The festive season from September to December is a time when the print players get their revenues up for the entire year. It all starts from Onam and runs throughout till New Year, and includes Diwali, Dussehra and Christmas. For advertisers also, this is the time to cheer as they look for increasing sales and maximising reach for their brands. According to a recent ASSOCHAM report, corporate India has been preparing to up its advertising budget by as much as 30 per cent.
In keeping with the mood, print players in the South have been lining up various innovative campaigns to engage with their readers.
Dina Thanthi has launched an edition in Tirupur this April, which is the 16th edition. There are some specials and supplements planned. Narendra Kumar Alambara, COO, Sovereign Media Marketing (Dina Thanthi) said, “Given that this is the key period for brand advertising, media inventories are scarce and likely to be sold at a premium. Festive season is usually the time when most brands add value rather than discount (which is far more off-season sale oriented). You will see most brands tend to offer gifts and other gratifications with purchases rather than basic price discounting. Similarly, we are offering packages to key advertisers to ensure better value rather than discount current rates.” As a policy the group does not hold contests, however there will be periodic editorial coverage of the festive season running up to Diwali.
Speaking about their new initiative, Martin King, GM & Head- Marketing, Dinamalar said, “We are the only vernacular newspaper to have pioneered the glazed print for advertisers in the main issue (not supplements). Pothys has already used this service and we have been getting attention of other advertisers as well. This is one of the best innovations in Tamil Nadu by far.”
When asked about special offers for advertisers, King remarked, “We have a very close knitted partnership media agencies and advertisers. Through media agencies, we want to get the best for the advertisers.”
Bharath Ganapathi, General Manager- Corporate, The Hindu said, “Dussehra and Diwali are the biggest revenue months for any media company in India, and this holds true for The Hindu Group as well. There are no special offers for advertisers as such, as inventory demand is highest during this season. It’s too early to estimate our growth over last year’s spends, although we have had an encouraging season so far. The big spenders are our clients in sectors such as jewellery, consumer durables, textiles, automobiles and e-commerce. On the special events front, we have been running a few topical contests during the festive season, such as the Pookalam contest for Onam, Golu Kondattam, Navaratri Sundal Contest etc. We focus on reader engagement during this time through these initiatives every year.”
In Andhra Pradesh however there is a special environment existing because of the division into two states. Of the two major metros of erstwhile Andhra Pradesh, Hyderabad has now come under Telangana while Visakhapatnam comes under Andhra Pradesh. In this backdrop, festival packages from the print players differ.
Sakshi Daily for instance has festival packages such as 5+1, 8+2 for their retail clients and also tries to upgrade positions for retailers in their tabloid section. At the moment there are no expansion plans from the group. However they have recently launched a new supplement called Sakshi City Plus which is Hyderabad and Visakhapatnam centric and all about city happenings, life style, local functions and food festivals, aimed at readers of the age group between 16 and 34. According to KRP Reddy, Director- Marketing Sakshi Daily, the supplement has been well received.
Talking about their initiative, Reddy said, “ In order to create interest and hype before the festival season, we have offered the ‘fabulous foreign tour’ scheme to advertising agencies of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana which is target centric and applicable for the months of July, August and September. For the advertisers, we offered some good packages in terms of space and apply to a specific period.” He added, “We don’t link innovations to festivals. However we take up innovations occasionally for the launches of the products. Some innovations are in the pipeline.”
Growth in ad spends
Compared to last year there is a growth in terms of advertising spends, particularly in Andhra Pradesh with brands such as Celkon, Sony, Maruti, Mahindra and online shopping brands such as Flipkart, Snapdeal spending money on print. In Andhra Pradesh, eight to 10 per cent increase is expected in the advertising spends during this festive season.
However, according to Alambara, the actual numbers may not match the hype. “We need to get through the season to assess the impact. Having said that, I would estimate the growth would be fairly low (in spite of the euphoria and seemingly positive sentiments) and would be delighted if it hits double figures,” he said.
Reflecting on the subdued market sentiments this year, King feels that the market has been overall very low and dipped from last year. The primary reason that he stated is the discomfort caused by political climate and also due to the series of holidays, as the month began only on October 7. However, he is optimistic that henceforth the market will pick up to some extent.