The new reality

11 May,2012

By Premjeet Sodhi


The change in society is expressed in three key dimensions which are Attitude, Affluence and Ambience. Of course, there is certainly an interaction between each of these as they are not independent of each other. And, in the past few years each of these have significantly changed for the Hindi Hinterland.


The Ambience, which is the infrastructure around, has made progress by leaps and bounds. One can always say that there is a lot to be done for amenities like roads, electricity, healthcare, communication, education, governance, commerce, but all these areas have seen improvement. Government initiatives as well as private enterprise have contributed to this change.


Affluence is on the rise. The average monthly household income has improved (as measured by the IRS database). The access to durables has improved and in most categories not only does this market constitute a large share of sales but is also a high growth market for the future. Automobiles, Entertainment Electronics, Household & Kitchen Durables are all expanding into these markets. For FMCGs, these markets were always an important geography, though only for the essentials, but now the market is also growing for the premium segments. Services, which focused only on metros a decade ago, are all vying for the masses in the Hindi Hinterland today.


The change in Attitude of the consumers is of utmost importance. Increased urbanization, higher exposure to urban lifestyles and high aspirations are fuelling consumer demand. The attitude towards social equality, gender issues, education, personal lifestyles, technology adoption, and so on are all tending to match up with consumers in the other geographies. For Telecom, the Hindi Hinterland is a gold mine. The growth rates in these markets are enormous and cell phones are changing the very basics of media reach.


Illiteracy has decreased by 15 per cent and 18 per cent in the rural and urban areas respectively in the last 5 years. The readership of publications (mostly dailies) has grown manifold in the last decade and continues to be an area of growth in the future.


Television ownership has grown at a CAGR of 10.3 per cent over the past 5 years and viewership is increasing exponentially. Hindi news channels, Hindi movies and GECs are fast growing; regional content on TV too has seen significant growth. The DTH growth story has started from these markets and now is making its presence felt in the larger cities. Despite, the growth in media reach over the past decade, it is still a challenge to do justice to these markets in the current media context.


Hence, the key challenges are:


  • TG Isolation: To manage sufficient reach, most often the largest reach media needs to be utilized and that reaches across target groups. There is, therefore, a lot of spillover resulting in wastage of media monies.
  • Geographical Isolation: As soon as one uses the national Hindi media beyond the regional media the spillover into national markets is inevitable.
  • Message Localization: Most campaigns use the creative made for large urban markets which has a challenge to connect with the consumer in the Hindi Hinterland.
  • Cost per Reach: As local media becomes important for coverage in the market; the comparative cost of reach is a challenge.
    Overcoming any of the above challenges is not easy as most of these are issues are related to the structure of the markets and the media industry. However, the following best practices can help the custodians of communication for these markets:
  • Do not look at each media in isolation. Use a multi-media approach to target specific market and TG. This will help in controlling spillover.
  • Take advantage of localization and extension of campaigns in partnership with the media. Integrate the creative into local contact opportunities and even activation.
  • Make extensive use of local representatives to understand the media preferences.


– The writer is COO, Lintas Media Group


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