A lot of change in world & media landscape is thanks to digital: CVL Srinivas

11 Feb,2014

The GroupM CEO South Asia in conversation with Rishi Vora on growth areas for digital and how digital is at the centre of all business verticals. Excerpts:


How would you look at Group M’s focus on digital media? Where does digital stand in Group M’s priority list?

Last year we got together as a team and we created a new vision for ourselves. The vision was to have digital at the heart of everything we do, to create a digital culture and to provide digital solutions to clients with new ideas, new approaches. We decided to do more of the new and less of the old.


We created a three-year programme called the ‘New Me’. For GroupM, New Me is a repositioning in terms of how we approach business practices across the GroupM verticals. We want each and every member of the Group M community to take notice that the world is changing and that the rules of the game are also constantly changing.


As a media agency brand we are No 1 but there is no guarantee we will continue to be No 1 if we continue to have the same approach we did for many years. The world is changing, the media landscape is changing and a lot of that change is happening due to digital. It is with this thought we came up with the New Me approach.


So the agency has evolved from its core of being a media agency and that it is adding a lot many layers to it?

Absolutely! Earlier the media planning and buying was the core business. But now we have changed the definition of Core. We have seen the growth happening in non-core areas, and we are in fact calling these non-core businesses the new core.


At the industry level, what are the various initiatives GroupM is taking on the digital front?

Last year we partnered with Social Media Week, an event which came to Mumbai for the first time. The Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) is another industry event which we are associated with. We, in fact, are setting up MMA in India this year to evangelise mobile as a medium to help rest of the industry and the ecosystem.


Digital Rendezvous was another initiative, but that is more internal. Maybe at some stage we will take it to the industry.


So everything is flowing in from the New Me philosophy which we have adopted. Even the tools that we have created and launched.


As an industry we need to take notice of the changes happening and manage the transition from practices of the old world to the practices of the new world effectively. It means investments in new tools, knowledge, skill sets etc.


Talking about the rapid growth of digital as is estimated in the report, what are the implications on advertisers?

Advertisers will be keen on investing in digital as consumers have got many options in the digital space – be it social platforms or mobile apps. We are going to see a rise in the user generated content. So all these aspects will have a positive impact on the advertisers’ mind.


A lot of advertising will come from the entertainment sector for the mobile industry as smaller towns and cities – the mobile device is also seen as an entertainment device given lack of infrastructure.


How do you see 2014 pan out for social media as a business?

In 2014, we will see the emergence of new platforms. While platforms such as Facebook will continue to do well, we will see a lot of brands moving towards, Instagram, Pinterest etc.


Are we going to see a rise in M-commerce in 2014? What are the implications on the industry on that front?

Yes, there will be a growth in the M-Commerce space as well. Research online (from a PC) and pay offline. The thing is shifting to research on mobile and pay offline. If operators can connect consumers with payment gateways on the mobile phones, there will be a huge growth in M-Commerce where consumers will start buying products and services from their mobile phones.


To mention a few clients – Nokia, Vodafone, Perfetti, Pepsi – they all have taken mobile as a serious platform and they have kind of experimented with it. 2014 definitely see a lot of initiatives on the mobile advertising front.


Overall digital pie is at 35 per cent, what is the share of mobile in that?

Last year the size of mobile advertising was about Rs 350 crore. By the end of 2014, we should see that increasing to Rs 450 to 470 crore.


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