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Digital will overtake TV viewership in India by 2020

Over a year ago, if I was to tell you that the number of internet users in India will overtake those of Television in the next 4-5 years, you would have debated it. Today, surely not. In the last 18 months, 150 million new internet users (50% growth) have been added which previously took 6 long years! Thanks to Reliance JIO offering data at a minimal cost along with handset brands that continue to improve their offerings at lower costs.

Today, India is surely poised to be one of the fastest growing internet nations in the world. How fast can it grow over TV? In my view, it has already started. Right from the active user base to watch time and intent is shifting. Confused? Here’s why-
1) A growing number of people are spending more time on digital than any other medium. To be precise an average Indian spends 2 hours and 25 minutes on the internet which is more than any other medium (TV, Print & Radio)
2) The trend of light TV watchers (in fact light anything watchers) who have mobile as their second always on screen is growing rapidly. This indicates to the fact that ad viewership is now at a decline considering users are not watching TV ads instead are replacing them with more mobile content. Here is a chart from Milward ad reaction study that explains the same:

Milward Ad reaction study

3) The number of consumers that digital natives is increasing. They use their TV not to watch satellite TV but stream OTT content using internet. More than 50% of the US market is doing this already and India is going to be no exception with the influx of Smart TVs. In the future this will allow markets to programmatically reach consumers on a TV screen at scale with little or no spillover.

In my view these are few key shift areas that will facilitate the digital boom by 2020:

  • Data will get cost standardized (almost has with JIO coming in).
  • Mobile phone handsets will become more affordable and better in technology (3G/4G phones are available in a few 000’s).
  • Government of India will continue to promote use of digital in a much more larger way with more reforms coming along (PM Modi is a big big believer in digital).
  • Internet companies will keep on investing in becoming better with stickiness and time spent (Thanks to Facebook, Youtube, Hotstar, Netflix, Saavn, Buzzfeed, Internet Celebrities and so much more).
  • Commerce will shift further away from offline to online (Thanks to the Amazons of the world).
  • Technology will evolve and get in front of consumers more often. IOT will soon be a common home concept (Aided by brands making Wi-Fi enabled products).
  • Last but not the least, people will continue to grow and spend more time on the digital medium than any other medium.

Of course there are cynics who believe that digital has concerns of view ability, active watch time of ads, transparency, etc. but I feel with time, metrics are getting better. Additionally, a sharper native approach from brands will come into play as the industry progresses. If everything continues at this pace, from infrastructure to affordability to consumer adoption, by 2020 we will have about a billion people on the internet. Only if India gets there before 2020, I could be inaccurate.

We (agencies, marketers & consumers) are unarguably in the best phase of digital growth in India and it’s about time we capitalize on it.

First appeared on TVNews4u

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