Despite Covid crisis, BFSI ad insertions on TV up 19%

According to TAM AdEx report, ad insertions on digital have decreased by 39%, while for Radio and Print the drop has been at 8% when compared with last year

e4m by Sonam Saini
Updated: May 28, 2020 10:30 AM

COVID-19 has cast a deep impact on industries across the spectrum but data says the Banking, Financial Services and Investment (BFSI) sector is better off since they deal with essential services.      

Industry experts believe BFSI will continue to grow overall with the insurance sector specifically seeing an upswing in the current situation.

Elaborating on this was Vishal Shah, Managing Partner, MediaCom, “Insurance as a category has always played on ‘fear’ which is at its peak in the Covid situation and hence it’s natural for customers to also think of increasing or upgrading their investments on insurance. Customers are even exploring taking short-term insurances for their house help, drivers etc., which before Covid-19 was not a typical consideration set. Many such new product opportunities will be built and launched around relevant needs to drive growth in the current times for brands to stay relevant in the New Normal.”

This has been further supported by ad volume data that clearly indicates the BFSI sector might not have cut down entirely on their advertising spends unlike some others. According to the TAM adex report, the BFSI sector - across mediums - has witnessed a growth of 19% in advertising volume on TV for the period January-April 2020 compared to the same span last year. With regards to ads on radio and print, the sector has observed a drop of 8% (January-March 2020 over January-March 2019 for Print; for print the period is January to April). 

Shah further explained that with print seeing challenges in terms of distribution, radio has emerged as the go-to medium with the rise of FM.

Seconding that was Girish Menon, Partner and Head, Media and Entertainment, KPMG India, “In-home entertainment as a whole has seen increased traction during COVID-19 since alternate sources of out of home entertainment aren’t available to the consumers. Amongst in-home modes of entertainment, television and digital particularly have seen higher viewership than the pre-COVID normal. For television, the same has been helped by some library of content that was available with broadcasters till 3-4 weeks post lockdown, as well as the re-launch of mythological epics by national broadcasters, which hold a great nostalgic value for users.”

With regards to the rest of mediums, Menon said: “As far as radio is concerned, a significant portion of the listenership used to come during commute times, which has suffered during the lockdown. Even during non-travel hours, visual entertainment mediums like TV and digital video have found preference over radio. Further, newspapers, while being a credible source of information, have seen disruption in circulation owing to countrywide lockdowns. These factors have led to lower advertising volumes for these mediums. The economic slowdown even before COVID was expected to hit the advertising volumes for the M&E industry at large but this has only worsened with the pandemic.”

Ad insertions on digital have decreased by 39 per cent for the BFSI sector in the January to April period compared to 2019.

According to Vishal Shah, the drop in digital for BSFI for this period is likely to have been because of performance-based campaigns being put on hold. “Of the many advantages that digital advertising has two critical ones are speed and control – much easier to stop digital campaigns and at the click of a button, which is what many brands have done given the uncertainty and volatility.  In digital, BFSI as a category invests very heavily on performance-based campaigns and in the current situation those would have been put on hold or slowed down. If you see the overall period from 22nd March - when the Janta Lockdown was announced - and the entire April (almost 38% of the Jan-April period), BFSI brands have reduced the number of campaigns. Given the uncertainty, the relevance of communication will have to be refreshed.”

In the BFSI sector, Life Insurance was the top category across all mediums. Its average ad volume share was 30%. Also, 7 out of the top 10 categories were common in Jan-Apr’20 on TV & Radio. 

Karan Taurani, VP- Research, Elara Capital, believes that within the BFSI sector only insurance will see some respite due to uncertainty. “TV should bounce back strong and consumption will be strong as most people work from home and avoid social gatherings. TV is something which can be the second best medium in advertising post digital. Hence whichever verticals that are doing well even including insurance - many will move away from print in a big way and go to TV.”

As per the TAM AdEx report, 50% of the ad volume share was contributed by the top 10 advertisers on TV and top 4 advertisers on Radio. In the top-ten list the first advertisers on TV was led by Axis Bank with the highest share of 11%, followed by Muthoot Financial Enterprises at 7%.
Abhinav Iyer, GM, Marketing and Strategy, Muthoot Group, shared, “The pause in economic and social activities has been a concern for everyone and we are not isolated. Gold loans as a product category is known for being a means to quick and hassle-free access to financial credit. Fondness to invest in the yellow metal is no secret in India. With limited cash flow options, many Indians will rely upon leveraging and unlocking the potential of their emotional currency i.e. gold. I strongly believe that gold loans will emerge as a hero in these times.
During this period, many theories have been going around about stepping up advertising. We made a conscious decision to remain sensitive to what people were going through and refrain from advertising. However, now with government guidelines easing the lockdown, we are witnessing people stepping out and exploring quick and easy loan options.
We are a mass brand and therefore our audience is diverse - by demographic and psychographic measure. Their media consumption is also very diverse. Our media mix, therefore, has also been diverse, which we will continue to follow in principle. Typically, our mix will include Television, Print, Radio, Digital and OOH mediums. We also engage in BTL and activations to a reasonable extent and of late we have been testing waters with new mediums such as OTT.

With over 5,000 branches spread across India, we serve more than 2.5 lakh customers every day. Hence, for us a mass medium like television continues to be an effective medium with its continued dominant reach and popularity. Going forward, we feel that the impact of restrictions that we have been witnessing under lockdowns will continue to influence people’s behaviour. Even though businesses would resume with requisite restrictions, people will continue to prefer being indoors with families in the evenings after work hours, over the weekends and on other off days. Television will therefore continue to be a very relevant medium to reach out.”

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