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‘Traditional media are over-cluttered’

Alan Rutherford, CEO, Digitas Global came to India recently as an acknowledgement of the importance of this market in the digital communication domain. In a chat with Saurabh Turakhia, he talked of his company’s plans for India.

india Updated: Apr 03, 2008 23:00 IST
Hindustan Times

What made you decide to enter India?

I think the market is ready for a digital agency. There is convergence of old and new media on old and new platforms. Technology is playing a big role in marketing services. Solutions is a good digital agency with a good management team. While it is true that internet penetration is small, 40 million internet users is not a small number. It is expected to double in the next two years.

Explain your optimism about the digital media.

The traditional media are over-cluttered. If you check out the award winning campaigns, they are in the digital space. Check out the internet films of Axe and Dove which have connected quite well. Social networking is another great tool to reach young audiences.

In Western Europe, 70 per cent of new car buyers use search before making their decisions. The traditional media are not delivering. Digital advertising is clocking growth rates of as high as 20-30 per cent in some markets. In Western Europe, consumers spend 20 per cent of time consumed on media online.

Which categories contribute more to your business?

There are three categories. First, is sectors like banking, insurance, telecommunications, airlines, the service and technology categories where one-to-one communication is vital.

Second, there are categories such as education, healthcare and search. Third, we also have mass consumer clients such as Unilever.

What is your India strategy?

Our key Indian strategy is to merge the Digitas and Solutions way. We also intend to import project management processes. Prodigious Worldwide, our production arm, will create websites, online advertising and other digital properties. We are looking at India as a potential production arm.

What are your observations on consumption of digital media in various countries?

It varies from country to country. There is an explosion of social networks in the US and UK. Seventy per cent of young adults in the UK use social networking. In China, instant messaging and blogging are a big hit. Pepsi has signed on some blogging superstars as brand ambassadors in China.

How big are Digitas and Solutions?

Digitas’ turnover is over 600 million euros. It was acquired for $1.3 billion by Publicis Groupe and is present in seven countries: US, UK, France, India, China, Japan and Singapore. Solutions’ revenues are Rs 32 crore; it was set up in 1995.