2021: The year of recovery and growth for the broadcast industry

Industry leaders opine that television will continue to grow irrespective of the economy and other hurdles since the medium promises reach and viewership like no other

e4m by Sonam Saini
Updated: Apr 5, 2021 11:44 AM  | 4 min read

The year 2020 had been the most difficult year that the business across sectors witnessed in a very long time. As per the Pitch Madison Advertising report, the AdEx saw a decline of 39% in the first half of 2020, shaving off almost Rs 14,000 crore from the ad pie. In absolute terms, AdEx has de-grown from Rs 35,110 crore in H1’19 to Rs 21,298 crore in H1 2020, a drop of almost Rs 14,000 crore. AdEx has not seen a drop as dramatic as this, in anyone’s living memory. Traditional media de-grew by more than 40% in H1, the report stated. 

Despite witnessing a high viewership this year, television saw a de-growth of 43% in the first half of the year with a total AdEx of Rs 8,084 crore. However, television was also the first medium that showed quick recovery from July onwards.

The industry leaders are optimistic about the growth of the broadcast industry as we enter 2021. 

Ashish Sehgal, Chief Growth Officer - Advertisement Revenue, ZEEL, believes that the non-metro markets would recover faster as compared to metro markets since they have shown higher resilience than metro markets and expected to spend more than before. “Spends on a majority of categories were much higher in non-metro markets, indicating that when the lockdowns end, green shoots of recovery would probably sprout faster in these markets,” said Sehgal. 

He further added, “Acceleration of Offline to Online shift in consumer behaviour will lead to digital platforms gaining further prominence even from an FMCG distribution and sales point of view. Insurance over savings, the resurgence of Travel (with a vengeance), and Auto are the other categories that will grow in advertising. Social Commerce and Direct to Consumer will be the key. Also, technology, data mining, and the innovative response-driven solution will be the drivers for new solution offerings in the advertising space.”

Rohit Gupta, President, Sony Pictures Networks India (SPNI) is hopeful for the year 2021 but he told that it's difficult to predict the growth for 2021 as we are still in the middle of the pandemic and another wave can hit the businesses again. 

He said, “Everything looks positive so far now but it's to predict the growth in 2021 for the industry. It all depends on how soon we get the vaccine and everything comes back to normalcy. Nobody can see beyond a quarter at this stage. Having said that this quarter(Jan- March) looks strong for the industry.”

Gupta also shared that television in India is still underserved and it's the cheapest mode of advertising. Gupta said, “Television will continue to grow irrespective of the economy and other hurdles. The reach and viewership it gives to the advertisers, no other medium can. Television in India will do well at least for five years or till it reaches a saturation point.” 

Speaking on the key factors that will drive the growth for the broadcast industry in 2021, Pawan Jailkhani, Chief Revenue Officer of 9X Media shared that for the industry, the immediate focus is to recover the losses that the industry had in the last 10-11 months. “Each company, platform, and publisher will focus to gain those losses and that ‘recovery’ is going to be the key factor for the industry to grow,” said Jailkhani.  

He also mentioned that the reinforcement of linear and non-linear (TV and digital) will become more necessary now. Brands will need more ROI-led and out of box solutions and the industry need to create that demand for them. Jailkhani predicts that the adex should come back to the 2019 level by June-July and then maybe in the next six months industry should see some growth.  

Furthermore, Navin Khemka, CEO, MediaCom South Asia predicts healthy double-digit growth in 2021. “This will be led by big events like IPL, Olympics in the first half of the year. As we head towards the pre-covid business scenario, many more categories will get active after a hiatus and will want to rebuild their customer base. New launches are also expected to be fast-tracked leading to greater demand in the broadcast industry. Companies need to be well planned in 2021 given this rebound,” added Khemka. 

“2021 will be a year of recovery on the revenue front,” said Shailesh Kapoor, Founder and CEO of Ormax Media. He added that the real impact of the economic slowdown may be felt in the early months of 2021 in particular. “Channels have to wait it out and let things inch back to normalcy. There’s always a chance that the rebound, whenever it happens, may bring in windfall gains, as suppressed consumer demand from 2020 will come into the forefront. But that will also depend on how the economy recovers, and there are little channels can do, except to be more prudent in their expenses and their content choices.”

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