How Can Chinese Media Firms Make Full Use of Digital Marketing?

Sep 23, 2013, 10:00 ET from Advertisinc Panorama

BEIJING, Sept. 23, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The China Internet Conference 2013, which closed on August 15, pointed out that presenting useful information to a target audience is the most important aspect of the advertising ecosystem of the future. The core mission is to build an advertising ecosystem which not only enables interaction between outdoor media, television, computers and mobile phones through professional technologies such as audio/video, barcodes - including 2D barcodes - and image recognition, but also achieves multiple screen "media convergence" through the integration of online and offline media.

According to an Advertisinc Panorama survey focused on recent hot topics in the mobile internet sector, the mobile internet is now making serious inroads into every aspect of a person's life in China, a country with a mobile internet population of 464 million. Traditional service providers, advertising media groups and internet companies are aggressively deploying the online mobile internet with a focus on mobile internet ads, mobile games and information integration.

Transformations, M&As and cross-sector partnerships: Seize the mobile internet portal

The mobile internet market had a particularly busy month in August. On the 14th of the month, the world's leading Chinese-language search engine Baidu acquired China's largest mobile app distribution platform 91 Wireless for US$1.85 billion, creating a model that combines both mobile search and an app store and strengthening its leadership among mobile internet portals. Mobile games, which have surged in popularity recently, are highly favored by the capital market. On August 23, Beijing Ultrapower Software acquired Camel Games, a leading China-based mobile game developer well positioned for overseas expansion, for 1.21 billion yuan. Ultrapower, a company that had been specializing in traditional IT operations and maintenance, has made a full entry into the mobile internet market with the help of Fetion and other mobile internet operators. In addition to offering traditional products and after-market services to consumers, electrical appliance retailer Suning Appliance has launched new products and services including software content, applications, smart home solutions and solutions that combine the internet and the Internet of Things.

Strong offline channel: Solid foundation in digital marketing

Several traditional outdoor media companies are seeking to leverage the power of the mobile internet with their own resources. In late July of this year, Beijing Public Transport Holdings and China Mobile Group Beijing partnered to deploy Wi-Fi on more than 1,800 buses covering over 60 routes. More than 10,000 buses in Beijing will offer the service by the end of 2013. Beijing Public Transport, which provides consumers with basic urban offline services, aims to provide value-added services on the new "digital marketing" platform by expanding its online mobile internet business.  

In 2011, Balintimes Media Group, China's leading public transportation outdoor advertising firm, introduced a digital marketing plan based on its O2O media strategy. Balintimes Media Group has transformed itself from a bit player into a veritable media giant since first entering the market with signage in and on buses in 1997, and did so by obtaining the rights to operate media on cruises in 2006, winning the bids for operating subway media in seven major cities beginning in 2009 and rolling out advertising media services in over 400 cinemas and airports across four cities.

Mobile advertising platform: Taking full advantage of mobile marketing

With the further uptake of smartphones, the mobile internet advertising market is expanding to the point where firms in the sector are now being taken seriously by capital markets and big industry players. In March of this year, the acquisition of mobile app analytics provider Umeng by Alibaba for US$70 million sent shock waves across the industry. Alibaba, which has fallen behind its mobile internet rivals, has a strategy in place that aims to leapfrog over the competition by building a presence in the rapidly-growing mobile internet industry post haste. In addition to acquisitions and financing, are there any other ways to enter the mobile internet market?

A prime example is Balintimes Media Group's mobile advertising platform. Balintimes is an industry leader in several sectors – besides its mobile advertising platform, the firm leads in research and development into mobile applications, mobile Wi-Fi hotspot equipment and image recognition with its experienced R&D team consisting of senior industry specialists and engineers. With a Wi-Fi network established on buses, on other modes of public transport and in well-trafficked public spaces as well as being integrated into the open networks operated by other merchants, in March 2012, Balintimes Media Group launched, a powerful alliance of mobile advertising networks and a localized life service information platform. Starting in August of the same year, a number of apps including Shanpai and were launched, making the synergistic model of outdoor advertising and mobile internet multiple screen promotion a reality and creating a multi-resource "mobile advertising platform" with 3D coverage.

Balintimes Media Group's mobile advertising platform is designed to integrate best-in-class applications and advertising resources into the smart phone sector, build an advertising technology service platform for advertisers and application developers, provide application developers with product promotion services and gains via data processing and application developer-friendly services models as well as provide advertisers access to efficient services for the promotion of their products and their brand. The mobile advertising platform model provides an equitable, practical and efficient resource allocation platform, helping advertisers and application developers maximize value.

With rich advertising resources and a diversified client base built up over two decades of operation, Balintimes Media Group has helped customers including Baidu, Tencent, COFCO, and Estee Lauder take advantage of the 020 model of marketing via its novel mobile advertising platform.

The emerging market of mobile internet gaming: Play the role of digital marketing

As one of the few profitable internet products, games are the eye-catchers in the market. Internet-related firms are eager to grasp a share of this booming market. China's mobile games market has experienced explosive growth and as of the end of June 2013, China's population of mobile internet game players had reached 161 million, up 15.7 percent from 2012, according to China Internet Conference 2013.

Publicly available data show that China's M&A market has witnessed eleven mobile game firms changing hands since 2013, including seven such transactions in August alone. Some of the larger deals include Beijing Ultrapower Software's acquisition of 100% of Camel Games for 1.21 billion yuan, Tangel Publishing's complete takeover of Magic Universe for 1.25 billion yuan, as well as Phoenix Publishing & Media's taking of a 64% stake in Shanghai Muhe Network Technology for 310 million yuan. Analysts have taken note of mobile gaming's entering a stage of rapid development.

Balintimes Media Group also discovered this opportunity and established a professional "game promoting platform" operation team, combining its large outdoor media network with the Group's own mobile internet information platform and application tools to create a game promoting platform with multi-channel integration, diverse methods of promotion, targeted audience coverage and efficient use of its marketing budget. Balintimes has partnered with game vendors through joint operation and game promotion. In July 2013, Baidu used Balintimes' game promoting platform to publicize Baidu's masterpiece game of the year Da Xia Zhuan. Meanwhile China's most popular game developer and operator, Shanghai Muhe, is partnering with Balintimes to promote its game Si Guo Zhan Ji on the platform.

Interactive entertainment platform: Create new digital marketing highlights

Traditional media companies are realizing that they need to expand their core businesses to embrace the internet and smart terminals if they hope to succeed in the emerging ecosystem. On Aug 14, SMG BesTV took an equity position in the video website for 307 million yuan. Further integration of the two businesses is a model challenging all existing interactive entertainment platforms across China's video industry including TV stations, online video providers, smart terminals and IPTV.

Balintimes Media Group is not permitting itself to lag behind in this respect. As the first one built in the industry, Balintimes' interactive entertainment platform is centered on traditional outdoor media and regards the mobile internet and visual search as the medium through which entertainment sharing, multiple screen interaction and "always online" is achieved. The platform's functionality allows for the production of movies, telenovelas and online drama series, as well as services for advertising, downloading and support for event and concert programming, in addition to branding and promotional services for entertainers.

Many movies and online telenovelas such as Day of Redemption used the interactive entertainment platform to conduct intensive multi-screen promotional campaigns; China's famous folk soprano Lei Jia and many well-known movie stars including Leon Jay Williams, Ma Su, and Bai Xue have also taken advantage of the interactive entertainment platform for promotion which is supplemented by offline channel coverage through light box pictures at multiple locations throughout the subway networks in many cities and display ads at Wanda International Cinemas. Consumers download the Shanpai app to snap a picture of the ad they are interested in, and can supplement the ad by bringing up rich thematic content including videos, music, images, text and other interactive media on their smart phone screens.

Moreover, the Balintimes Media Group has signed a Traditional Paper Media Cooperation Agreement about Shanpai Technical Service with Beijing Zhonghezhonglian Advertising, a specialized media display advertiser. According to the agreement, both parties plan to use their strong offline media resources in subways and through the Shanpai app to take a stake in the traditional advertising market dominated by newspapers and magazines. Shanlink's technical and content team plan to digitalize the content of advertisers in a move to transform traditional advertising through newspapers by persuading their readers to view the news online.

As a preferred partner of China Mobile Wireless Music Base, Balintimes said its interactive entertainment platform will take over all of the base's music and polyphonic ringtone channel distribution copyrights, as well gain advertising business from many of the base's distributors. The quality digital content will become available in many other of Balintime's distribution channels in addition to the interactive entertainment platform.

Great multi-medium convergence: Three-dimensional communication network becomes the trend

Now impacted by the internet and mobile internet media, the single ad dissemination form of traditional media is no longer able to comprehensively reach a targeted audience or do enough to create real and consistent brand awareness, while media convergence is the much more effective approach on its way to becoming the industry trend.

Television, outdoor media, the web and the mobile internet are not intended to become competing media, but rather be complementary to each other through convergence. The use of multiple forms of media to achieve wide penetration and effective convergence is the only way to build an ecosystem formed by a three-dimensional communication network, multi-form communication media and customized services, to effectively fulfill the consumers demand for personalization. This need can only be met through the creation of new marketing methods and deployment of proven marketing models.

SOURCE Advertisinc Panorama