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Advertising veteran Sam Balsara demands stimulus package from government

Advertising industry witnessed 75% drop in Q1

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NEW DELHI:  Lamenting the lack of support from Indian government, and Madison Communications founder and CMD Sam Balsara demanded a stimulus package for the advertising industry. He was speaking to Governance Now MD Kailashnath Adhikari on ‘Impact of Covid-19 on media and entertainment industry and the role of governance in the media sector’. 

Balsara said, “The government needs to provide a stimulus package to the advertising industry and push consumer demand. Perhaps they think if they gave a concession to advertising, then it would be considered a concession to the sector itself. It is not a concession; it is a stimulus package to revive demand and that is how it should be seen by the government and positioned and not as a sop to the media industry." 

He shared that the advertising industry has faced an overall steep drop of almost 75 per cent in the first quarter of the FY 2020-2021 adding that in April it was about 95 per cent, improved slightly in May, and recovered well in June, especially in the TV and digital media. 

“Print, radio outdoor and cinema are totally in the dumps and will only see some semblance by Diwali provided the govt allows suburban railways in metros and majority offices open. The industry was expecting TV to recover 80%-90% of last year’s levels in Q2 of the FY,” he said.

He also said that work from home is a huge setback to the economy as it could work well for individuals and companies but not create consumer demand. "When advertising is widely recognized as the engine for a large number of consumer companies and drives demand in its absence the economy goes into a downward cycle. To spin out of this de-growth and perk up, a massive dose of advertising is required in July August, September."

Balsara also came down heavily on Indian news channels and said that he is disappointed at what they repetitively put out and have to break out of the current rhythm of content. He was referring to the daily headlines of highest no of Covid2019 cases and deaths being reported by news channels which he said look as identical every day as they did four months ago. 

“There are many opportunities for news channels to innovate, be more humane, and capitalise news intake intelligently. But repetitive news content is bringing the viewership down. When in the first week of lockdown viewership of news channels had shot up 300 per cent today it has come down to February levels," said Balsara. 

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