At a time when Indian consumers are just beginning to replace their CRT television sets with large-screen LCD sets, the television industry is already tomtomming HD and 3D TV. Marketers are seriously looking at internet advertising even as broadband penetration still has a long way to go. Newspapers are continuing to grow, so is DTH. And mobile telephony’s rapid growth continues unabated.
In all this, when Accenture comes in with a report that says that the future of media and entertainment will see a hybridisation of content distribution and monetisation models, and the global head of its media and entertainment practice insists India will also move in the same direction, you are curious. He is willing to back this conviction by setting up Accenture’s largest media and entertainment innovation centre in India, surpassing the existing ones in New York and Rome.
Marco Vernocchi, Accenture’s global managing director, media & entertainment practice, points to the Accenture Global Content Study 2009’s finding that even as advertising will remain the predominant model for revenues in the immediate future, revenue streams from pay-per-play/on demand, subscription, freemium — where the subscriber pays a premium for an ad-free experience, and other hybrid mixes of models across media will grow.
He says that the new battleground for media will be a cross-sector competition for consumers, which will be where the real challenges will lie. The next frontier, therefore, will be in achieving excellence in engaging and interacting with consumers. “It will be about building and maintaining relationships with consumers, and monetising that.”
“The tipping point has been reached,” Vernocchi says. “In the long term, India will not be immune from this trajectory, even as in the short term, conventional media will continue to grow.”
He adds that India can expect its media and entertainment business to grow strongly. “All the basics are there in the GDP and population growth. While the traditional media business will keep growing, digital media will grow faster. In five-to-10 years, the trajectory between conventional and digital growth will widen. In three years, digital will be in place.” He points to the internet and mobile media as the digital promises of the future. The study shows mobile will grow the fastest.
The good news for India, Vernocchi says, is that unlike other markets where media transformation has already become a necessity as growth declines, India can look at it as an opportunity. “You can manage your future early in the curve. It’s more of an opportunity than an emergency. There is a huge transformation coming. The seeds are already in evidence here — HD and 3D. Airtel’s innovation of the spoken web — voice instead of text — for illiterate consumers is another example.”
Growth in the future will come from innovation, he concludes, “as more advanced consumption evolution in media will occur as a desire.”