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TV still the way to reach mass market, but new media fast rising

Written by Isagani de Castro, Jr.
Friday, 20 June 2008

Television is still the medium to reaching mass audiences in many Asian countries, but its influence is declining as more and more consumers buy mobile phones and computers and get connected to the Internet.

In an interview with, Hermawan Kartajaya, president of the World Marketing Association, said the influence of television in reaching consumer markets in Asia is around 90% while new media is still a low 10%.

“TV now is now 90%. But by 2020, only 12 years from now, TV will be only maybe 10%,” Kartajaya said.

Worldwide trend
Stephen Yap, director of a marketing firm, Client Services and Insight, told the World Marketing Conference at the SMX Convention Center Friday, that television is still the medium to go to for advertisers who want to reach a big market.

“You still cannot beat television if you need to reach a wide audience at the same time. TV will still give you more reach than any other media,” he said.

However, Yap said the influence of new media, especially mobile phones, is rising fast.

“The vast majority of people in the world don’t use PCs. However, increasingly, a vast majority of people in the world use mobile phones,” he said. “More people use mobile phones than watch TV.”

Thus, he said marketing firms would have to pay more attention to reaching audiences through mobile phones.

Studies done by TNS, a global market research firm, showed that at the end of 2007, there were 3.3 billion mobile phone users in the world. In 2009, the forecast is there will be 4 billion mobile phone users worldwide.

In contrast, there are only 850 million personal computer (PC) owners in the world. “It’s going to take till 2010 before the number of global PC owners reaches one billion,” Yap said.

TNS data also show that the number of people who listen to digital music using MP3 players built in mobile phones has doubled from 18% globally in 2006 to 32% in 2007. “So last year, one in three people were already listening to music on their mobile handsets,” Yap said.

In developing markets like Latin America, the number of people listening to radio, usually FM stations, on their mobile phones more than doubled, from 10% in 2006 to 24% in 2007. “One in four people last year were now regularly listening to radio on their mobile phones,” he said. “A lot of these people use their mobile phone as their primary radio.”

He said mobile TV is also starting to make its influence felt in “emerging markets where TV access is not that easily available.”

“Mobile Internet is starting to take off particularly in developing countries,” Yap said. “People are gravitating toward their mobile screens as their TV device of choice.”

New wave marketing
In his keynote speech at the World Marketing Conference Thursday, Kartajaya, a renowned Asian marketing guru, said the rise of new media would require a “new wave of marketing.”

It will no longer be the usual vertical marketing strategy where business firms promote and sell products to consumers. The usual way of promoting a product is to use commercials in television, radio and print.

The rise of new media will require horizontal ways of marketing products, and the key is to have a presence in the worldwide web.

“If you are not connected to the Internet, you will die. Because your competitors are connected, your customers are connected, and all the change agents are connected. That’s why Internet is becoming very important,” Kartajaya said.

Marketers and advertisers will have to change the way they do their business. Instead of product promotion, new wave marketing will have to engage in conversation with consumers, he said.

“You can only do conversation. Conversation will be more effective than top-down communication,” Kartajaya said.

Marketing will no longer be done in one place like a mall or a public market, but it has to be accepted by a community.

“It has to be activated by the community itself, which means the community is opening the door for you, they will accept your product. That is the philosophy of horizontalization,” Kartajaya said.

Products will also have to be created solely by a company but by the customer and the community. “Co-creation means you must create the new product together with your customer.”

Kartajaya said horizontalization is best reflected in the rise of social network sites like Friendster, which is number one in the Philippines, Malaysia, and Indonesia, or in China, and in India.

He said these developments also means a decline in the power of government and the rise of people power. “This is the era of horizontalization, not verticalization.” (


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