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Challenging The Digital Duopoly: Has The Change Begun?

At a recent roundtable on ‘Disrupting Mobile Advertising Duopoly in the Indian Media Landscape’ held in Delhi NCR, experts debated the existing market duopoly and also spoke about how it could pan out in the coming time

With control of over 85 per cent digital ad spends, Google and Facebook have often been blamed for controlling the digital advertising ecosystem. Though there have been attempts by some players to challenge this duopoly but largely such attempts have not made any major impact.

At a recent roundtable on ‘Disrupting Mobile Advertising Duopoly in the Indian Media Landscape’ held in Delhi NCR, experts debated the existing market duopoly and also spoke about how it could pan out in the coming time. The panellists for the evening included: Amit Tiwari, VP Marketing, Havells India, Akash Deep Batra, Head of Brand Communication, Corporate Brand and Digital for Nestlé India, Shams Jasani, Managing Director Isobar India, Shekhar Sharma Vice President – Digital, GroupM India, Ananda Rao, Founder & CEO, Call2Action Communication India Pvt Ltd (A Talisman Company), Salil Godika, President & CEO, Digital Business Services (DBS) at Happiest Minds Technologies, R. K. Mittal, Director (Consumer Mobility), BSNL and Mohit Joshi, MD, Havas, who moderated the session.

Speaking about the challenge of duopoly in the digital space, Amit Tiwari, VP Marketing, Havells India said, “I don’t think the duopoly will exist in times going forward. Today we are living in an age of tripoly. Yes, it is Facebook and Google where we spend most of our time but the ecosystem does not complete without Amazon and Amazon marketing services. Till today we are in a phase of changing that entire pattern but the situation will still remain the same. There have been discussions that TV will go back, digital will come and print will not exist, but nothing has happened and everyone co-exists peacefully in the entire ecosystem. Moreover, it also depends upon how the consumer decision journey changes not only from the product purchase standpoint, but also the consumption of medium that actually works. That will decide whether we have four or five or just a single platform.”

Sharing his thoughts on the subject, Akash Deep Batra, Head of Brand Communication, Corporate Brand and Digital for Nestlé India said, “ Firstly, I think the duopoly is not going anywhere for a long time. However, what has happened with Facebook after the whole data privacy and Cambridge Analytics episode is actually a starting to that end. Facebook is now going to spend so much more time in proving to the world that they care about consumer data and privacy and this will allow other competitors to start inching closer to that number one position. Eventually this may also lead to credible alternatives.”

“I think GDPR is going to be the biggest game changer. This is primarily because the marketers are going to question where the content is actually appearing and in what kind of environment is it appearing. The biggest challenge will come from brand safe environments where created content rather than curated content will again come back into style. So when you talk about Facebook and Google it is still about curated content and I think that is one big factor that is going to challenge the duopoly”, stated  Shams Jasani, Managing Director, Isobar India.

According to Shekhar Sharma Vice President – Digital, GroupM India, the duopoly has already been challenged, “If you look at IPL, lot of OTT players have already done that, look at the numbers they have managed despite the supposed clout of Facebook. I think the duopoly has already got challenged”.

Sharing his thoughts about disrupting the duopoly, R. K. Mittal, Director (Consumer Mobility), BSNL said, “We believe that innovation will challenge the duopoly and our new offering is a step in that direction.”

It must be mentioned that Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited recently partnered with Call2Action Communication India Private limited, to launch a new mobile advertising platform. This partnership is expected to create disruption in Mobile Advertising Ecosystem and challenge the duopoly of Google and Facebook. 

“In the current phase the duopoly is there but going forward it will definitely get challenged. If you can come up with a solution that can give you’re a better reach and a better price point that will change the game for everyone”, added Ananda Rao, Founder & CEO, Call2Action Communication India Pvt Ltd (A Talisman Company).


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