M&E leaders applaud interim budget 2024 but hopeful for more

As Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman unveiled the Union Budget 2024, the media and entertainment leaders have expressed optimism and commendation for the government's initiatives

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M&E leaders applaud interim budget 2024 but hopeful for more

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman presented the budget in Parliament today. It was an interim budget since the Lok Sabha election 2024 is around the corner.

Sitharaman said, “We expect that our government, based on its incredible work, will be blessed again by the people with a resounding mandate.”

Some of the key takeaways from the budget are -The country's capital spending for 2024-25 has been raised 11% to Rs 11.11 lakh crore, or 3.4% of GDP. One crore households to obtain 300 units of free electricity every month through rooftop solarisation.

Healthcare cover under the Ayushman Bharat scheme is to be extended to all ASHA workers, Anganwadi Workers and Helpers and States are to be encouraged to take up comprehensive development of iconic tourist centres including their branding and marketing at a global scale.

Following such announcements, the media and entertainment leaders expressed optimism and commendation for the government's initiatives. From media, advertising to marketing, and digital marketing to AI, the experts are recognising the potential impact on their respective industries.

Sam Balsara, Chairman, Madison World, highlighted that this was a vote on account budget, so no major proposals were expected or being announced.

“However, in view of all the positive government actions taken in the last 10 years, I would expect that our consuming class which is already at 450 million should go to 800 million in the next five years. Those who take a cue from this and invest heavily in advertising over the next few years to strengthen their brands will reap huge benefits over the next five years,” he added.

In the views of Punit Goenka, MD and CEO, Zee Entertainment Enterprises, the Government’s efforts to boost India’s economy through structured policy reforms will accelerate the development of our Nation over the next few years.

“The steps taken by the Finance Minister to empower the youth by fueling the entrepreneurial spirit and fostering innovation in technology through initiatives like the 1 lakh crore research corpus, creates a golden era for sunrise sectors such as media & entertainment,” he said.

As per him, the combination of youth and technology certainly holds immense potential and can lead to exciting new opportunities for content distribution and monetization, boosting the growth of the M&E sector at large.

According to Sundееp Rana, Co-foundеr, NеtSеtGo, the interim budget provides hope for the advertising and marketing business.  In his opinion,  the economy is expected to grow at a solid pace of 6-6.8% next fiscal year and advertising spending is anticipated to rise across industries.

However, while expressing optimism he said, “I would have liked to see more direct incentives or policies aimed at further strengthening the ad industry. For example, tax benefits for digital advertising spends or lowering GST rates on creative and media services could have provided a boost.”

Rana further went on to point out that, digital advertising will be a key beneficiary, given the rapid internet penetration.

He further said, “As more tier 2/3 audiences come online, digital ad options beyond traditional media will open up. So while not a budget directly focused on advertising, the implied backdrop of a continued economic growth provides room for advertising and marketing to flourish across media platforms - be it print, TV, digital or out-of-home.”

As per Shrenik Gandhi, CEO, White Rivers Media, Interim Budget 2024 has a very macro purpose; it's not a mega-mall discount policy. This is an absolute mature non-appeasement budget.

“The 6% relief in corporate tax will drive immense consumption benefiting MSMEs and startups, laying the groundwork for sustained economic growth. Post-election, we need transparent AI frameworks and user privacy regulations, leveraging the talent of 50 lakh influencers,” he said.

According to Bhavesh Talreja, Founder and CEO, Globale Media, The interim budget by Nirmala Sitharaman sparks optimism, aligning with India's growth vision and emphasizing inclusive development. The significant reduction in the corporate tax rate to 22% for domestic companies strategically stimulates business growth.

With that being said he pointed out that The budget's focus on modern infrastructure development, covering digital, social, and physical aspects, opens new opportunities for the Media and Entertainment sector, especially in digitalisation.

“This budget not only propels a tech-driven economy but also heralds a golden era for companies operating at the intersection of AI and market technology.”

Saurav Agarwal, Founder and CEO, PromotEdge, stated that this budget reflects a progressive approach, focusing on inclusive growth, leveraging the potential of cutting-edge technologies, and implementing crucial business reforms.

“Over the past decade, the Indian economy has undergone a remarkable positive transformation, and this budget is a testament to our commitment to sustaining this upward trajectory. The consumer tech startup sector will surely be stimulated by the proposed tax advantages, which would encourage entrepreneurship and innovation, Agarwal added.

However, he pointed out that since this was an interim budget, there was not much regarding the digital sector and he expects much more in the upcoming budget in July.

Harsha Razdan, CEO, South Asia, dentsu, is pleased to see that the government's budget priorities include simplifying processes through digital empowerment.

“While we await the full budget, the interim one signals a commitment to nurturing strategic long-term investments and inclusive growth. The investment focus towards Infrastructure, Start-ups, Tourism, Women Empowerment, and Green Energy should stimulate consumption, boosting the economy and advertising expenditure. The budget also heralds a promising era for companies leveraging AI and market technology to drive a technology-driven economy,” Razdan added.

As per him, the focus on digital connectivity promises fresh avenues for innovation and expansion within the industry.

“The projected economic growth of 6-6.8% in the next fiscal year will continue to drive consumption and better advertising spending across diverse industries.  However, the Industry was hoping for additional measures to boost rural consumption, and that could dampen advertising spends to an extent,” he said.

According to Siddharth Devnani, Co-Founder and Director, SoCheers, the emphasis on economic revival in the budget presents opportunities for the Advertising and Marketing sector will play a pivotal role in reshaping brand narratives and driving growth.

“SoCheers welcomes these provisions and looks forward to leveraging these developments for innovative campaigns that resonate with the evolving consumer landscape. We, also, truly support the double down on the ‘Make in India’ initiative by the government,” he said.

The Union Budget 24 for Ambika Sharma, Founder and MD, Pulp Strategy has presented a groundbreaking roadmap for India's digital transformation, bolstering the IT and internet landscape across the nation and expanding connectivity.

“The budget's attention to skilling and training programs for media and entertainment professionals is a game-changer, nurturing a highly skilled workforce that can deliver awe-inspiring content and consumer experiences.  Additionally, initiatives such as tourism promotion and rural development have the potential to boost advertising demand.”

According to Sumit Gupta, Founder, Viral Pitch, with the outstanding success of the PM Mudra Yojana, which has approved an amazing 43 crore loans worth ₹22.5 lakh crore, the country is on track for an entrepreneurial revolution. This excellent backing is evidence of the dedication to promoting youthful goals.

 “As a result of the collaborative efforts of programs like Fund of Funds, Start-Up India, and Start-Up Credit Guarantee, ambitions have been achieved on this transforming path. Our youth evolves as 'rozgardata' - the creators of their destinies and contributors to the development of the country - when these ambitious plans come to fruition. This enormous step toward economic independence indicates a better future for our country, one in which industry and creativity flourish and bring in a new period of opportunity and progress,” he said.

Sreeram Reddy Vanga, CEO & Co-founder, Kofluence, stated that in India's push to hit a $5 trillion GDP by 2025, the recent Interim Budget 2024 sets a positive tone for economic stability and growth. The emphasis on reducing FY25 gross borrowing is a smart move, aligning with our national self-sufficiency goals.

“In anticipation of the Union Budget amid an election year, expectations were tempered for the M&E sector, recognising the likelihood of major proposals being deferred to the comprehensive budget scheduled for release in April-May. However, the media and entertainment sector remains buoyant, fueled by government initiatives such as 100% FDI in various segments. Notably, the recognition of the sector's potential is evident in the budget's emphasis on the surge in digital adoption, deeper internet penetration, and increased smartphone accessibility,” he added.

As per him, the outlook for 2024 is optimistic, with anticipated enhancements in digital, social, and physical infrastructure, aligned with policies focusing on MSME training to enhance global competitiveness.

“Looking ahead to the next five years, we hope the budget introduces incentives for skill development in the Media and Entertainment (M&E) industry, emphasising regional content and empowering creators across diverse mediums. Expectations also include a surge in data privacy and security regulations this year,” he said.

Union Budget 2024 Industry players AI digital marketing Punit Goenka Marketing Nirmala Sitharaman advertising Bhavesh Talreja Shrenik Gandhi