be an advocate to our partners and look together on how to revive the business and find solutions.”

“In the last three months, the intent of consumer confidence has gone down terribly. Supply and distribution have been affected; businesses have got fluctuated. In proportion relatively, the marketing budget has slipped down,” he said.

Banik explained that the crisis due to the pandemic has led brands to slash their marketing spends. “Most brands where business and volume targets are linked to the media budgets, the marketing initiatives got a fragile cut and now that the business is reviving, advertisers have started showing interest and looking on how to get back to the market.”

Meanwhile, as India is in semi-lockdown, viewership and engagement are back in a full swing.  So, the confidence and positivity among the advertisers are likely to get a boost. He said, “TV and original content are back and will see reach and relevance back to the position soon. TV is gaining back its own reach now and so advertisers are looking to make a comeback. In the last four weeks, almost 45-50 per cent of filled rates are coming back to television.” 

Speaking about how supply has become a priority in today’s time, Banik emphasised, “As marketers, we always kept demand marketing at the funnel and neglected supply, but this time we have learned how supply is critical to marketing as a funnel. In today’s time, supply has become a new demand and new marketing and we started looking it at more rigorously.”

According to him, there are many brands that did not advertise in the lockdown period, but sectors like e-commerce, OTT and FMCG are highly focused this time.  “Consumer-centric supply demands model has increased. FMCG as a category has grown up by 45 per cent, while auto has gone down eight per cent. E-commerce has gained traction, almost 35 per cent in the last few months.”

Banik believes, “Brands in India need reach and for that, we need to go back to the television. Q3 will be an opportunity for us to revive. The basic funnel of doing business in India in any category is about reaching to the direct distribution channels. No brand can live without the reach of television. In the coming months, IPL and the festive season will begin and we could see advertisers spending high on TV.”

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