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Can Western Media Brands Capitalise on the Digital Growth in India?

The global media landscape is subject to constant change, with savvy media brands seeking to adopt the latest technologies and trends to attract a wider audience. And, thanks in part to the growth of smartphone and tablet sales, it is now easier than ever for consumers to discover, share (and even publish) this media content.

These factors have been shaping the way the media industry engages with audiences in the western economies for some time now but, with improving communications infrastructure and an increase in disposable income, more and more consumers in the emerging economies look set to join the party. Take India, for example, where it is predicted that PC sales (comprising desktops, notebooks and netbooks) is expected to grow by 8 percent across 2013-14 – with the tablet being the preferred choice for consumers (source: Times of India). This figure may not seem particularly high but it takes on new meaning, when compared to the overall global figure which, says the IDC, has actually contracted by 11.4% in the last quarter from the same time last year. It is these kinds of developments that are prompting many media companies to explore new overseas markets in search of growth – and further research suggests that India in particular may provide a rich stream of new revenue opportunities for the media industry.

India’s digitisation developments The Indian market has a rapidly expanding middle class and an appetite for western brands. This has seen companies such as British high street retailers, Marks & Spencer, open 10 stores in recent years with joint venture partners Reliance Retail. Media looks set to follow in their footsteps, buoyed by a growing market of consumers who now have access to internet-enabled devices. This growing audience is having an effect on digital advertising too, which grew by nearly 41% last year – with revenues surging from 15.5 billion rupees in 2011 to 21.7billion rupees. And a recent Boston Consulting Group paper, Buzz to Bucks: “Capitalizing on India’s Digitally Influenced Consumers” suggests that the number of internet users in India is likely to triple from 125 million in 2011 to 330 million by 2016 and is likely to increase further as the digital services become more accessible. Digitisation is not restricted to the internet either. In December 2012, Parliament in India enacted a new Bill to make digitisation of cable TV mandatory. The initiative started with the key areas of Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai and is expected to be pan-India by 2014. Because of this initiative, Indian Broadcasters are experiencing phenomenal growth – a factor which has been quickly noted by western companies.

So how do western media brands capitalise on this growth? In India, many forms of digital advertising and content delivery are still considered to be in a nascent stage – giving Western media firms with experience in delivering a digital experience, the opportunity to break new ground at relatively little cost. In addition, there are opportunities to licence and/or syndicate Western media brands to experienced local partners so that the market can be tested, and a gradual local presence can be developed and explored. Joint-ventures, as in the case of Marks & Spencer, can provide firms with much needed local market knowledge, and local market acquisitions can also offer a platform to grow a brand into an established base.

External help Although this seems to be an intriguing and exciting prospect for media companies to accelerate growth, some may be rightly exercising caution when considering an expansion strategy into new markets. At Invenio, we continue to help media companies develop the right solutions to support growing a global brand. As a SAP media specialist, we understand the market challenges you face – from platform convergence and digitisation to shifting market dynamics, IP protection and content distribution and can help you explore the right solutions needed to support a growing, global media business. If you would like to know more about how we can help your media company grow and prosper contact us now.