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Media gets 'media attention' in 2004

As we enter 2005, one cannot help but reflect on the number of changes that this year brought about and the hope that 2005 holds for the media industry. While the top events in 2004 have been General Elections, State Elections, India-Pakistan Cricket series, a slew of new channels in the Kids and Lifestyle genres, this piece attempts to look at the smaller changes that might have been missed in the larger frame.

Ad Industry grows fastest in the last 3 years! Large volumes of growth coming from unorganised sectors

The worst it seems is over. Reflecting the upbeat flavor of the overall economy, the Ad Industry this year has grown by 13.4 per cent up from 9.5 per cent last year.

The year ended with the Ad Industry being worth Rs 118 billion (as per industry estimates compiled by AdEx India). Interestingly however, the growths have come from sectors largely unorganized and localised as is explained later. Hence, it’s quite possible that the Mumbai-Delhi based advertising agencies did not actually see that money pass through their hands.

Print’s growing faster than Television in years!

After losing share to television for years due to TV’s faster growth rate, the Print medium seems to be holding out in 2004. This year, Print, has grown faster than Television just managing to pip the Electronic Broadcast Media by a whisker. With 46 per cent of the Rs 118 billion ad pie, Print continues its lead over TV (41 per cent), Outdoor (7 per cent), Cinema (3 per cent), Radio (2 per cent) and Internet (1/2 per cent).

Retail, Elections, Education, Tourism and Realty boom boosts Press fortunes!

Its an uncanny twist of fate that there have been five or six key sectors that boosted Press in 2004 and that none of these sectors really are known to favor Television or the organized ad agencies. As a result while Press has reaped the benefits during this boom time, the organized media industry was largely oblivious to this Goldmines Discovery!

A category like Display Retail Shops has moved up from the 115th Ranked to Rank 11! Similar is the case for Vocational Training Institutes, Professional Services and Public Issues.

General Elections produce a Viewership earthquake on the counting day! Laloo’s Rail Budget sets a new record!

The run-up to the Elections was fairly dull with News Channels Viewership Share remaining stagnant at around 6 per cent to 7 per cent. The India Shining campaign had been talked about for six months and viewers assumed a particular result. But the final results that came in on the counting day left everyone in shock and viewerships rose to record highs as

  • Number of viewers on news channels doubled!
  • Time Spent watching news channels rose by five times!
  • Share for news channels quadrupled!

The UPA’s victory was not the only political event that propelled Viewership or created a record! From a more anecdotal standpoint, the Rail Budget in 2004, Laloo’s maiden one in the Parliament recorded a steep rise in viewership to the extent of 72 per cent indicating the sensitiveness of viewership during events as well as the power of the personality!

India-Pakistan Cricket Series!

This was a dream come true for the advertisers that participated in the tournament! Viewership levels were expected to be high but with a splendid performance by both teams in a tightly fought One-day series, the ratings continued their bull run!

Music Channels get into the Soap Making industry! Reality Shows stage a smart comeback!

Crossovers and experimentation are increasingly the buzz words in the Television industry these days. Music Channels launching soaps and serials, News Channels into Lifestyle Shows and TV Soap Reviews, the experimentation continues unabated. What’s also heartening is that large canvas game-shows and reality shows are again doing the rounds. Indian Idol, Cinestar Khoj and Supersinger contests are reality cum game-shows. Viewer Walk-ins for all the above mentioned shows were fairly strong indicating that there is a audience out there seeking these format shows.

Media Stocks ride the boom on the bourses!

Media Stocks have been regularly featuring on the top performers list on the Stock Exchanges reflecting on the positive sentiment in the market place about both – the earnings as well as the future for the sector. What was also a significant development was that newer companies from the media world went public in 2004 and more are speculated to do so in 2005.

FMCG continues to retreat from Mass Media!

While some of the earlier highlights were largely positive for the media industry, now for some bad news…

FMCGs which account for a bulk of TV Advertising once again cut spends across Foods & Beverages. Personal Care also increased spends by a below industry average 9 per cent. The only exception – Household care that increased TV-Press spends by 20 per cent.

Net effect – FMCGs reduced share in both TV (used to be in the 65 per cent mark a few years earlier is now down to 55 per cent) and Print (only 9 per cent share).

Radio Ad Trends looking healthy as Chennai and Delhi lead the way in garnering local advertising!

Slew of new channels in 2004! More expected in 2005!

Lifestyle channels, Entertainment channels, Spiritual, Travel, News, Regionals, Kids – all the genres that one couldn’t have thought of a couple of years back are here! But 2005 is not going to be easy! More than 50 channel launches already having announced/ indicated, this year seems just as eventful! However, the newer channels coming in are complicating an already messy distribution game. The stakes for these channels are getting high on being on the key frequencies that the cable operator gives out resulting in a precarious squeeze.

Final Closing Comments :- 2004 ends with a host of positive developments for the media industry. It’s by far been the best year in the last three in terms of real growth. 2005 looks good in the backdrop of a good National economic environment!

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