TV ad spends expected to grow by 15% during festive season

MUMBAI: TV broadcasting and media agency executives expect this year’s festive season to fare better than the previous year. The festive season last year was bogged down by the twin blows of demonetisation and goods and services tax (GST) roll-out. The general consensus is that the ad spends on TV will grow at 15%.

Sony Pictures Network India (SPNI) president Rohit Gupta said that the mood in the market is very good. “This year it is very positive. In the last two years, there were issues. In one year, we had de-monetisation and in another year there was GST. This year it has been a clean run and therefore things have been very positive.”

Gupta noted that a 15-20% growth in ad spends on TV is expected. He noted that small clients will give a big boost to the market. “FMCG is big but during the festive season, a lot of the smaller guys will come in. This really helps broadcasters drive the revenues up. FMCGs advertise across the 12 months in a year but during the festive season, a lot of the smaller guys come in. There are companies who might do just two to three campaigns in the year and focus on doing that activity during this period. These are the guys who really drive the business up.”

He further noted that all categories will drive growth. He also expects brands to use television to make a bigger push into rural India due to the return on investment (ROI).

“There is no one single category. Television is supported by all the categories. Most of the brands are active on TV. During the festive period, there is a campaign for every brand,” he stated.

Zee Unimedia COO Ashish Sehgal is more modest in his projection of ad growth. He expects a 12-15% revenue growth for television during the festive season as Diwali is taking place later this year in November and a lot of brands have already started their campaigns in October.

“It has gone pretty well. It is finishing on a high note. Almost every category is firing and coming up with a campaign. More monies will come in October. Last year we had two good months in September and October on account of GST which came into effect in June. So clients had postponed spends. The monies not spent was pushed to September. This year September has been low compared to last year in terms of ad campaigns. October is the start of the last quarter in the calendar year. Thankfully that has been a good month this year. In October we sold out our inventory completely,” Sehgal said.

Sehgal feels that the whole of November will turn out to be better for broadcasters as Diwali is falling in the first week. “The extent of the growth remains to be seen. TV will fare better than print for sure. Digital is seeing a high growth of 25%. E-commerce is an important category for both TV and digital.”

He said that almost every genre is seeing growth. There is an overall buoyancy in TV spends. He does not see any change in the top categories that contribute to television.

“I am seeing growth across genres whether it is entertainment, regional, FTA. Overall this year has seen a steady growth without the blips of the previous two years,” Sehgal stated.

He further added, “The growth that TV is seeing during the festive season only happens when categories across the board fire. If only one category fires then overall growth does not happen. If you see e-commerce mobile, consumer durables are advertising. FMCG has stayed strong. In auto, advertising will run till December. They have to push their sales and sell inventory before the New Year.”

Notwithstanding the upbeat sentiments exhibited by Gupta and Sehgal, Lodestar UM CEO Shashi Sinha noted that the mood in the market is one of cautious optimism. He expects growth in TV ad spends to be in the 12-15% range.

“It is not dramatically buoyant nor is it dramatically depressed. The mood depends on the individual category and how it performs. Some are doing well while others are not. E-commerce is firing. Consumer durables are doing well. But some of the other categories are not firing as much. The mood is very category specific,” Sinha contended.

That said, he expects advertising to see an upswing during Diwali. “Ad inventory across television channels is full. But a dramatically higher value is not happening. It is better than last year though. Television is doing well compared to print. There is decent growth across the board in television genres.”