e4mSpotlight: Broadcast industry ‘cautiously optimistic’ about growth this Diwali

The festive season might have a shorter window this year but the broadcast industry is slowly gearing up for recovery this Diwali and witnessing renewed interest from FMCG, consumer durables, automobile and jewellery players

e4m by Madhuwanti Saha
Updated: Oct 16, 2017 7:45 AM

Following the double whammy of GST and demonetisation, mid-September onwards the broadcast industry has been prepping up for Diwali and is now slowly on the road to recovery as advertising spends get back on the right track. Punit Misra, CEO – Zee
Entertainment Enterprises Limited, Domestic Broadcast Business, describes the
industry sentiment as ‘cautiously optimistic’ after being struck by GST and

The festivities of Diwali definitely play a huge role in this relatively positive
sentiment with renewed interest being witnessed on spending by most categories including FMCG, automobile, ecommerce, consumer durables, jewellery and retail. The industry is also tactfully working around the crunched festive season – it condensed from six-eight weeks of the previous years to four weeks this year, which has been another cause for worry.

Overall this has led media planner Sujata Dwibedy, Executive Vice President, Carat India, Dentsu Aegis Network, to look forward to a 15-20 per cent increase in broadcasting ad spends. She says, “You will see ecommerce players and durables being very heavy because this is the time when they buy. A lot of telecom and auto is also happening. Diwali is considered good for purchases. Overall if we used to operate at a 100 index, the year was at 80-90 but we are back to 110 in October. It may go back to 90 in November-December.”

In fact, Sony Pictures Network (SPN) and ZEEL are already in a position to expect healthy balance sheets in October. In fact, ZEEL leveraged this festive occasion to unveil Zee TV’s new brand identity and look. A confident Misra says, “We have continued to be at a good double digit growth, except for the periods of demonetisation and GST. There’s no reason why we should want it to be anything less than that.” 

Rohit Gupta, President – Network Sales & International business, SPN, shares, “Our network is growing double than industrial growth.”

9XM and SAB Group too are looking at 8-10 per cent and 15 per cent growth respectively this Diwali over last year.  However, the real test is the post-Diwali period, when the industry
typically faces a lull for 10-15 days as the upbeat festive mood fizzles out. The timing is crucial for this year’s overall growth. Pawan Jailkhani, Chief Revenue Officer, 9X Media agrees as he says, “If it picks up from second week of November till December end then we will have a reasonable growth for this year.”

Upbeat Categories

As mentioned above, this festive season is seeing a lot of action from FMCG players, automobiles, consumer durables, jewellery and retail.

Partho Dasgupta in his column on Livemint noticed that ecommerce majors have increased TV ad spends by nearly 40 per cent this year. Automobile is pretty active with 50 per cent and a 160 per cent jump in ad spots is seen by four wheelers and two-wheelers, he pointed out.

Jewellery ad spots are up by 90 per cent. Hence it’s not surprising that BARC’s top 10 Brands featured Lalitha Jewellery and Kalyan Jewellers for Week 40 (September 30-October 6) while Hindustan Unilever, Reckitt Benckiser (India), Procter & Gamble and Patanjali Ayurved appeared in the BARC Top 10 Advertisers list for the same week.

Industry experts we spoke with mention that this year spending by e-commerce has slowed down compared to last year. However, that’s contradictory with Paytm stealing all the limelight from Flipkart and Amazon by allocating Rs 1000 crore for festive sales including discounts, marketing, and hiring additional workforce, amongst others. Meanwhile, ecommerce majors Flipkart and Amazon have collectively spent nearly Rs 100 crore for promotions through
television advertisements for their September sales.

Joy Chakraborthy, CEO – Forbes India & President – Revenue, TV18 Broadcast, is seeing a surge in white goods, e-commerce, FMCG and most other relevant TV advertising categories. He observes, “This is reflecting in our inventories as well, Hindi is going choc-a-block while English has surely improved. As a point of observation, English business channels do see a slowing down during the Diwali phase vis-à-vis mass channels, however this sort of slump on these channels recovers post Diwali. So it is safe to say, English business channels do witness a reverse cycle during this opportune time.”

He also mentions of the absence of government advertising due to the DAVP deadlock. “This is something that’s different. However, we are pinning hopes of government advertising to start soon.”

Meanwhile there is renewed interest by ayurvedic FMCG brands after Patanjali came to the fore. Manav Dhanda, Group CEO at SAB Group - Sri Adhikari Brothers, couldn’t agree more. “They have been giving greater push than ever before. Automobile brands have picked up with interest from obvious ones like Maruti and Ford among others. Jewellery brands like Kalyan and Tanishq are showing considerable interest on our channels. Ecommerce is slowing down as the
metrics of its measurement is changing,” he says.

Living Foodz will have brand campaigns around Diwali from Titan, Caratlane, Future Group (Harvest), Samsung, Hamilton, TTK Prestige, Usha and Philips, as informed by the Business Head, Amit Nair.  

Aparna Bhosle, Business Cluster Head – Premium and FTA GEC Channels, ZEEL, is noticing a similar trend. When it comes to &Privé HD she says, “We have brands from the FMCG, automobile, mobile and liquor industry associating with us. They are either already on-board or actively exploring associations with us.”

Not so rosy

However, there are few who don’t subscribe to the above thought and see a different picture of big properties not getting filled. Vineet Sodhani, CEO, Spatial Access, feels that the spending is tepid this time of the year. “The tactical spending that you see during the festive period is tepid this time. This is also evident from the fact that some big movie premiers and sport properties
have not filled up. Spends are soft for most categories save aside a few like auto, retail and handsets.”

Divya Radhakrishnan, ‎Managing Director - ‎Helios Media, too has her doubts if the growth will be better than last year. “Compared to previous year there is a drop. Also I am seeing a lot of inventory happening on regular ad spots. I am not seeing that kind of advertising on the larger properties,” she says.

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