Onam brings joy for industry too: Experts say festive period will be better than Apr-July

Advertising volume/revenue might not be better than the last onam, but it is definitely expected be better than the last few months

e4m by Sonam Saini
Updated: Aug 10, 2020 10:41 AM

While God’s own country Kerala is all set to celebrate onam, the festival is giving hope to the market as well. Industry experts are looking at some recovery for the pandemic-hit sector during the festival period starting with onam.
A look at last year's adex data shows that advertising volumes around onam festival in 2019 grew by 43% on TV compared to the same period in 2018, as per the TAM adex report on onam ( 22 August- 13 September’19). Meanwhile, the volume of ads with onam theme in 2019 grew by 149% on print compared to ads with Onam theme in 2018. On Radio, ad volumes during onam period in 2019 grew by 43% compared ad volume during onam festival in 2018.
However, the industry experts feel that this year advertising volume/ revenue might not be better than last year's onam but it will definitely be better than the last few months where the industry has witnessed a significant drop in advertising revenue across mediums due to lockdown.
While speaking to exchange4media in an interview, MV Shreyams Kumar, Managing Director, Mathrubhumi, was quite optimistic about the upcoming festive season. “Onam holds a very symbolic significance with spirited celebrations and festivities for Malayalees worldwide. Consumers go shopping with a vengeance, and brands focus their marketing might on the state to capitalise on the frenzy,” he said.
“Several brands in Kerala earmark 25-40% of their annual budget for this traditional festive season. Retail, jewellery, FMCG, automobile, and consumer durable brands are expected to splurge in a big way during Onam. We are quite optimistic about the revival of the market during this festive period.”
Stating similar thoughts, Ashish Sehgal, Chief Growth Officer- ad revenue, ZEEL said, onam is the start of the festive season across the country and and expectation is based primarily on how the business will pick up across the festive season. "In terms of ad rates/volume/ revenue, August looks much better than the last few months," he added.
In Kerala, Onam is the biggest festival and it is expected that Malayalees will celebrate and spend on the festivites, giving a boost to the market. Acccording to PR Satheesh, Chief Operating Officer, MMTV, onam this year seems good in terms of spnding, but may not be as good as earlier years. “From a perspective of how good the advertising demand is going to be is still a bit early given the COVID times. Some of the brands are finalised and some are in the process. We should not compare this onam with the last onam rather we should compare it with the last four months. From that perspective it is a lot better.”
Speaking on the ad rates, he said, “ If there is any discounting happening in the last few months, it has gone away. We are not expecting a significant premium for August but any minor challenges that we may have faced in April, May and June would go away in August for sure.”
As per the TAM report, the top 10 categories accounted for 35% share of ad volumes during onam in 2019 with category Retail Outlets-Jewellers leading the chart. Also more than 60% of the ad volume share was accounted by top 10 advertisers; wiith Hindustan Unliver leading the list with 10% share.
Meanwhile in print, consumer durables/home appliances tops the list of categories during Onam and Top 10 list comprise five categories from the retail sector. Whereas on Radio, four out of Top 10 categories during Onam were from the retail sector.Samsung India Electronics, tops the list of advertisers on radio during Onam in 2019.
H. Vishwanath, Managing Partner, Mediacom, shares that this year, Kerala clients are not really firing due to multiple reasons like triple lockdown in some districts and rains. The local retail market in Kerala is not in a very good shape due to the same reasons. Also, Kerala is known for its jewellery market, and owing to the current situation, gold prices are high. "Having said that, national advertisers are likely to spend in the market. However, Onam this year, in terms of spending, is going to be average from a broadcasters or publishers perspective.” 
Adds Karan Taurani, Vice President, Elara Capital, “The economic activity has begun in Kerala very sharply, and in terms of advertising it is going to be much better than the other states. The onam may not be as good as last year, but the industry can expect low single digit growth at least on TV particularly only for those 10-12 days.”

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