The growth in the number of free commercial TV channels from six to 24 under this year's transition from analog to digital, along with the popularity of the multi-screen culture, will be a big challenge for the advertising industry, specialists say.
“As planners and buyers of advertising space, we must work harder than ever before. Consumers’ behaviour has been rapidly changing because of media fragmentation,” Rathakorn Surbsuk, trading partner at GroupM, told The Nation, adding that this trend would intensify with the launch this year of commercial digital-TV channels.
Rathakorn said his industry could no longer stick to the methods that had been successful in the past. For example, advertising on prime-time TV programmes remains key, but new types of media via the multi-screen phenomenon are also luring people away from their television sets.
Ariya Banomyong, country manager for Google Thailand, said that of the 27 million Internet users in the Kingdom, 40 per cent search for information they are interested in via mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. This number is expected to rise this year, while a number of Internet users are enjoying consuming video content, including rerun TV programmes, via YouTube and social websites.
Media agency Mindshare has reported that more than 1.6 billion searches are performed on Google alone every day. The firm found as well that mobile search traffic has continued to grow significantly in this country.
Therefore ad-media companies hired to create marketing campaigns cannot rely on a single medium to meet the demands of all clients. This puts them under heavy pressure to offer advertisers the best media solution, particularly in terms of cost efficiency.
Natee Sukonrat, chairman of the broadcasting committee of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission, believes the impending launch of the new digital channels will open more doors for new brands and small and medium-sized enterprises to advertise. Meanwhile, digital TV content can be delivered via various platforms ranging from Internet TV to mobile TV. Currently, annual advertising investment through TV commercials is about Bt70 billion, or 60 per cent of the total. Natee expects this expenditure to double within three years.
Rathakorn said marketers and advertisers should be aware of the changes in consumer behaviour amid media fragmentation. They should capitalise on these changes and offer their clients high returns on their advertising investment in terms of sales revenue.
Government advertising is also an important driver for the ad industry. “If the public sector continues to advertise through main media outlets, then overall, the industry can expect to see more growth,” he said. Given these factors, GroupM estimates that the industry will grow by 5-6 per cent annually over the next couple years, while after 2015, it should see another surge as a result of the Asean Economic Community coming into full effect.