Getting SMEs to advertise on telly, the Amagi way

06 Oct,2016


Amagi, has launched an online media planning and buying commerce platform – Amagi MIX. With this, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) can plan and launch television campaigns at an affordable cos, the Bengaluru-based adtech firm says  and advertisers can choose from over 50 channels on the platform which includes both regional and national channels to target a specific region. Santosh Jangid caught up with Baskar Subramanian, Co-Founder, Amagi Media Labs, to know more about AmagiMIX and the future of Amagi going forward.


Amagi has been around for some years. While the acceptability was steady in the early years, how would you say has the going been in recent years?

I think the company is in a pretty exciting phase at this point of time because a lot of things are coming together. Obviously, Amagi was the first one to pioneer geo-targeted advertising on television which I think we have created a new marketplace and if you look at it, it’s starting to be announced as a separate market that people are trying to start tracking and all the advertisers have started using it as a regular part of their media planning and media buying exercise. So I think that’s our first success from a company perspective.


The second step and the most critical step that we are doing is to expand the advertising market for everybody. Two important classifications that we have addressed is to go online which allows us to then expand the marketplace, bring in completely new set of advertisers to the whole spend which didn’t exist or they couldn’t  access the media options that are available.


The second part is the whole online video that we are expanding which allows you to expand the pie in terms of new media options that are available for people. So, I think we are in a fairly very exciting phase, the company has grown quite healthy and we believe the next three years are going to be much more exciting because of the new offers coming on board and with our international expansions going quite well and growing rapidly.


In a sense, your platform is eliminating the need for an advertising agency? Is the process of bypassing an agency a healthy one for you in the long run?

Fundamentally, if you look at it, the target group for AmagiMIX are SME businesses which are either having budget that is small for a media agency of any medium or large sizes to even address. These are not for businesses which are already large. So, if I have a large business, I have a media agency relation, then this is not the platform you will come to because it doesn’t make sense for you. These are for businesses that are smaller and which are looking for self-service models to address rather than have the ability to go and engage with a media option or I am in Tier II- III towns where I don’t have access to quality media agency options to do that and online model allows me to do that. So what AmagiMIX provides you is three things: first, it allows you to have an unbiased media planning. What it does is that it makes it so simple for you to just give your category and it has a lot of knowledge at the back end through which it actually identifies what is the best plan for you, in a very unbiased fashion it provides you. So it becomes a very trusted media consultant in some sense. Second, it provides you breadth of TV options or tomorrow all the media options which you wouldn’t have got access to when you are sitting there. Third, is a model which is self-service which means you can start buying directly and get your creatives done without having to go through a lot more people or businesses to address. So you come to one entity, pay by credit card or bank transfer and you are literally done with your whole transaction. We believe ease of option, the depth of media planning and the capabilities that it has and the breadth of TV channels and media options that we are going to bring in will be the biggest benefit for the SME client.


Local cable television hasn’t grown as it should have and the tendency for advertisers on television is to be more national and regional than local? In that scenario, how does Amagi grow beyond what it is today?

Largely, if we look at it the target group of our advertiser base is SME. These are brands, masala brands, papad brands, pickle or oil brands largely. The needs of these people are either in a single state or maybe two states. So, I might be a brand in Rajasthan but I need Rajasthan and Gujarat. This is the sort of SMEs we are talking about. For these brands, AmagiMIX is a great platform for two reasons, one is that it allows us to bring in a lot more regional inventory. For example, in Maharashtra, we provide about eleven to twelve Marathi channels. So you can just come to the platform and now start buying Marathi channels, you can buy geo-targeted Hindi channels (GECs) which are only for your Maharashtra market for example. Now suddenly we have got a very compelling media option that was not available to you before. Second, you now need not call and talk to people but you can come online and start exploring and experimenting and finding out what is the best media options that are available.


Many of the big channels that you deal with also use their own sales routes, and use you essentially for regional split beaming. Does that work well with you, because aren’t the monies are in the bigger ads?

From a geo-targeted perspective, we get inventory at the national level, split it and send it to different passives. The model is pretty straightforward, some of the parts become real in the whole. Second part is, if you look at it from AmagiMIX perspective, we are providing a compelling platform for broadcasters to reach SME population which is very hard for them. Their teams sales team do not have the access to the breadth and depth that you need to go after SMEs across the country. AmagiMIX allows you to explore and expand the marketplace.


Star India has its own geo-targetting solution. There are rumours that Zee – a key client of yours may also go in for its own. Comments?

Largely, we work with Zee, we work with Colors, we work with Times Now and we work with many different channels. The fundamental reason or value that TV channels work with us is because this is an extremely hard technology workflow processes and the sales mechanism and it is kind of uneconomical if we are doing it for a particular channel or a particular group. The advantage of Amagi is that it creates a whole bouquet of channels. The investments needed for a single channel to do it is quite uneconomical. As a company, because we are an aggregator, it makes sense for us to aggregate many more channels to do that and that is one of the reasons why all the channels that we talked about continued to be with us for the last three years for example and we continue to grow almost on a 100% Year-On-Year basis with them.


Lastly, BARC recently announced that it is working towards measurement of geo-targeted advertising. Will you also be providing audience measurement data in parallel or will it be in sync with BARC?

It will always be in sync with BARC. In fact BARC has already started third-party monitoring of geo-targeted advertising which Amagi is participating in as a part of it. Today, advertisers already use that information to look at their monitoring logs through a third party basis. So they don’t need to depend on an Amagi to tell them when it played or where it played. Now they get BARC information to provide that and there are mechanisms to enable measurement on top of this as well. Yes, BARC is committed to bringing a whole geo-targeted suite of products which allows the measurement to be done. We think that BARC is the right consortium through which this is to be addressed and instead of building an independent measurement information mechanism we work with BARC very closely in this process.


Dear MxM by Jaisurya Das

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