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3700+ advertisers active on television in Diwali week

However, print has yet to regain its pre-Covid sheen in terms of advertising.

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NEW DELHI: As the ongoing festive season hits a crescendo this Saturday with Diwali, ad volumes on television are witnessing a steady rise. However, in terms of revenues, the industry is still struggling and money in the bank might clock at less than 10-15 per cent of what 2019 achieved, industry insiders have projected. 

Wavemaker India managing partner Mansi Datta said that the advertising industry has seen demand rising and an almost comeback to similar ad volume levels to last year Diwali. “Festive period of Diwali has seen marketers hoping for a recovery in demand generation. This time frame was also quite a tempting one for advertisers with the presence of the high octane IPL, an equally fiery political scenario with Bihar elections, along with interesting reality format shows. TV, which has registered the quickest recovery, is witnessing demand levels similar to pre-Covid levels.”

OMD Mudramax EVP and principal partner Navin Kathuria shared a similar overview as he elaborated that the early trends for Diwali point to inventories on television filling up fast. And these are only expected to grow as the festival draws closer. 

The Media Ant co-founder Samir Chaudhary revealed that the advertiser count for Diwali week is 3700+ on television alone. 

As per Kathuria, most of the festive categories are active on TV – e-commerce (Amazon, Flipkart, Pepperfry etc), cars, paints, white goods, apparel, retail, a few BFSI subcategories, footwear, and kitchen appliances. “This is in addition to the new emerging categories like edtech, online gaming, hand sanitizers etc. Of course, the regular or non-festive categories of FMCG, personal care, cosmetics, online food delivery, banking, OTC pharma products etc are present, as always,” he added. 

Despite ad inventories filling up fast and advertiser sentiment turning upbeat even for categories which were otherwise muted during the pandemic-induced lockdown, television is still staggering in contrast to last year. 

Both Chaudhary and Kathuria pointed out that while it is difficult to peg an exact number to compare, it is going to be difficult for TV ad revenues to pass the preceding year’s count. Kathuria, however, mentioned that it might be possible that the medium might come close to last year’s number. 

An industry veteran, though, stated that it will be surprising if the numbers come close to 90 per cent of what was witnessed in 2019. 

The industry is showing great positivity towards out-of-home advertising too, which has started picking up after a quarter of complete silence. 

Datta elaborated, “OOH is seeing interesting trends with mobility reports showing the movement of people increasing away from home, into shopping areas, especially in upcountry cities. In urban centres, premium locations like airports have also shown a bounce-back of traffic levels. All this and more, has seen a lot of clients revaluating their interest in OOH solutions.” 

One medium that is still struggling to achieve its pre-Covid glory is print. “Though advertising has increased as compared to the normal months, it is nowhere close to what it should be in the festive period. We are not witnessing multiple jackets, full-page ads, flaps etc which is a norm for publications during Diwali season. This year, though Diwali advertising is seen on print, the clutter is much lower compared to the last few years,” Kathuria noted. 

Even though print has gained momentum during the last several weeks, in the end the advertising decision-making is led by efficiencies, pointed out Datta. “Hard-working formats are being preferred over big-sized impact formats. We have seen the demand for impactful formats like jackets going down. Our analysis shows that there’s been almost a 60 per cent plus drop in jackets consumption over last year’s Diwali.” 

As has been the trend for most of the year, industry experts maintained that digital was again the most preferred choice for advertisers in Diwali season as well. Unlike other mediums, the platform is witnessing a better recovery and double-digit growth due to the benefits like real-time measurement and conversion tracking. 

WATConsult VP - operations (west and south) Manika Juneja explained, “There is a noticeable difference between 2019 and 2020 festive planning & implementation which is primarily driven by consumer behaviour. There has been a surge in the first-time online shoppers from non-primary markets and the ways of offline and online shopping have evolved with propositions like scheduled in-store pickups, contactless delivery, online consultation and more. Brands which hadn’t considered the digital medium earlier are now hopping on the bandwagon at a faster pace for discoverability and consideration. There is a digital touchpoint everywhere for putting consumers’ mind at ease and providing them with an added experience to build trust and generate repeat visits.”

She continued, “ROI-driven campaigns have now taken precedence and garnered the largest chunk of spends on digital. By its nature, e-commerce as a medium, has been the biggest driver of sales for brands in the new normal. Majority of the brands are strengthening their digital infrastructure to reach out to a larger consumer base. The IPL and festive overlap coupled with a 360-degree shift in consumer content consumption has given an added advantage to OTT platforms along with social and digital media this season.” 

1702 Digital co-founder Mihir Joshi shared that the agency has witnessed DTC brands increase their spends on branding during the festive season, with as much as a 70 per cent uptick in the number of campaigns being fielded. “We’ve been witnessing an increase in performance marketing spends with our DTC clients. Brands are also coming to terms with this Covid-dominated year and realising that Diwali is the most positive peak of consumer sentiments that we are going to have. Hence, they are not getting cold feet to spend big on digital platforms.”

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