Sam Balsara takes ad industry's #10YearChallenge

Over 10 years, the advertising industry has more than tripled, having moved up from Rs 19,582 cr in 2009 to Rs 60,908 cr in 2018 growing at a CAGR of 12%

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Updated: Feb 14, 2019 8:21 AM

The inimitable Sam Balsara on Wednesday took part in the #10yearchallenge as he presented the 17th edition of the Pitch Madison Advertising Report in Mumbai. 

The 68 year-old doyen of the media world, who gave birth to the afternoon soap ad slot in India back in the nineties, launched into a comparison of the industry as it was 10 years ago and today. 

Displaying a photo of himself from 10 years ago when Balsara was sporting a mustache, he said, “As you can see, even I have changed, but probably not quite as much as the media industry.”

Over 10 years, the advertising industry has more than tripled, having moved up from Rs 19,582 crore in 2009 to Rs 60,908 crore in 2018 growing at a CAGR of 12%. “Growth came mainly from digital, which grew by leaps and bounds every year and clocked the highest growth rate of all media consistently,” he said.

Digital has gone from a puny 4% share of the ad pie to now claiming 19%, chipping away slowly at the share of TV and Print. Print, which was at 41% of the market, has dropped to 32% and TV has lost 5% share, going down from 43% in 2009 to 38% in 2018. 

“The last decade has seen a significant change in the pecking order of the various media. Digital has made major inroads year on year at the expense of both TV and Print. Digital has established itself as the third largest medium, almost double the combined share of Radio, OOH, and Cinema,” Balsara pointed out. 

Referring to the stunted growth of the industry in 2017, the attack of demonetisation in 2016, and possibly the biggest hit to the industry so far in 2008 when the industry saw a massive de-growth, Balsara said, “Over the years, we have seen that adex is quite resilient. But certain mega interventions like demonetisation and GST did temporarily derail it.”

Another aspect he spoke about was government spending on advertising. Government spending on TV & Print has witnessed an over 100% increase in ad spends since the Narendra Modi government has come to power, given the importance they ascribe to communicating with the people. He said that this is possibly a result of the immense success that the ruling party achieved with the support of Madison’s media buying initiatives during the 2014 elections. Balsara said that he expects this spend to receive a significant fillip in the run-up to the general elections in 2019.

Some other highlights: 

  • Number of television channels has tripled in the last 10 years, largely on account of regional and news channels.
  • More than 2,000 new advertisers on TV, and more than 80,000 new advertisers in Print have been added.
  • In 2009, Top 50 advertisers contributed approximately 43% of the total adex, whereas in 2018, this number has gone down to 35%. 
  • In Print, in the last 10 years, contribution by English and Hindi publications in terms of volume has not changed. They contribute to around 60%. However, in terms of growth of volume, ad space in Hindi publications has doubled over the last 10 years. In terms of total volume, Print has grown by 73% over last decade, but significantly, English, which contributed 33% to the volume in 2009, now contributes only 25%. 
  • In TV, in terms of genre contribution, on account of success of IPL and non-cricket leagues, revenue contribution of sports genre has seen a major shift from only 3% in 2009 to 10% in 2018 and contribution of Hindi GEC has decreased by 10% whereas regional channels have seen a growth of 10%, confirming the long held belief that you have got to communicate with your target audience in their language to be effective.
  • Science and data-based planning has finally arrived in OOH: Planning with most sites is being graded on multiple parameters and some baby steps are being taken to get traffic count. Airport advertising has now got firmly established and commands a healthy share of the OOH market.
  • Digital predictably has seen the maximum change, growing in share from 4% to 19% over the decade.
  • Internet penetration has increased from 4.2% to 41.4% over the decade.
  • Facebook has grown from 7.45 million users in 2009 to 280 million today and with WhatsAapp, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, Quora and what not, social media contribute as much as 21% of the total digital spend.

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