At a time when the digital media is growing at a much faster clip than traditional mediums, the sector having no agreed or common measurement metric is baffling, said Ashish Bhasin, chief executive of Dentsu Aegis Network’s (DAN) Asia Pacific operations.
Bhasin, who is also the chairman of DAN India, was elevated to the APAC role in September this year.
Measurement is one big area of his concern, Bhasin told ET. “It surprises me that for an industry where everybody is talking digital, we haven’t yet agreed on a common currency or metrics.”
“Everybody wanted to solve that puzzle, everybody made the right noises, but it was a failing of us as an industry that we haven’t been able to do it,” he said.
All the stakeholders need to arrive at a common consensus and get a measurement system off the ground on which all agree. “At least the basics, then you can go on fine-tuning it and improving it. If you keep trying to discuss every single possible angle, either it will become too expensive or so unviable that you will never get it off the ground,” he said.
Incidentally, BARC India, the joint industry body formed for the TV viewership measurement, had announced digital measurement product – Ekam – however, in absence of a consensus, it is yet to start.
Bhasin added he is optimistic that in the next two years, there will be a digital measurement.
“Currently, everybody comes up with their own numbers. It’s a bit like trading in a marketplace where you’re paying in rupees and others in dollars or yen or in euros. Can you imagine what a chaos it will be if everybody was paying with a different currency? I think that’s where we are heading, unless we come to a common agreed currency,” Bhasin added.
As per DAN’s digital advertising report, in 2020, digital is going to be the second largest medium in the country.
He pointed that Indian media and advertising industry also has to focus on attracting right talent. “This is no longer an industry where best talent wants to come to. Our entire focus has been on poaching from each other, rather than create an ecosystem where we grow more talent and make ourselves more attractive to that talent. As an industry in India we’ve let ourselves down.”.
Bhasin warned that those legacy creative or media agencies, which don’t change with time, will perish fast.
“As an industry, advertising agencies have been pretty slow and now they’re trying to play catch up,” he said. “I think, because we had futureproofed ourselves that really worked very well for us, otherwise we would have also struggled like most of our competitors are struggling.”
Bhasin added that most agencies have ignored the digital transformation at their peril. “I think the era of those dinosaurish old world creative agencies, who were only used to making 30 second TVC ads or 100 cc print ads, and now trying to make it for digital formats or digital billboard, that era has gone. Those dinosaurs will perish faster than what we think. And I think the agency landscape five years from now will be very, very different from what it is today.”