PubNation summit 2021: Tracking the next big surge

  •  November 25,2021 ByIndianTelevision Team

Mumbai: The last 18 months saw the publishing industry adapting to several new trends, leading the way to new business models and use of the latest technology. Data became the new currency, and aggressive efforts were made to mine this data to gauge the audience behaviour that also went through a constant change during this unprecedented time.

So, when digital publishers, advertisers, brands and technology providers came together at this year’s PubNation summit 2021 organised by these evolutionary changes became the centre of the discussion.

Publishers & tech platforms shared their learnings from the year gone by and weighed in on the major growth drivers for digital publishing which lead to higher stickiness for the users and more revenue for the platforms. Dentsu Creative Group India CEO Amit Wadhwa spoke about the rise of digital which has in fact proved to be a ‘saving grace’ for the industry in the past couple of years.

HT Digital Streams chief content officer Prasad Sanyal spoke about reinventing business models, the changing workflows and tapping into the opportunity of education and video. While HT has completely shifted its focus to pivot to a digital-first approach, Sanyal said the next six to eight months will be crucial in determining the outcomes of those decisions.

The panellists also discussed how most publishers today have data analytical teams, and a lot of the decisions are becoming data-driven, and focussed on ‘audience-in’ approach. Network18 Media and Investment Ltd CEO-Digital and president – corporate strategy, Dentsu Publicis Media Services CEO Tanmay Mohanty and Firework India CEO Sunil Nair were among the other key panelists.

Mohanty highlighted how it has become imperative for publishers to share their data, so brands can plan their reach better. He also spoke about the price and efficiency one can then deliver to the client, by moving away from the walled gardens and creating a sustainable media ecosystem. 

Firework’s Nair talked about the opportunity that LIVE commerce provides to ecommerce that is beginning to show promise in India. “Vertical video, swipeable video, shoppable video are far more engaging and we are seeing enough traction out there in terms of sales that’s happening,” he said.

Another session on ‘Personalisation and Monetisation through technology’ witnessed insightful discussion among representatives from InMobi, MAAS, Simplilearn, PayNearby, KreditBee and ShipRocket on the new revenue opportunities. While personalisation is crucial to creating user-centric experiences, the challenge lies in monetising it effectively through technology by creating targeted experiences to the viewers. Indian Television Dot Com founder CEO & editor-in-chief Anil Wanvari set the ball rolling by asking his panellists to share one tech innovation that they found exciting in the recent past.

KreditBee CMO Ishan Bose said the data-driven approach where they identify variables from the user’s different data sources and based on that allocate scores to the users has been a game-changer. “This has helped in amplifying the reach basis the personalisation of credit and improve the quality of lending,” he added. MAAS chief data and platforms officer Vipul Kedia discussed the omnipresence of data and how the ability to generalise data across various channels will be the driving force for advertisers going forward.

Inmobi director Microsoft advertising business Rohit Dosi said, “The data is out there. But it is ultimately up to the brand or the user on how much deep down personalisation they want. Publishers are open to working with brands to help them figure out their data strategy, but it’s finally the decision of the brands and users on the level of data privacy they want."

PayNearby head-products Nilesh Halde talked about the marginalised set who are not highly prevalent on the digital platform- whose presence is limited to “ABC – Astrology, Bollywood and Cricket”. To target these sets of people who are rarely on social media platforms will be a challenge for brands. “Publishers need platforms to reach out to these people. Definitely an opportunity lies there. We also need to look at Bharat, rather than only India,” he said.

“There needs to be a balance between privacy and personalisation,” the panelists agreed, highlighting that the key is to make the user believe his privacy is not being invaded. While Content will keep evolving, short-format video content will continue to hold forth in the coming years too, the panelists agreed.

Another session on ‘Audience behaviour and publishers’ saw representatives from Kantar, OutBrain, Taboola, Toppr and ABP discussing the key trends that have dominated the industry over the past year based on the changing consumer behaviour. The panellists also discussed the new technologies that are bringing ad-tech platforms and digital publishers together to reach more audiences.