The 'VIP' economies offer a great potential for growth in the digital media space, said Vishnu Mohan, CEO, Havas Media APAC, who was speaking in a panel discussion in the Festival of Media Asia Pacific (FOMAP).

By VIP, he meant the cluster of countries comprising Vietnam, Indonesia and the Philippines where the young generation is lapping up mobile technologies. Between these three countries, we have over 200 million digital media users, he said.

Slightly differing with him, Aji Varghese of Maxus, a GroupM company, proposed that it is China where real growth in digital media is taking place. "We have heard about the potential of media growth in India and China for a long time but it is really in China where it has all come together," he said.

On India, Verghese said that there are three categories of media users which exist concurrently: the younger generation is using mobile and digital media and there is a large group of people who depend on traditional media like print media and television. However, there is a large chunk of the population who have no access to any sort of media and they could probably be reached through mobile technology.

The Festival of Media Asia Pacific (FOMAP) was held on 16-18 March in Singapore to discuss the future of the media industry. This year's festival was held at the Capella Singapore, bringing together over 600 delegates and 50+ luminary speakers from across the region and the world, according to figures provided by the festival organizers.

Themes: Agility, native advertising, piracy

This year's event was based on the theme 'Agility', focusing on the increasing need for businesses to be nimble and responsive to the constant changing media environment.

The festival included a session with Professor Jerry Wind, Wharton Future of Advertising Program, and Rose Tsou, Senior Vice-President, Yahoo! APAC, who discussed key findings from a joint industry framework on native advertising, meant to increase the effectiveness of the work of advertisers, without compromising their audience's trust by being fully transparent and proud of the content offered by the brand.

Steve Mosko, President, Sony Pictures Television discussed how piracy continued to present challenges for the media industry, looking at how the explosion of free video in China could signify the solution.

In another session, Scott Lamb, Vice-President International, Buzzfeed, discussed the importance of connecting to the audience when using publishing via social media, emphasising the benefits of humour, relevance and making sure ads are still able to provide some form of entertainment.

This theme was echoed by Scott Donaton, Global Chief Content Officer, UM, who argued that advertisements should aim to encompass their messages in 'stories,' as an effective way of engaging audiences. Storytelling then, explained Scott Donaton, should form the basis of successful media campaigns.

The second day of the Festival kicked off with Peter Vessenes, Founder & CEO, CoinLab and Chairman, Bitcoin Foundation, who addressed the impact of Bitcoin, providing a glimpse at the future of currency, where goods and services are bought virtually and the ways it could reshape the media buying landscape.

Picking up on the Festival theme of 'agility' Shailesh Rao, VP, APAC & Latin America & Emerging Markets, Twitter, joined Damien Cummings, Regional VP & CMO, Philips ASEAN & Pacific, to discuss how brands can create relevant real-time content to meet the demands and engage with empowered digital consumers.

Innovations from Asia: Electricity from #hashtags

This year's event also played host to five innovative showcase theatre sessions.

Havas Media Group APAC also showcased how technology can play a bigger role in increasing social media engagements with the unveiling of the company's new social innovation 'Heartbot' - a machine that turns a set of identified hashtags into generated electricity.

This year's event concluded with a prestigious awards ceremony celebrating the best creative media thinking in Asia Pacific, and a platform to recognize the best work of brands, agencies and media owners in the region.