Telecom companies plan to ride on digital advertising in next fiscal


MUMBAI: Mobile phone companies are expected to maintain their advertising budgets at 3-4% of revenue in the next fiscal year despite margin pressure as the need to deliver product messaging has become critical amid brutal price competition, experts said. The focus will be more on digital, including social media and videos, to reach out to customers directly, they added.

“Telcos are in the red but they need to keep communicating amid the tariff wars,” said media consultant Harish Bijoor. “They have access to millions and with the increase in social media access, they can talk to their subscribers one on one.”

Jessie Paul, CEO of marketing advisory firm Paul Writer, said: “As mass products, they will continue to spend on mass media such as print, outdoor, TV along with social media and digital.”

The telecom industry has been roiled by tariff wars following the entry of Reliance Jio Infocomm, making advertising crucial for survival as companies look to attract new subscribers from those exiting or ring fence their own users from poaching. This costs money.

“It is a myth that digital is cheap. It can be more targeted, hence, is more effective,” said a senior executive at Idea Cellular, India’s no. 3 telco, which is merging its operations with Vodafone India. With the increase in data consumption, video advertising has become a key influencer, he said.

The average time spent watching videos in India has doubled in the last few years. With affordable 4G pricing and the falling cost of smartphones, 65% of the audience is now watching 8.5 hours of video content every month, according to Idea.

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