The OOH sector has had a positive start to the year and agency heads are hoping for a pro-business and pro-growth Budget that will ensure that this good run continues. Though there are no OOH-centric expectations, the general consensus is that a budget that supports growth and encourages investment will only lead to higher spends on advertising and thus, benefit all facets of the advertising ecosystem.
Sanjeev Gupta, MD, Global Advertisers said, “After achieving a historic victory in the Lok Sabha Elections 2014, we have high expectations from the newly elected Modi-led Government. India is likely to emerge as the world’s largest middle class consumer market with aggregated consumer spends of $13 trillion by 2030. It has become essential for MNCs/ SMEs to be visible on different advertising media to promote their services/ products. Therefore, outdoor advertising industry needs Government support to grow in the future.” He further stated that the Centre should focus on creating new opportunities, allow FDI, develop transparent policies and reforms, address tax issues and licensing procedure of public structures.
While stating that the outlook in general is positive for the coming years, Rajiv Saxena, MD, Blue Ocean Media said, “We are expecting tax reforms and interest cost liberalisation.” According to him, with such reforms corporates will save more money, which could lead to higher advertising budgets and ad spends. The outdoor agencies we spoke to agreed that one of the main facets of the budget should be to create an economy that promotes spending and investments.
Rajan Mehta, Founder and CEO, LiveMedia added here, “Overall, for the media industry, it is important that the Budget spurs investments through tax reforms. Consumption is still low and the Government needs to bring in liquidity (for consumers) so that spending increases.” Another important thing, according to Mehta, is that I&B policies should be comprehensive and be implemented properly.
Echoing similar thoughts, Atul Shrivastava, COO, Laqshya Media remarked that the Budget should help bring down soaring prices and cost of living and infuse confidence in investors. “This will allow more disposable income to consumers and spends to increase, while also increasing flow of capital in the market, which will improve sentiment as well as availability of funds for new ventures.”
He also pointed out that some other steps to help consumers would be to provide income tax relief and reduction of housing and consumer loan interest rates. “Steps should be initiated/ charted out to reduce India’s dependence on monsoon for agricultural output. Bad monsoon is gloomy and brings down the market sentiment drastically. Connecting the rivers is an idea being discussed in this connection,” Shrivastava added.