The Half-Year That Was-III
By Team MxM
Presenting the concluding part of our feature asking some business leaders to review how the January to June 2012 period was for the industry as a whole and/or their specific sectors and organizations.
Mohit Joshi, MD, MPG
There has been a marginal growth (under 5 per cent) in adex in Jan-June 2012, as when compared to the same period in 2011. Some sectors that have been slightly depressed are auto and cellular phone service while sectors that have gone up are education/ institutes, jewellery and insurance.
Jaideep Shergill, CEO, Hanmer MSL
I would say the PR space is growing but it has not been a year where there have been some big pitches that one would expect. That was what 2010-11 was all about. Although there has been some business, it has been more of an organic one. One of the factors that led to the sluggish growth is the economic scenario which has been going through a hard phase recently. But I would want to think of it as otherwise – when there is a general lack of trust in the market, I think that is where PR has a larger role to play. But that is not what usually happens. For our group too, it has been a good year but it could have been better.
As the market conditions get more complicated, clients are looking at other streams to expand their business. And that’s where social media is playing a huge role. Our social media unit itself has been seeing some tremendous traction and we have hired more people in the unit. So the medium will continue to see some good growth. But the other thing about social media is that it is evolving continuously – what was happening a year ago and what is happening now is completely different. The medium has been evolving at a good pace.
Pankaj Raj, Director, Search Value Consultants Pvt Ltd
I would summarize hiring as still being slow and sluggish in this space. There are 2-3 observations that I would like to bring across. The first is that most organisations today are in ‘sensible hiring’ mode. This is really about replacement, immediate benefit kind of hiring. The second trend that I am seeing is that there is a huge sense on cost consciousness, whose effects are seen in the hiring space as well. The third trend that I am seeing is that increments haven’t been really good. So there is a level of concern amongst employees in the M&E sector. But having said that, some organisations are still hiring and not in standstill mode.
As for the next six months, it’s a function of revenues – on how the September quarter turns out for the advertisers. Also, the December quarter is a peak season from an advertiser point of view; a lot of advertisers are active during this period. But to predict growth for the March quarter next year is a bit difficult. We will have to wait and watch how the growth pans out till then.
Abha Kapoor, Executive Director, K&J Consultants
The Media and Entertainment sector is not an island. This space is as affected as any other by the global and national environment. What’s going on in the rest of the world, and in our own country – the economic indices, inflation, governance or the lack of it, have a universal effect on all sectors, not just Media. So if the indices and sentiment are looking southward, then we are as affected by it as any other sector. You have to consider the macro perspective as also the ones specific to us to probably understand the lull in the hiring market.
There is likely to be a spike from September-October onwards, during the festival period. That’s when you see brands spending more. Therefore, there is likely to be a more optimistic/feel good factor and an expansion (need-based) in hiring. But it is not likely to be at the rate and scale that we have seen in the past.
In our case at K&J – we are used to working on three start-ups simultaneously like television, radio and digital – which used to be the case a couple of years ago, but no more! So the pace has definitely slowed down. Digital is the new kid on the block, so there is a lot of activity happening in that vertical.
K Jayaraman, MD and CEO of Hathway Cable and Datacom Limited
The industry is been focused on digitization, as its on the anvil and the Indian broadcasting space is in the process of witnessing the dawn of a new digital era with its implementation proposed by the Government of India. With this, the government has paved the way for transition to a Digital Addressable Cable TV system (DAS).
For the average Indian family, the TV is the primary source of news, entertainment and education. The liberalization of the Indian economy starting 1991 has led to what it termed as an explosion of channels catering to different genres. Today we have more than 550 channels broadcasting leaving out the count of local channels specific to regions.
As per The Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2011, the cable TV industry is required to migrate all subscribers from analog signals to digital. The overall objective of the industry has been to expose every television viewer to an experience which will invariably give consumers the opportunity to resolve some of the issues they have faced with analog cable systems.
At Hathway our aim has always been to providing consumers with enhanced viewing experience.
Sanjay Dua, CEO, Network18 News Media
This year has been a mixed bag for the industry quite frankly. On the advertising front, the decline in economic sentiment has created a challenging environment, especially for some genres. So, while growth continues to exist, its pace has been muted and variable. However, given the positive move towards digitization, a possible revival in outlook and the impetus of festival spending, the second half holds a lot more promise for broadcasters. We are cautiously optimistic about the scenario going forward.
Rahul Razdan, President – ibibo Games & Mobile
The gaming industry in India witnessed a concerted shift towards mobile gaming on the iOS and Android platforms. Games are now ubiquitous across platforms.
Games exploiting the touch and tilt features of smartphones were very well received. Our game – Can You Draw, which we’d made for our web platform two years back – became one of the top games on the Android platform within weeks of being launched there.
While the first phase of web social games plateaued out, live multiplayer games maintained their growth and continue to be the top games on our platform.
Dr Subho Ray, President – Internet & Mobile Association of India (IAMAI)
I would say that the year began with a bang. Between January and April there were serious hopes that that this would be a bumper year for the industry. However, in the last two months, there have been some caution and apprehension. The very positive performance was the result of key factors like secular growth of traffic both in urban and rural areas, investments coming in on time and some friendly regulatory announcements like removal of service tax on digital advertisement. The more recent sentiment of caution is led by primarily European crisis. However, so far it is only a caution and alert stage.
Jogi George, CEO, Percept Sport & Entertainment
To be frank, the first half wasn’t as it was expected to be. There was business, but it was more about collections. Also, for our company, some of the major projects have been moved to the second half. Hopefully, this trend won’t continue and things will improve once the rupee stabilizes. As for the overall industry, it’s not that people aren’t ready to spend, but they have become more cautious and selective as some of the sectors are experiencing a gloomy outlook. Hence, there is a wait and watch attitude.
Hemal Thakkar, producer, Playtime Creation
It’s been a mixed year so far, a major setback was Imagine shutting down and a big welcome was Life Ok. Lot of new format shows have been launched this year – the biggest being Satyamev Jayate. Inflation has put lot of pressure on the industry, and with rising cost of programmes, we have to put together a skilled team to manage our shows within budgets. In future, rising expenses are going to be major burden for the industry. Playtime Creations has had good start with Ruk Jana Nahi and as a company, we feel that this show has given us the opportunity to experiment with new content. There are couple of other projects in the pipeline which we are excited about. The best aspect of our industry is it keeps us on our toes and so we expand rediscover and reinvent and keep breathing.