Digital will not checkmate television: Vikram Sakhuja

TV gives rise to ‘tribal moments’ which digital cannot handle: Group CEO, Madison Media and OOH, tells Kailashnath Adhikari, MD, Governance Now

GN Bureau | July 2, 2021


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Despite the digital medium giving stiff competition to TV and having high penetration across the country, television will remain the preferred option. According to Vikram Sakhuja, Group CEO, Madison Media and OOH, television gives rise to ‘tribal moments’ which digital cannot handle and it will always be the preferred option of viewers.

“While penetration of digital is very high, it is difficult to get a high amount of reach in a single show. Any advertiser for reach still needs TV. By that token, reach build up on TV will always be the preferred option.”

He was speaking to Kailashnath Adhikari, MD, Governance Now, during the live telecast on Thursday of Visionary Talk series held by the public policy and governance analysis platform.

The ace industry veteran said that today digital is 30% of AdEx and TV is close to 40%. Within digital, video which really threatens TV is only 5% of Ad Ex and forms a very small part. “Digital will grow but TV has not lost the game.”

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Secondly, Sakhuja said that TV gives rise to ‘tribal moments’. He gave the example of live sports and said if people can watch it on big screen TV at night, why would they watch it on phone when they are at home at night. “These are tribal moments very difficult for digital to handle.”

He added that the only time he saw digital owning a tribal moment was during show case of  ‘Game of Thrones’ when die-hard fans would watch the drama series late night or early morning.

“Digital has to come out with its tribal moments for advertising to really see if it has checkmated TV. Digital is a very powerful force but has it checkmated TV? Absolutely not.”

Sakhuja also said that in the coming days YouTube will form the base of video plan and share of OTT will go up. “With agencies and marketers getting evolved in their video planning more OTTs will supplement YouTube,” he said. He said that lack of verified data on OTT is a drawback but most responsible agencies are doing seamless TV and video planning.

Responding to question on if AdEx will rebound to the pre-pandemic levels, the advertising veteran said, “At present we stand on a good level versus first half on 2019. The second half will depend on if a third wave will happen or if there will be another disruption. If everything goes well, our estimates will hold good.”  

With the second wave hitting consumer demand, on being asked when TV will come back to its mojo, Sakhuja said, TV is the driver of AdEx and has never lost its mojo. “When the content is strong you are able to extract pricing from the market. It’s a big tribute to TV. With its resilience and inventory shoring up genres, it is very impressive and we will have to wait till festive season in September.”

Asked how consumers can be made to pay for their choice of channels on TV, he said so far advertising has been the bedrock of the publisher’s revenue base and only differentiated content will get good balance. “It’s not easy”.

On technology, Sakhuja said that going forward data management platforms, artificial intelligence, geo targeting and AR VR (augmented reality and virtual reality) will be the game changers in days to come. He however added that in the long run technology will control your choices. On social level, he said technology is polarizing us; prior behaviour is being reinforced and that is dangerous, he said.

On gaming, Sakhuja said it will be the key component of increased consumer time spent on the medium. “People might use games intelligently by integrating the brand into it.”

 

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