After months of lockdowns and several mini-lockdowns that followed, brands have gradually started picking up advertising inventory across mediums, especially TV and digital, almost similar at pre-Covid levels, though at a hugely discounted price.
According to experts, the ad rates, on an average, have gone down by 25-30%, except for the Indian Premier League (IPL).
Industry experts say there’s ad volume growth month on month but going to the pre-Covid levels in value terms is a long road ahead. However, the experts said that the upcoming IPL and festive season have created more positivity in the market.
“In terms of the economy opening up, things are normalising now. Brands are also feeling the need for more communication. From a media point of view, new production has started, new content is back and people are talking about IPL. So, we are hoping for the Diwali season to be big,” said Tanmay Priyadarshi Mohanty, Group CEO, Zenith and Performics.Resultrix India.
“From the adex point of view, with big impact properties coming in, our view is that it will at least go back to a similar size as last year but will be backed by big events,” he said.
According to data by different agencies, the ad volume has grown significantly in the first 10 days of September. India’s total adex for the current calendar year is likely to be between Rs 56,000 and Rs 58,000 crore.
“The current increase in activities is correlated to most brands coming out of the lockdown phase. And thus driving much-needed consumption, pushing sales and ensuring a greater urgency of moving many brands off the shelves. We all know there has been a massive slump and setback because of the stringent lockdown and it was known we will have a much-needed push in overall marketing spends. The only caveat I keep repeating is that we need to continue this positive trend somehow,” said Rana Barua, CEO, Havas Group India.
According to Shashi Sinha, CEO, IPG Media Brands, the 13th season of the IPL, which starts September 19, has really lifted the mood of advertisers.
He said, “The sentiments are also good because if you see the list of advertisers, there are quite a few first-time advertisers who have never advertised before. There are a number of digital clients like Facebook and Byju’s.”
How far is full recovery?
Barua of Havas said he would like to be cautiously optimistic about the recovery and wouldn’t expect the festive season and IPL to put things back on track. “I would honestly take it one step and month at a time. Let’s cautiously start moving things, create new engaging brand communication, promote them via mediums and start selling again to the consumers,” he said.
“The lockdown is not over as cases are still rising. But the overall sentiment is positive and we expect a better festive season and spend than what we were envisaging a few months back. It’s good for the market, the consumers, the industry and overall for the economy. I am confident and optimistic that we will surely see a strong comeback,” he added.
According to Ashish Bhasin, CEO APAC and Chairman India at Dentsu Aegis Network, a full recovery can take anywhere between 18 months and 24 months. “India is a complex country; there can’t be a straight answer for everything. In the short term, it will improve month on month but we won’t have a V-shaped recovery. We will end the year at -15% and it has put us behind by 18-24 months,” he said.