Whenever a new, pathbreaking medium comes into play ,it goes without saying, the entire media landscape changes. Think of the entry of Print , Radio , Films , Television , etc and the enormous impact they all had when they came into existence. But ever since the advent of the mobile phone and the Internet in the 2000’s and the consequent digital and communication revolution, our lives have changed irreversibly . Now if you add the recent impact of the Covid pandemic to this phenomenon, the digital revolution is on the fast lane with digital media consumption hitting a new peak . Some of these consumption changes are here to stay and some aren’t . In the post-covid era , despite the continuing growth story of digital media , traditional media is thankfully bouncing back after a temporary dip in India
Trends in media space unique to India
While this trend of comeback by traditional media is happening globally what is unique to our country is that each of the key traditional media platforms viz. TV , Print , Radio & OOH are expected to show positive growth individually over the next five year period even as digital media keeps growing rapidly led by deeper internet and mobile penetration .
This is just not the case elsewhere in the world and does indicate that digital and traditional media seem to be not only co-existing but are also complementing each other in growth here . May be there is so much market potential in an emerging economic superpower like India that there is space for all media to thrive but , of course , in varying proportions . In other words , traditional media may witness steady growth at best or even low growth (eg. Print media which isn’t growing in most parts of the world) while digital grows by leaps and bounds . Next question that hits our mind is if this unique trend is something to cheer about ?
Balancing act can be beneficial
Whether this balancing act between digital and traditional media that is happening in India can potentially bring some socio-economic benefits along with it is the moot question worth analysing . To appreciate the case for continued growth for traditional media , one may have to look closely at some of the prevailing controversies surrounding digital or social media :
Wide prevalence of fake or unfiltered news on digital platforms is a matter of grave concern in a world which is being increasingly dominated by digital media . And the most unfortunate thing is that during the once-in-a-century kind of crisis created by covid pandemic where there were no instant solutions on offer it was critical that only regulated, scientific and authentic info is passed to the anxious public , but then digital or social media proved to be a mixed bag with all kinds of unverified info being communicated directly to the common man . People had to rely on traditional media like Radio ,Print ,TV ,etc to get more filtered and dependable info bereft of speculation and no wonder , some media research surveys done during this period indicated that Radio and Print were ranked high on credibility with social media was lagging well behind .
We all by now know about the controversy involving the world’s richest man stalling his takeover of Twitter on the grounds of suspected bot accounts . While there is a debate on the percentage of fake accounts , there seems to be no flat denial about its very existence on this particular platform or a few other digital platforms which is of concern to both end users and advertisers
Last but not the least , the on going debate on data privacy and digital surveillance . Intimate personal data captured through innocent looking cookies in browsers and websites and also thro various apps that we use everyday is arguably the biggest threat to privacy that mankind is facing at this point in time in spite of the unquestionable benefits of using social media . At present, 80% of the advertisers are said to be using cookies for ad targeting and customisation . While some effective measures like deprecation of third party cookies by Google , etc and removal of IDFA access by Apple ios are already being considered or being partially executed, the fact remains that our personal data will be key to monetization of digital media and one needs to be cautious about sharing it always . From the advertiser’s point of view , other than concerns on new restrictions due to privacy protection affecting reach , customisation and accurate targeting without media wastage, there a few other crucial points to ponder which are related to certain ‘x’ factors like emotional connect , lasting loyalty , etc which are most critical for brand building .
Given the concerns shared above , one can safely suggest that marketing objectives of brands can be more comprehensively achieved by striking the right balance between traditional and digital media instead of putting all the eggs in one basket . This way one can get the best of both worlds as the traditional media can help target a wider audience and establish an emotional connect with better brand loyalty and the digital media can be used to focus on specific segments and to measure the output of a campaign more accurately .
Over and above the points discussed above , thinking straight from the heart and as an end user devoid of bias, we all know that each and every major media option whether it is TV , Digital ,Radio , Print and OOH has its own, alluring charm and yours sincerely for one would not want to give up on any of these options going forward . Thankfully, the unique trend being predicted in the Indian media landscape of co-existence and thriving of both traditional and digital media at least in the immediate future should definitely be music to all our ears !
Written by B Surendar,COO & Director,Red FM network