MUMBAI: Digital disruption and the rapid growth of data usage will fundamentally change the role of agencies, so much so that the way we know them today will not exist five years from now, according to a top advertising executive.

Ashish Bhasin, Chairman and CEO of Dentsu Aegis Network South Asia, predicts that media services will be “significantly transformed by digital transformation and data” over the next five years, with the impact being felt everywhere from manual through to creative tasks.

In an article for Campaign India, he writes: “Digital disruption is going to cause fundamental change in the way the advertising model works. In digital, there is a thin line or no line separating creative and media. This will cause a complete change in the way we are used to working.”

He forecasts that at least half the jobs that exist today will not be there five years from now as automation takes hold, although he is more optimistic that analytical and ideas-based jobs will become more important as data-driven findings prompt clients to demand more accountability.

Bhasin also expects that the elimination of wastage – what he calls the “holy grail of advertising” – will be achieved within the next ten to 20 years.

“If I am targeting a consumer, I should be able to serve the ad to them with zero wastage. What’s the point in showing it to 5,000 people when I want to target only five of them?” he asks.

“From the creative angle, I should also be able to customise the creative for them. In the next five years, we will move several steps in that direction helped by AI and machine learning.”

The rapid move to digital is confirmed in Dentsu Aegis Network’s own revenues, and Bhasin revealed that the group’s eight digital agencies already generate 38% of overall revenues – and that this could rise to 45% of revenues next year.

“That’s something that is going to happen for everybody,” he says. “Search and performance will keep increasing for a long time as it reflects the consumer’s behaviour.”

Sourced from Campaign India; additional content by WARC staff