Q2 brings hope for Print; July sees significant growth in ad space

At the end of the first month of Q2, as per TAM AdEx, ad space per publication grew by 36% when compared to July 2020

e4m by Tasmayee Laha Roy
Updated: Aug 6, 2021 8:58 AM

Newspaper publishers breathe a sigh of relief as they start the second quarter of the fiscal on a positive note. After the second wave of the pandemic that took a toll on the economic health of businesses, the July-August-September quarter is expected to contribute heavily towards recovery in terms of toplines.

At the end of the first month of Q2, as per TAM AdEx, ad space per publication grew by 36% when compared to July 2020 with multiple courses, cars, hospitals/clinics, two wheelers and real estate being the top five categories to advertise during this period. According to experts, the return of jacket ads and masthead integrations on all major newspapers across languages is also a sign of encouraging quarter ahead. Though July saw a significant growth in ad volumes, the August-September period is expected to bring in the maximum ad billings. According to media planners, the festive season is expected to bring in better numbers not only in terms of volumes but also ad rates premium on special spots just as jacket ads can go up to four times.

“July has already started witnessing higher inventory levels on print,” said Navin Kathuria, Executive Vice President - Planning and Buying, OMD mudramax.

“We have been seeing large format ads/jackets already. Inventory demand slowly is going up on Print. With regional festivals slotted in August-September; Onam, Independence Day, Raksha Bandhan, Ganesh Chaturthi, print media is also poised for relatively higher levels of advertising. Last year, after a total countrywide lockdown, July-August advertising had just started to revive on electronic medium, however Print advertising picked up only closer to October with the peak festive season approaching. This year print was at a higher pedestal as compared to last year. July 21 had Print inventory being consumed in the form of full page and jackets,” Kathuria added.

Clearly, while end-August-September will be the peak period for most of North-East India, in markets like Kerala print is already seeing festive spends in terms of advertising.

“The month of August is already gearing up to celebrate Kerala's biggest festival ' Onam' which falls in the third week of this month. 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 capitalize on the frenzy. In fact, Onam is the beginning of celebrating festivals followed by Dussehra, Diwali, Christmas and brands would be keen to take full advantage of the same,” said M V Shreyams Kumar, Managing Director, Mathrubhumi Group.

Like most other publishers Kumar is also optimistic about economic revival. “Markets will open up, even the state government has eased restrictions for the upcoming festive season, which will help in improving ad sales. Several brands in Kerala earmark 25-40 per cent of their annual budget for this traditional festive season. Retail, jewellery, FMCG, automobile, and consumer durable brands are expected to splurge in the quarter,” he said.

Interestingly though even the other markets are not sitting quite. According to Partha Sinha, President Times Response, marketers are making the most of the unlock period and not waiting for too long to go all out on advertising to woo customers.

“We have a saying in Times Group ‘Dry your clothes when the sun shines’. But on a serious note, this is the prevalent theme of business this year. Nobody can predict how public health situation will be. So some categories came forward, advertised and reaped the benefit of market opening already. Categories like BFSI, automobiles, OTT, e-services, e-tailers, healtcare etc have advertised heavily after the market opened up and each one of them reaped rich dividend,” he said.

Sinha said compared to last year, the deal sizes have already gone up by over 75 per cent. Talking about brand spends, he said, “Our reading of the market is that the smarter brands are not waiting for things to happen or festivals to arrive. They are making things happen by tapping into demand that coincides with a sense of normalcy. Festival will be a bonus for them.”

Coming to numbers and advertiser specifics as per TAM AdEx, the Top 5 categories collected 30% and 33% share of ad space in July 21 and July20 respectively where SBS Biotech was the top advertiser during both periods. Maruti Suzuki India, TVS Motor Company, TTK Prestige India and Hero Motocorp were the other top advertisers in the first month of FY22 Q2. Maruti Car Range, Prestige Range, Winzo Games, Dr Ortho Oil and SBI-Corporate were the top brands in the period.  Last year August and September recorded 24% and 26% growth in ad space per publication compared to July. This year the trend is expected to continue with growth percentages shooting up further.

Talking of trends, according to Kaushik Chakraborty, Senior VP, iProspect, with vaccination gathering pace and the number of Covid-19 cases stabilizing, top FMCG players are likely to spend more to en-cash on the pre-festive consumer spending.

“The sector will definitely do better than last year. We can expect higher volume in July-September compared to same period last year. Local advertisers, OTT players, automobile, e-commerce and education will be the key contributor driving volume growth in this sector in coming months,” said Chakraborty.

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