The Indian net ad sales revenue grew +14% in 2021 to reach Rs 657 billion and growth is expected to accelerate in 2022, fueling an advertising revenue increase of +15% (above the APAC average of +11%), according to Magna Global Advertising Forecast.
Over 60% of the new gains came in H1 2021 thanks to the Indian Premier League (IPL) moving back to the original schedule, and strong growth from print advertising (+12%).
The advertising revenues swung back to a healthy growth rate of +14% in 2021, rising from Rs 577 billion to Rs 657 billion. Digital ad formats grew by +20% (APAC average: +23%) to Rs 214 billion, while traditional media rose +12%. Ecommerce, Retail, Durables, Beverages, Pharma, Real estate, Finance, and Education were the most active categories while automobile, government, personal care, and communication brands continued to hold back their spending.
Despite disruptions in 2Q21 caused by a surge in COVID cases, television performed well in 2021 (+10%) as original content never dried up. IPL matches were paused partway through the season, due to harsh situations posed by the pandemic; however, resuming them in the second half of 2021, along with the ICC T20 World Cup, helped television revenue growth. The top 10 advertising categories contribute to more than 80% of the revenues. Ecommerce, education, beverages, realty, pharma, and food advertising revenues grew, while government, automobile, personal care, and financial categories eroded in 2021. With IPL media rights coming up in 2022, valuation this time is going to be even higher with the increase in the number of teams and the number of matches. With this factor, coupled with a few critical state elections, television is expected to maintain momentum and grow by +11% to reach Rs 294 billion by the end of 2022.
Newspapers have nearly recovered on circulation and advertising volumes, though the market pricing is still soft. In 2021, overall print grew +12% from a low base (2020: -40%), despite the slowdown in business. Growth has come from Retail, Durables, Finance, Real Estate, and Government spending. 2022 growth is expected to be broad-based, with most categories increasing spending and elections in a few large states helping to drive an increase of +14%. With all COVID restrictions lifted, wedding season (which typically begins in October and lasts through March/April) will present another opportunity for print to thrive.
Radio’s recovery started off briskly before stalling due to the second lockdown in 2Q21. The rebound from the July to October 2021 period was far steeper and vertically driven; however, ad rates will take a while to get back on track. Radio is expected to gain back the transit audience listeners lost during the lockdowns. Growth in both listenership and revenue is expected to come from Tier 2 and Tier 3 markets. Overall, radio advertising revenues grew +20% in 2021 to reach Rs 16 billion, nearly 70% of the pre-COVID market size. Growth was driven by E-commerce, Food, Pharma, and Retail advertising. Growth of +21% is expected for 2022.
According to Shashi Sinha, CEO, IPG Mediabrands India, “Waning fear of the virus, along with the opening of economic and leisure activities, has given a boost to demand and improved business sentiment. The Indian advertising marketplace is experiencing recovery and accelerated adoption of non-conventional methods by all forms of media to engage consumers is helping along the recovery path. Though the second COVID wave in 2021Q2 disrupted the momentum, ad revenue in 2021 will grow at a healthy rate after contracting -22% in 2020. Close to 60% of the new gains came on the back of linear formats. Brand and privacy safe media that the traditional formats boast off, keep them relevant. A strong growth predicted from print advertising (+12%) is the way advertisers have reinforced faith in the medium. Though the road to recovery is a long one and albeit at different rates, advertising revenue in 2021 is likely to exit 90% of 2019 revenues.”