Up, Up, Up & Away!

As 2005 comes to an end, professionals in the media sector must be rubbing their eyes in disbelief looking at the numbers springing up from their financial spreadsheets. 2005 has been a windfall for ad, marketing, and television mavens - in fact the best in five years.

The buzz in the business at the beginning of 2005 was that the double digit advertising growth of 2004 would not be replicated; 2005 would be relatively staid. TV and Print, which together attract more than 85 per cent of the ad industry spends, would have to strain to keep up the momentum.

One can't forget that 2004 had serious dollars coming into the ad sector via cricket especially with the Samsung Indo-Pak series in Pakistan and the general elections. As compared to those ad agglomerating properties, the event lineup for 2005 looked rather unimpressive.

Obviously, with such a bleak scenario, the big question at the beginning of 2005 was how would 2005 finally turn out? Where would the growth come from?

The creased brows and worrying were misplaced. For growth has come and how! Let’s look at the key developments that occurred in the year and drove the business in revenue terms…

General Entertainment Channels: A tale of two ‘Ones’ and also of the Big B and an Idol

News Channels: They continued to sprout and rise

Regional channels and Hindi film shows and channels: Rate corrections

Press: It raced ahead in growth impressively as compared to TV… once again!

Subscriptions: Advertising share grew for newspapers as subscription share reduced.

The Mumbai Print War: The Media War of the Decade which continues to date with the Old Guard battling new and hungry players such as the Hindustan Times and DNA.

Display ads: May their tribe increase as they did during the year to corner a larger share of newspaper ad revenues…

Internet and Radio: Record impressive gains. Radio ad revenue breached Rs 3 billion, Internet breached Rs 1 billion

All in all this meant a RECORD BREAKING YEAR FOR THE INDUSTRY! Let's say Amen to that!

Let’s look at some the 2005 events and developments closely:-


The general entertainment channels (GEC) scenario saw two relatively new tyros sauntering in – Star One and Sahara One. Both tried hard to do new things and also new ways to lure eyeballs. Woh Rehne Wali Mehlon Ki, The Great Indian Laughter Challenge and Nach Baliye were deviations from earlier programming formats. And they succeeded in generating stickiness, roping in TRPs, which brought in the big bucks, thereby helping the GEC category. Also for the GEC, Amitabh Bachhan and Abhijit Sawant with KBC2 and Indian Idol attracted viewers and moolah as newer and newer formats were tried by all three Daddies of this game – Star Plus, Sony Entertainment Television (SET) and Zee TV, across the year.


News channels have been the darlings of the television industry for the last three years. Their growth – both in viewership and in revenue terms - has been a topic of many a debate. This year as well we saw an improvement on that critical industry component. News channel viewership share (Terrestrial + Satellite Audiences, 4 years-plus) went up from 5.4 per cent last year to 6.5 per cent in 2005, whereas revenue shares climbed to a new high of 11.9 per cent up from 10.3 per cent. Cheers to that!


For too long, Hindi film channels have been used by media planners to bring down campaign CPRPs (Cost Per Rating Points). Historically, film channels would be paid far less for their viewership as compared to GECs. This is despite the fact that their viewership at times comes close to or is even more than the entertainment channels. Ditto for regional language players, they were given short shrift in terms of rates.

2005 saw a correction and rationalisation as both these genres increased rates as well as inventory in select cases resulting in improvements in their revenue shares. While the regional channels share climbed from 20.4 per cent to 24.8 per cent, Hindi film channels improved their revenue share by a healthy 40 per cent plus from a mere 3.7 per cent to 5.6 per cent.


Last year press grew faster than television, a rare feat in the 15 years of private satellite television. No one believed print could pull it off yet again. Some skeptics on the TV side dismissed last year as a ‘freak’ year. Others felt that print had been lucky as it could net all the election money in 2004; TV was left out in the cold as political parties could not put out their commercials on the electronic media.

But print has done it yet again! And not only that, it has actually managed to increase its distance from the TV growth rate. This time there was no luck involved. A good strong economy supported by the launch of micro editions, falling entry cost outlays on print, movement of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) from classifieds into display advertising, edition cost bundling, etc are just some of the reasons that propelled the print growth rates…


One of the most significant stories in the media sector for 2005 was perhaps the Mumbai launch of Daily News and Analysis (DNA) and Hindustan Times as the two challenger dailies to The Times of India. In 2004, the total worth (ad + subscription) of the Mumbai Newspaper market was pegged at a whopping Rs 10.5 billion (as per AdEx NRT-1)! That’s 12 per cent of the total Rs 88.6 billion industry. No wonder then that the fight for a share in the Newspaper space of ‘Amchi Mumbai’ is so desperate…

The two new launches spurred the outdoor business in Mumbai as all the players splurged heavily on hoardings, billboards and ground events. They also brought in innovations in terms of cover prices and subscription fees. One can see from the NRT subscription estimates, the effect that the Mumbai launches have had on a marginal rise in subscription revenues for newspapers as a whole.


Buoyed by sectors such as retail, property/ real estate and education, newspaper display advertising revenues grew faster than both appointments and classifieds. As a result, display’s share within newspaper ad revenues went up from 78 per cent to 80 per cent.


The 2005 AdEx NRT Report finds that for newspapers, while advertising revenues have been growing in double digits, the subscription (or circulation) values are stagnating. As a result, the ad share in 2005 improved from 58 per cent from last years share of 54 per cent.



The industry's upping the growth rate to 14.1 per cent is clearly a spectacular achievement! And the fact is that this is genuine growth, and not something sparked off by a couple of events - thus reflecting the mood in the economy.

The 14.1 per cent growth makes the advertising industry at a healthy looking Rs 132 billion (Rs 13,200 crores). That’s up from Rs 116 billion last year.

While the radio, press and internet share of spends have increased compared to last year, TV and out-of-home (OOH) have marginally dropped. The drop in TV is primarily due to a slower growth rate.


The two minnows, Internet and radio grew the fastest in 2005, albeit on a smaller base, outpacing everyone else. While radio with a share of 2.4 per cent has grown by 44.5 per cent; Internet with a 0.8 per cent share has grown by a whopping 78.3 per cent. It should be mentioned here that radio today earns more ad revenues than all the television music channels put together!


Radio in India makes more money than all music TV channels put together! And this equation does not change even if you take All India Radio (AIR) revenues out… With radio breaching the Rs 3 billion (Rs 300 crore) revenue mark, the new launches expected with the new licence regime in 2006 assumes importance. At the same time this year, Internet crossed the magical Rs 1 billion (or Rs 100 crore) mark.

As you can see, the ad industry at Rs 132 billion, looks healthier and plumper with an additional Rs 16 billion under its belt. Largely driven by new advertisers and first-time advertisers, it offers a lot of hope as well as food-for-thought to its professionals as they step into 2006.

Atul Phadnis

(This report has been compiled by AdEx India, a division of Tam Media Research. The rates used are realistic market rates obtained from the industry. AdEx India would like to Thank a host of contributors who helped us put this report together. They include our friends from TV channel companies, radio, publication groups, media specialist organisations, Media e2e, a Mumbai based Strategic Media Studies group and the Internet And Mobile Association of India or IAMAI.)

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