The ongoing festive season has spelt good news for players across the spectrum and the print industry is no exception.
After a long spell of almost negligible growth, owing to factors like demonetisation and the implementation of RERA and GST earlier this year, things are taking an upward swing for the print industry.
The industry has seen a growth of about 7-8 per cent this festive season (September-October). While major publications have seen double digital growth in ad revenues this time around compared to the last festive season, for smaller players it remained unchanged.
“We are looking at double digit growth this festive for Corporate Advertising. Most verticals have registered high growth. We are also able to increase our volume shares up across the board,” said Satyajit Sen Gupta, Chief Corporate Sales and Marketing officer, Dainik Bhaskar.
According to industry insiders, the major publications that dominate either nationally or in a specific region are likely to post a healthy double digit growth. However, the smaller players have had to struggle to maintain the number from last year by lowering ad cost and increasing the volume, given that there was a visible stress in several sectors which led to a cut in their overall ad spends.
"After a year of ad sales revenue growth remaining muted and impacted by demonetisation, RERA and GST coming in quick succession, the festive season held out promise of growth and recovery. While it has met the overall expectations, there has been no disproportionate upswing in business as our economy continues to battle growth pangs," said Pradeep Dwivedi, CEO, Sakal Media Group.
Categories like e-commerce, auto, fashion and apparels and jewellery brands have been advertising fervently this festive season, once the concerns over demonetisation and GST were overcome. The real estate industry that was lying low after the implementation of RERA also started advertising aggressively during Navratri as was evident by the many jacket ads in the leading newspapers of the country.
"There has been good growth on account of the festive season in some of the specific categories like mobile, consumer electronics, e-commerce, retail & lifestyle. However, we have not seen revival of real-estate segment yet. A few large auto clients have also adopted a conservative stance on festive period promotions," Dwivedi said.
“Automobiles and lifestyle categories have led the growth thrust,” said Sen Gupta.
Kalli Purie, Vice-Chairperson, India Today Group, also echoed the sentiment and added that there definitely was revival of sentiment.
The rest of the festive season (November-December) also looks promising.
"There are still two more months of festive ‘long tail’ to go, and any improvement in the economy and thereby consumer sentiment will bode well for us in the coming period of November-December," said Dwivedi.
Commenting on why they think the second leg of the festive is going to be good for them Sen Gupta said, “The second leg of the festive should be stronger for us due to two reasons. One, our circulation drives across our markets have yielded great results. Our circulation gains are being recognised by advertisers. Also, last year's demonetisation effects would not be there this year.”
The embattling print industry, that is seeing serious competition from digital media, is now hoping that measures taken by government to boost the economy would further cement the growth for the media sector.
The bank recapitalisation and mega infrastructure building plan announced by the government earlier this week is likely to kick start the economic cycle. However, it could take a couple of quarters before the growth gets back on track.
"The industry sincerely hopes that corrective measures for the economy are instituted sooner and one doesn’t have to wait for an all-important budget to kick start revival and growth. Strong efforts at skilling, job creation and infrastructure spending as well as government initiatives to facilitate capex spends and ease of doing business would be very helpful at this stage," added Dwivedi.