Demonetisation is history for broadcasting industry

Compared to GST, demonetisation has been an easier battle to fight and the broadcasting sectors claim to have recovered from it by March-April

by Madhuwanti Saha
Published - Nov 9, 2017 8:58 AM Updated: Nov 9, 2017 8:58 AM

With the most-talked-about economic move in recent times, completing a year, the media and entertainment industry  has finally managed to recover from it and is already witnessing a steady growth.

With demonetisation, the broadcast industry de-grew in November-December 2016 as much as 21 per cent compared to last year losing an estimated Rs. 850 crores, but things started looking up from April onwards. However, it can never be forgotten how the strategy sent the media companies across the spectrum, from television broadcasters, newspapers, magazines to FM radio players into a tizzy as the biggest categories like FMCG, real estate, jewellery, retail, automobiles etc. started cutting advertising spends and the quarter looked bleak.

Having said that, demonetisation is history now according to Pawan Jailkhani, Chief Revenue Officer, 9X Media. He pointed out the digital was the biggest benefactor of this move. He says, “It (broadcast industry) recovered by March-April. Because of demonetisation, digital payments have gone up. That sector got a lot of money.”

Most of the industry experts we spoke to mentioned that more than demonetisation, it was GST which dampened their spirits and uptake. Manav Dhanda, Group CEO at SAB group, pointed out that the upsurge started from March-April onwards but then it was impacted by GST in June-July. “GST had a bigger impact than demonetisation. Certainly November-December-January were slow. February got better. March was fantastic. There was huge spending by categories across the board to make up for the financial year closure,” he says.

Dhanda, whose company registered double digit growth amidst GST, is fairly upbeat about future. He adds, “For everybody in media, this November will be fantastic compared to last. But that’s no benchmark. If the positive impact of demonetisation and GST is to be felt in the coming few months or the next calendar onwards, then it’s terrific news.”

Going ahead Jailkhani feels that with decent festive growth and the current positive sentiments, next few quarters will show upsurge. He explains, “But I think somewhere we have come out of these things (GST and demonetisation). With lot of changes and amendments, it has settled down. Processes are in place more or less. We saw a decent festive season. There is an upward trend in the second or third week of November. We should end up with decent growth in the next two-three quarters.”

Avinash Kaul, Managing Director, A + E Networks | TV18 President – Strategy, Product & Alliances – Network 18, noticed that the industry has seen both good and bad quarters post demonetisation. He observed that the news genre has been challenging but it has seen good months as well. But he is hopeful of a brighter future for the industry. He says, “There is no reason to be pessimistic because advertising has to continue at the end of the day while consumers are there. It will get deferred by a month but eventually, things will come back and settle down and consumption will pick up again.”

Vineet Sodhani, CEO of an audit and advisory company Spatial Access, thinks otherwise. He analysed inventory positions of Hindi and English Genres for four weeks preceding Diwali last year and this year. He shares the findings, “As it turns out, absolute inventory sales were down two per cent. News and GECs were hit the most in both English and Hindi.”

According to Sodhani, TV industry has not fully recovered from demonetisation and GST impact. But the good news is sports and movie genres have performed well. He mentions, “Volumes are still below last year's levels in most genres. It could have been worse but for sports and movie genres that have performed well.”

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