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PMMAO 2009 Outlook Internet : Mouse hour

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The Internet, which has till now been taking home the consolation prize for its size and relative growth, can now   more emphatically stake claim for a bigger pie with an enviable growth prediction in times when most media platforms are either bleeding or are  out there, posting a miniscule growth.

According to the Pitch-Madison Media Advertising Outlook 2009, the medium signals to arrive as one of the most formidable mediums in  the year 2009. The 2009 projections peg the size of Internet at Rs 453 crore with a year-on-year growth of a good 25 percent.

Our Survey finds the Internet to emerge as one of the few mediums that will push the growth momentum for the advertising industry. For the first time in many years, Internet will be able to cross the two-percent mark to claim 2.1 percent of the total ad-pie. One of the reasons why internet promises to deliver better results in 2009 is that it is likely to play its measurability card more effectively and more reasonably.

Since the core online advertisers also constitute majority of heavy print spenders, eyeing for better measurability, they won’t squeeze the ad flow for this medium. Lower outlays and better measurability vis-à-vis other media would ensure growth for the medium. In addition to this,  the reach of the Internet is also bound to fatten and grow over the next one year, contributing to the increased over-spends.

Many analysts perceive that while advertisers are pushing for better cost efficiencies, they will also want to grow their top lines. And the economic slowdown can prove to be auspicious for the launching of new products, stealing market shares or sharpening the brand images. As Google India business head for travel and local business Narsimha Jayakumar contemplates, “while some advertisers are pruning advertising, quite a few are looking to invest more efficiently.  With capital becoming scarcer and scarcer, advertisers are looking for RoIs and other metrics more carefully than ever before. This trend is there to stay and would be keenly watched. This augurs very well for the new media.”

Jayakumar adds that growth will be principally driven by more advertisers adopting the medium for brand advertising and more consumers opting for online research and shopping. Advertisers in sectors like consumer goods, telecom, retail, healthcare and education are also  likely to grow their investments online. This, certainly will help consolidate the gains made in the year 2008.

Even the specialised agencies are sensing it to be the correct time for online advertising to pitch in. Webchutney chief operating officer Rahul Nanda observes, “this period is definitely an opportunity to showcase the clients the RoI capabilities of this new medium. We do hope to ramp up  an even higher percentage of the overall marketing budgets from 2-3 percent to around 5-10 percent on a year-on-year basis.”

Mature markets have very clearly exhibited that when the mass media platforms do shed their share, obviously it is the interactive and, of course, the below-the-line mediums which indeed reap the benefits. NDTV Convergence chief executive officer Sanjay Trehan is of the view that the time is more than ripe for the trend to see a replication in India. He says, “the  advertising spends on the Digital medium—website and mobile will increase. The Internet spending is still growing in US and this trend will be certainly reflected in India as well. “The companies earlier inclined towards the traditional medium have also started experimenting with the web. This will, in all probability, pump growth into the evergrowing digital market over the next 12 months or so.”

Well aware of the fact that Internet still forms a paltry sub two percent of the ad spends, Times Business Solution chief executive R Sundar comments, “the Internet continues to be a niche-spent medium for most of the major spenders. The domestic digital media industry accounts for only about two percent of total media spends; however, this economic downturn has indeed pushed advertisers to look out for more accountability for their ad spends.” The very measurable impact and immediate returns of the online advertising medium will help advertisers target specific groups, making it more easier and more cost effective for them.

Yahoo India director for sales Pearl Uppal also strongly believes that the factors of measurability and targeting will be the aces for the Internet to continue to post a robust growth story. “I believe some of the best work on digital display advertising is beginning to happen now and will further accelerate in the year 2009.” says she.

Quasar co-founder Manish Vij also feels that he sees a bright year for digital advertising but the clients will have to display faith and have patience. MakeMyTrip’ Kalra says, “if sales promotions, new launches, etc. are your goals, then internet is the right option to choose from a host of  other options.”

While 2008 has been a good year for the Internet medium, will 2009 further accelerate its growth and prominence in the ad mix? If the number of internet users and the reasons for spending time online continue, looks like Intenet is here to stay

About the author / 

Neeta Nair

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