NEW DELHI: The impact from viewers’ shift to digital platforms, especially during the covid-19 pandemic, notwithstanding, television as a medium is still expected to make a recovery in advertising by the end of 2020 and command revenue of ₹34,100 crore, up 6.5% year-on-year.
The return of original programming on general entertainment channels (GEC) and the advent of the Indian Premier League (IPL) season will help the platform’s recovery even as the rapid rise of digital media is expected to bring in revenue of ₹23,600 crore, according to a report by financial services company Edelweiss.
While burgeoning digital advertising is undoubtedly taking a toll on the idiot box, TV is not likely to go out of vogue soon, the report said. The spurt in tactical digital consumers, that is, people who own pay TV plus one OTT (over-the-top streaming) service is way higher than digital only consumers in India.
Further, the daily average time spent on TV viewing has remained constant for the past three years at 220-225 minutes and a 62-65% TV penetration in the country implies there is enough headroom for subscriber growth over the long term. That said, TV is expected to lose some share of the advertising pie as digital gains ground (37.3% by 2022 versus 40.2% in 2019).
“As the amount of fiction content grows, advertising will come back to TV and to primetime slots,” said Nina Elavia Jaipuria, head, Hindi and kids TV network at Viacom18 Media Pvt Ltd that owns channels like Colors adding that there is no taking away from the fact though that consumers in India have entered an ‘and’ phase where TV and OTT co-exist and the fragmentation between the two markets post covid, is higher than ever.
The Edelweiss report says TV remains a medium for mass marketing and big categories like FMCG for whom rural growth is key, will continue to be dependent on it. Jaipuria also admitted more than 50% of advertising on TV comes from FMCG companies though the pandemic has seen categories like edutech, e-commerce and e-wallets also become active. The festive season will see big properties like Kaun Banega Crorepati and Bigg Boss return to the small screen even as the IPL dominates sentiments given how cricket starved Indian has been for the past few months.
“The festive season will definitely determine viewership and drive sales while impact shows will make TV bigger,” Jaipuria said adding that these are instances when new viewers come into the fold of broadcasters. Prathyusha Agarwal, chief consumer officer at Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd said the IPL draws male viewers to TV and the multiplier effect helps all genres.
“The proof of the pudding is in the trust that advertisers are placing on the genre. Ad volumes on GECs have returned to or surpassed pre-lockdown levels and compared to the lockdown period, nearly 32% more advertisers are active on GECs,” Agarwal said, adding that the top 10 advertisers are already advertising more compared to the pre-lockdown levels and it should only rise further with the festive season.
Edelweiss said IPL will see advertisers chase eyeballs. This will be coupled with new product launches by consumer goods companies (like HUL that has launched over 50 health, hygiene and sanitisation products during the lockdown) that anticipate robust recovery in sales and especially eye the rural market. Telcos, that contribute 12% to the ad industry, are turning on the heat and launching new bundles (Vi, the new combined identity of Vodafone and Idea, is expected to spend Rs. 8 billion on branding over the coming year). E-commerce players are also expected to be aggressive given the strong opportunity for heavy online sales in the upcoming festival season and low-ticket service sellers are continuing to focus on mass marketing.
“People are generally consuming more media because of the higher disposable time they have on hand and OTT consumption in India is likely to settle at higher levels than pre-covid days but this will not be at the cost of TV,” Shekhar Banerjee, chief client officer and West head at Wavemaker India said.