Euro RSCG’s Ashok Lalla believes in delivering TO The Consumer Whatever He Wants, Whenever He Wants it and Wherever He Is. And that’s what, as per him, is going to really drive Media Consumption in India

He leads the Digital business arm of Euro RSCG in India, and focuses on delivering next-gen digital marketing solutions to an array of leading global and Indian brands. He also sits on the Euro RSCG APAC Digital Council. In a career spanning over 18 years, both at the client as well as the agency side, he has marketed brands that cut across the spectrum from one cent candies to million dollar hotel stays. In an exclusive interaction with 4Ps B&M, Ashok Lalla, President – Digital, Euro RSCG talks about the key elements that are driving media consumption in the country. Excerpts:

From a digital perspective, do you think 3G is really over-rated when it comes to influencing media consumption in India?
As a matter of fact, I do. Because 3G is not just about 3G, it’s about the quality of the content you provide, its value and its context. For instance, 3G has scored big time in retail marketing in Singapore and Japan, where people are using a phone which is a GPS device. You know where your consumer is, you know his location, and using that bit of information you provide him with engaging content. That’s how you set one brand apart from the other and in the end make it meaningful for the consumer. That’s where you are talking about relevance & context, and really tailoring it differently every time for a same guy, rather than creating 130 seconds or 60 seconds commercial. Till that’s done in India, I think it’s overrated. Further, there are fewer devices and connections in India. I think the big play in India will only come when 4G happens. In fact, India is going to skip a generation really, just like it skipped the generation of pagers and went straight onto using mobiles, unlike America which had a complete phase of pagers before it leaped on to mobile communication. Similarly, I think we are going to skip a generation with 3G as well, though people seem to be a little rattled when I say that, but, time will tell.

What, according to you, are the trends that are shaping media consumption in India?
It essentially has to be the quality and relevance of content. If it is in tandem with what I want and if it’s in context with when I want it, how I want it, that would really draw people to shape that content. So you can go ahead and create a lot of apps, you can create a lot of content on, say, DTH, but is it relevant? There’s too much of overkill of information where today everyone can be an author. So precisely the barriers are not there any more. In order to keep the people glued to your content, the quality needs to improve and the meaning needs to improve a lot more. Also, I feel that the ‘www’ phenomenon, popularly known as the world wide web, is dead already. The future of content and media consumption is defined by ‘whatever, whenever, and wherever’. That’s the new ‘www’ according to me. So you give the person whatever he wants, whenever he wants it and wherever he is. That’s what’s going to really drive media consumption. It’s not about building by destination and worrying about driving people to it. The idea is to have many islands of connectivity and that’s what will trigger media consumption. Even large portals are realising it, you can sign into YouTube, blogger through gmail which wasn’t possible earlier. Now there’s an aggregation and de-intermediation at the same time. Thus, at one point you are aggregating the content and at the same time you are putting it out in a fragmented form asking the consumer to take his pick. It’s almost like a Lego Block model of media consumption.
Do you think there’s any media platform that is either dead or is about to go extinct?
Interestingly, a lot of media convergence is happening nowadays. So when I am watching a TV video online, am I really consuming TV content or should it be considered a web content? Because of this convergence, it’s getting a bit hazy. What is www? Or for that matter, what is a video blog? Is it a video or is it a text? If it’s a video, you might say that text is dead. Also at one level Twitter, which is by and large text communication, brings out videos as well. So, it would be safe to say that what is really dead is a uni-dimensional media delivery. If a radio channel is not able to integrate, it will be dead. I think unidimensional media delivery is a recipe for disaster. Every medium needs to be a lot more integrated and interactive. And if you can have it somehow user generated as well, even better. You can actually mark them into different levels, so there is integration at the first level, then the next level is interaction, the third is user generated, more like the citizen journalism activity initiated by TV channels.

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Source : IIPM Editorial, 2011.

An Initiative of IIPM, Malay Chaudhuri and Arindam chaudhuri (Renowned Management Guru and Economist).

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