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In-depth: Advertising and marketing industry hopeful about year-end after a slight setback in festive season

According to industry leaders, this festive season was not backed by new-age advertisers who had invested heavily in 2021, however, they also stated that the traditional categories had more or less made up for the deficit

Usually, the festive season is a great time for the advertising and marketing industry as brands shell out big advertising budgets. However, this year the expectations of the industry were not met. 

Ashish Sehgal

Ashish Sehgal, Chief Growth Officer, Ad Sales at ZEEL, said that the festive period did not turn out how they were expecting it to be. “Last year, start-ups and ed tech brands spent a lot. This year, they did not have money so they did not advertise. The growth this year has come from traditional categories, like consumer durables, auto, FMCG, etc. which saved the day.” 

“Even though traditional advertisers spent money, we did not get ‘premium’ money for channels which categories like ed tech and e-commerce bought the inventory on. The ‘premiumness’ of the inventory didn’t even come this Diwali for impact properties,” he explained. He revealed that although the ad rates did not come down in the GEC space, they weren’t premium prices either. 

Another broadcaster in the Hindi news space revealed that despite Diwali, the response was lukewarm compared to the previous year and it did not give the industry the amount of relief which was expected. 

It must be noted that brands like Unacademy and Byjus which splurged on advertising in 2021 have grown cautious about their spends in 2022.

Sehgal further revealed the impact is more post-festive rather than during the festive season. “There is a slight slowdown post-festive but there will be slight improvement nearing January.”

Even though it wasn’t a bumper year, the festive season certainly helped the struggling sectors like print, radio and OOH

Satyajit Sengupta

“We are at double-digit growth over the pre-Covid festive season of 2019. So, yes, it was as expected, quite a bumper performance,” said Satyajit Sengupta, Chief Corporate Sales and Marketing Officer, Dainik Bhaskar. 

 “All festive categories are up, consumer durables and home appliances, two-wheelers, jewellery, apparel and lifestyle are showing impressive double-digit growth. Jewellery advertising has in fact boomed and is showing almost 100% growth,” he said. 

“With Dainik Bhaskar, the advantage is our large coverage of 12 states. So, while a few larger FMCG players were slow, there are several others in the category who had advertising plans in some or the other state. This resulted in FMCG advertising also not showing a de-growth with us. The situation is fast improving and this month is seeing a sharp recovery in FMCG advertising,” Sengupta added. 

Nisha Narayanan

Nisha Narayanan, Director and COO, Red FM and Magic FM, said that the festive season definitely amplified the positivity and sentiments this year and they outperformed last year.

"The inventories were overflowing with 60-80% more than what we would usually play around the year. While business overall looked impacted due to external macroeconomic factors, local markets showed significant demand," she said.

According to Narayanan, categories like retail, real estate, lifestyle, and manufacturing grew in terms of revenue from FY 19-20. On the other hand, major corporate spenders from Auto, FMCG, BFSI and Education were slower than usual. 

Narayanan stated that while their recovery has been anchored, they have certainly made some progress. "We have almost reached FY 19-20 base figures in the festive period, which is much above the last festive season. This is considering the respite after the pandemic. The market buoyancy has been more in Tier 2 and 3 cities than in the metros where corporate spending was done with caution. The macroeconomic factors have impacted the BFSI, Auto, and FMCG’s large players. On the other hand, the local and homegrown brands saw it as an opportunity to get the best deals for their money and spend aggressively in smaller markets," Narayanan said.

Aman Nanda, Chief Strategy Officer, Times OOH, said that they were satisfied with the results as they had high hopes with the number of clients, new categories and budgets allotted by them. 

“We have witnessed great participation from a variety of clients across the categories such as FMCG, consumer durables, electronics, automobile, fashion and jewellery and many more. Of course, the expectations from this festive season were certainly humongous and the outcomes have stood out to our expectations,” he said. 

According to Nanda, there was 100% occupancy at Kolkata during Durga Pooja. “Mumbai metro and all our airports including Mumbai, Indore, Trichy, Kolkata, and Ahmedabad saw splurge from a variety of clients including national, local and international as well.” 

“Times OOH had already reached the pre-Covid levels before the arrival of the festive season. Times OOH touched 85% to 90% of pre-Covid levels, whereas traditional business was already close to pre-Covid levels by the end of June 2022. Hence, we were only looking to grow upward from there which happened successfully,” stated Nanda.

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