Ad revenues to sustain despite of hike in excise rates

The ad industry seems to have no qualms about the recent budget. Industry professionals believe that the recent excise hike that the budget imposed on several categories of goods, among which figure FMCGs, automotive and consumer durables, is unlikely to prove a dampener to advertising fortunes in the coming year.

In the past a rapid rampup of prices courtesy government levies has led to slow offtake of goods which in turn has led to a reduction in ad spend by advertisers. Ad agencies have in the process seen their billings dry up.

Industry professionals however don't think the scenario will be replicated this time around. Says Saatchi & Saatchi media head T.V. Shivkumar: "The hike in excise rates won't in anyway have an effect on the ad spend of companies. There is no blanket increase in the price of commodities. The ad spend has got more to do with the bottomline of the company, whether it is able to keep its commitment with its shareholders."

Euro RSCG's Gautam echoed the same sentiments: "The ad budget of a company depends more on the state of the economy as a whole. Price rise is a common feature. I don't think there should be any change in the ad spends."

The excise rates, which have gone up to 16%, seem to have raised no alarms as far as the advertising and promotional expenditure of the companies is concerned. If at all, ad pros maintain that this may go up so as to cheer the slackening markets.

What needs to be seen is whether consumers will react similarly to the situation. Will they cut back or postpone consumption like they did in the early nineties which led to reduced ad expenditures? If they do react negatively, the ad industry will be caught unawares like in the nineties when they overstaffed and overcommitted resources in the hope of good economic growth.

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