The Anchor: Rajan Narayan on 5 reasons why ‘Digital’ isn’t the only way forward

26 Apr,2012

By Rajan Narayan


1. Data says so

Yes, digital advertising is growing rapidly at 28 per cent but then its base is small at Rs7.7 bn and surprisingly despite print and TV being more than 13 times the size of digital advertising, both are clipping at 14 per cent growth rates with Radio matching digital advertising in size and growth. The traditional media will still account for more than 75 per cent of the industry in 2015. (Source: The PWC report on India Entertainment and Media 2011)


2. TV and print still reaches out to many more people than digital

TV/Print/Radio reach 57/20/18 per cent of India’s total population. Internet is at just 3 per cent. Even in urban India penetration for TV/P/R/I is loaded against digital at 82/36/22/9 per cent. (Source IRS 2011 Q4)


3. Every medium plays a unique role that is irreplaceable

Try reading from a laptop on your hammock, or keep your family glued for 3 hours around your tablet. And we won’t discuss what to read in the loo here. Got the picture? Our habits are so deeply entrenched within us that changing it would mean re-ordering the entire process. Much easier to stick to the habit. Digital is creating new habits but not at the cost of others. Digital is very personal: It’s you and your pc/tablet/laptop/phone connected to the world. By that very reason the sender is made physically lonely. On the other hand, a theatre or your TV is media that bring the world to you and your dear ones to share simultaneously. Here your happiness is multiplied by the shared joy of your close ones. A sensation digital can never replicate.


4. People consume digital differently from other media

The big plus about digital is its interactivity. It’s the place where you put out your ideas and share things. But where do you get the stuff in the first place? From other media! The songs you like you first hear over the radio, the films you watch on the big screen, the game and contest you follow on TV. You then download or share this on the digital platform. So there are these two roles of media: one that gives you the information and another where you put out what you like. Put in which will remain largely traditional and put out media which is and will largely be digital.


5. The idea of the brand is what people connect with; the medium is created to serve this end

The start of the American War of Independence was spread to hundreds of thousands of people in the course of one single night. The medium? Word of mouth. The medium had nothing to do with the speed at which the message spread. It was the message itself that was galvanizing enough to get people to ride and walk hundreds of kilometres to spread it. The message was Liberty. WOM is still what sells iphones and ipads in a single night!  Never confuse the medium for the message. ‘Let’s do a viral!’ is the wrong way to begin digital activity. Choose digital if it is the most cost efficient or most penetrating of media among your consumers. Keep in mind that no medium can help a weak message.


These views have a current context and a three-year horizon. It is possible that Digital in India may follow the West and completely overtake traditional media. It is also possible that like Retail inIndia, it may never take off beyond a limited scope. Or India may yet surprise us by evolving an entire new method of consuming media unlike anything the World has seen. Wait for the magic to unfold.


Rajan Narayan is President, Quadrant Communications


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2 responses to “The Anchor: Rajan Narayan on 5 reasons why ‘Digital’ isn’t the only way forward”

  1. Amit A says:

    I couldn’t agree more. Nice article, Rajan.

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