Average ad duration on the rise again?

Whenever there is a slowdown and results in belt-tightening by companies, one of the direct casualties is the duration or length of the television commercial (TVC). During recessionary times, average ad duration on television plummets not only because advertisers take lesser time to convey their messages but also because of various consumer promotions that are run with even shorter duration.

AdEx India has observed that in the last few years, the average ad duration plummeted to just above the 20 seconds mark. This raised a fear among ad agencies and broadcasters that if this phenomenon continues, we will have increasing clutter and frequency of TVCs thereby reducing the effectiveness of television advertising.

However, years 2003 and 2004 ended with a surprise and posted an average ad size above 23 seconds mark. The average ad size during 2003-2004 has touched a level that we haven’t seen in the last five years! A record of sorts as shown in chart below!

Let’s look at the ad duration slots used in 2004. The pie shows that 30 seconds commercial is the most preferred one (with 27 per cent of the advertising share) followed by 20 second commercial contributing 19 per cent.

As a result, one is forced to ponder on the following:

a) Does this signify that the Indian advertisers' fraternity showed sound judgment by not falling prey to frequency trap and therefore bettering their creative quality?

b) Also, what kinds of product categories have led this change?

To answer whether this is a freak phenomenon, let’s look at the Top 10 spending categories on Television in January-December 2004.

Here we see mixed results – We see that the Top 1 category – Shampoos uses large average ad sizes. However, the second Top category - Toilet soaps have the shortest ad sizes among the Top 10.

Let’s also have a look at the pattern of average ad sizes across the months during 2001-2004. Here we will see a very unusual behavior - average ad sizes observes dip during the festival season across 2001-2004 though 2002 was an exceptional case.

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