Despite tobacco ban, outdoor ad industry projects 15% growth

MUMBAI: Can India's outdoor advertising industry simply shrug off the projected loss (anywhere between Rs 600 million to 1 billion depending on who you talk to) triggered by the ban on tobacco advertising?

According to Mudra Communication's associate vice president (media) Shankar Shetty, who manages the firm's outdoor advertising division Primesite, hoarding rates could fall 5-10 per cent at some prominent locations as a fallout of the ban but by and large the slack will be taken up by other sectors.

Shetty predicts that the industry is going to witness an overall growth of 15 per cent this fiscal.



"Despite the loss of tobacco clients, the hoarding industry will grow from Rs 8 billion to Rs 11 billion this year. There is a great deal of demand, with many cellular firms, TV channels and automobile companies vigorously hugging outdoor advertising these days," informs Shetty.

"While Star TV spends about Rs 10 crores (Rs 100 million) on outdoor advertising, for Zee TV it is Rs 70 million. Sahara shells out Rs 100 million while Sony spends around Rs 70 to 80 million," Shetty offers.

Shetty points out that the technology advancements that the hoarding industry has been witnessing have also played a crucial role in boosting the outdoor advertising industry. "Vinyl hoardings and glossy print technologies have brought great breakthroughs in outdoor advertising", says Shetty.

But Shetty says hoarding rates could fall 5 to 10 per cent in some prominent locations, following the ban. "There is pressure to bring down prices in such locations," he reveals.

Portland India outdoor advertising agency accounts manager Anuj Kanakia offers a totally different take on it: "Tobacco majors usually occupy strategic locations. So, the demand for these locations is always there."

A Mumbai-based hoarding owner who owns nine prominent hoarding sites in the city rules out any kind of pressure to bring down hoarding rates, in the wake of the ban.

"We will get the same rate. So we are not forced to bring down the rates. Lots of new enterprises are coming up these days so, we do have ready-customers," an executive remarked on condition of anonymity.

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