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In-depth: Broadcasters hopeful of strong ad revenue growth this festive season

In the aftermath of the pandemic, industry experts predict that broadcasters are going to catch the audience's attention and advertiser’s interest to a large extent in terms of ad-led revenue and viewership through fresh content pieces

The festive season has always been the best time for broadcasters to pocket maximum profits in terms of advertising revenue. In the aftermath of the pandemic, industry experts predict that broadcasters are going to catch the audience's attention and advertisers’ interest to a large extent in terms of ad-led revenue and viewership through fresh content pieces. 

A lot of adex will also be spent around the big-ticket sporting events that are scheduled to be held in the midst of the festive season, such as the T20 World Cup and FIFA World Cup, according to experts.

Shashi Sinha

According to Shashi Sinha, CEO at Mediabrands India, the media agencies are hopeful and cautiously optimistic about this year, since there are two big sporting events which are going to take place between September and December.

Sinha said big properties like the T20 World Cup and FIFA are sold at a fixed price, and the rates are already decided for them. Hence these properties almost always fetch a premium price as compared to regular buying as many brands invest in them to catch a lot of eyeballs.

Shekhar Banerjee

Shekhar Banerjee, Chief Client Officer and Office Head – West, Wavemaker India, said, “Inflation is taking a serious beating on consumer sentiments. However, the festival season is an absolute steroid for the market. We should also remember that the festive season coincides with the T20 world cup. Between TV and digital, we will see strong demand for ad inventory in this period. Festive brings in a whole set of seasonal advertisers, so don’t expect any surprises here versus the last year. We need to be more cautious about the lull period post-festive, expect a softer close to the year versus the previous year.”

Ashish Sehgal

Ashish Sehgal, Chief Growth Officer, ZEEL, feels it’s too early to comment about the next couple of months, but he is hopeful about the months ahead.

“The way things are turning around in August; the festive season is looking good. The upcoming festive season is going to be slightly better than the previous year. A month back the situation was quite different due to inflation and crisis going around the world, the adex started to decline post-May. But now when the inflation is tapering down, the brands will start doing promotions and advertisements at a larger scale.”

Ramsai Panchapakesan

Ramsai Panchapakesan, Senior VP and National Head -Integrated Media Buying, Zenith Media, said, “Though there are a lot of dilemmas in the market currently like economic crisis and recession when it comes to consumers in India festivals are celebrated without any compromise. This is one of the biggest motivational factors for the advertisers to be present at the top of minds of the consumers. Current year 16% to 18% growth in annual spends is also on the back of festival ad spend, in terms of size, the Indian ad market will touch $11.5 billion in 2022 from $9.7 billion in 2021.”

Mahesh Shetty

Mahesh Shetty, Head of Network Sales at Viacom18, is expecting the ad rates to go up this festive season. This year looks promising to him as many brands have started coming back after the pandemic. He thinks this year is going to be a big blockbuster festive year in terms of advertising.

He said, “This year the broadcasters are going to pull up on volume, when we pull up on volume the demand rises and it is imperative that the ad rates goes up. This year looks very promising and I think our pricing will be better than last year. We already got good pricing last year and we expect it to go up again this festive season.”

Punit Pandey

After the pandemic, new movies started releasing in theatres again. This has renewed the consumer’s interest in new songs and music channels as well. This is a positive sign for the upcoming festive season, according to Punit Pandey, Chief Business Officer and Group Business Head at 9X Media.

He said, “Our viewership is increasing as more people have started watching movies and new songs. To watch reality content, people tend to tune into MTV; and those who desire fresh music, tune into 9XM. We will aim for a mix of volume from advertisements; some of it will come from the television-aggressive categories, supplied by the campaigns.”

Experts believe the major beneficiaries in the upcoming revenue fiesta are likely to be FMCG, automobile, E-commerce and electronics.

While according to a GroupM report, TV, which has been the biggest medium in terms of adex, reported an increase from 41% in 2019 to 44% in 2020 and is estimated to retain around 39% of total ad spends in 2022, with a 6% dip as compared to 2021 numbers.

The spending is going to be in line with what it will be in 2021 with a growth of 8 to 10% during the festive season, said Panchapakesan. He said, if we take an overall look into the festive sentiment, it is looking very positive because of certain stability that India has attained at a very quick pace. With the staggering increase in the sales volume, advertisers are currently expected not to go for price hikes but rather to add more value to keep them stable.

As per BARC India’s report, ad volumes for e-commerce on TV grew by 40% compared to Q1 2021; and categories like corporate brand image, telecom products and education also saw “exponential” growth. The FMCG category saw the highest number of advertisers at 835 on TV, while personal accessories have seen the highest growth (17%) in the number of advertisers. Education had the highest share (64%) of new and returning advertisers.

ZEEL’s Sehgal believes that this year FMCG will continue to dominate but due to the rollout of 5G during this period, mobile categories will grow more this time and they will be the ones looking for premium ad spots.

According to Sinha, keeping in mind the World Cup, all the automotive or e-commerce brands will return. Consequently, there will be two types of advertisers: regular advertisers and premium advertisers.

A look at the content line-up this festive season

Broadcasters work hard on their special programming keeping the festive cheer in mind and also drawing in more viewers.

This festive season, a plethora of new shows are lined up by channels across genres. They are all geared up to celebrate the festive occasion by offering the most entertaining content possible for their target audience.

Starting with GEC channels, shows like ‘Khatron Ke Khiladi’, ‘Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa’ and ‘Bigg Boss 16’ are lined up already on Colors. While ‘Bigg Boss Marathi’ and ‘Bigg Boss Kannada’ are going to be aired around the end of September or early October on the Colors regional channels this festive season, informed Shetty.

MTV is going to start its new season of ‘Hustle’ for which MTV has roped in Badshah as a new judge, said Shetty.

Talking about the new content line-ups on Zee, Sehgal said that in September and October, they are coming up with the ‘Zee Rishtey Awards’, along with a new season of ‘Sare ga ma pa’.

Moreover, new big movies like RRR and KGF, KGF2 are going to be premiered at Zee cinema this festive season.

Coming to music channels, 9XM have brand-new content pieces planned for this festive season, ranging from new music to new artists and brand-new "Chote Bade" short videos mainly focused on the festive season, noted Pandey. 

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