Few markets have the potential like that of India: Arun Kumar


With the recent acquisition of Acxiom, IPG Media brands have increased its data capabilities and digital solution offerings to the global economy. Arun Kumar is IPG Chief Data & Technology Officer at the New York-based IPG Media brands, and he is also the CEO of Kinesio. Kumar provides strategic counseling and leadership on data infrastructure across IPG’s portfolio of agencies, deriving innovation and increasing efficiencies.

He spoke about many things in his recent visit to India. He said that India is currently at the same level of digital advertising as China was a few years ago. India is getting its own set of regulations just like other markets, with OTT and Connected TV and technology growing rapidly. The digital transformation that could have taken more than 5-10 years, got accelerated during the two years of the pandemic.

When he was asked if smaller brands can invest in the collection of first-party data, he said that a lot of clients are asking the same question. They note a lack of funds to build the data system. He says we have different solutions across sectors and budgets. Sometimes, even small advertisers invest more in data infrastructure than the larger ones because they do not have a large IT team and are not connected with marketing. There are a lot of opportunities for smaller brands in the cookie-less world that are available.

In a market so big as India, advertising funds will shrink badly once the data protection law comes into place. Digital media houses cannot survive without ads. There is a tendency to look at databases narrowly. In the interest of protecting privacy, we are damaging more things.

In India, digital spending is less compared to that of the US. We must think rationally and avoid pressuring the media here. It is hard to survive without any ad revenue. Netflix has now opted for an ad-supported model because subscribers do not want to pay and they bring in ads. In the privacy question, we must check if we are effectively communicating the damages of database privacy law. When you have a privacy policy that supports it, companies need to spend more to maintain the system, the cost of which will be passed on to the consumers.

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