MUMBAI: India's television broadcasters are expecting ad revenues to grow by up to 25% over the coming festive season, led by spending in the ecommerce, automobile and handset categories.

Exchange4Media spoke to a number of top broadcast executives and found them optimistic about the outlook for the next few months, with the activity in certain sectors being accompanied by an extended festive period and increased advertising rates.

"The industry, overall, is expected to increase ad spends by 10-15% during the festive season," said Ashwin Padmanabhan, COO, Reliance Broadcast Network. "The prime time ad spots for TV are expected to increase by about 20–25%," he added.

Similarly, Ashish Sehgal, chief sales officer, ZEEL, anticipated 25% growth in ad revenues, while Rohit Gupta, president, MSM, predicted an increase of between 20% and 30% across the network's channels.

One chief revenue officer pointed out that the longer three-month season was a factor and added that ecommerce businesses were not only increasing their spending but planning it better.

There was widespread agreement that ecommerce would likely contribute the most to TV advertising revenues, although thereafter opinions diverged.

"I think ecommerce followed by automobile will be the two big spenders in this festive period," said the revenue head from Times Network. "This would be followed by the handset category. We will also see a lot of festive spends from the telecom brands this year." At Reliance, it was ecommerce followed by FMCG and consumer durables.

Anuj Poddar, evp/project head regional channels for Colors Marathi and Colors Gujarati, also saw ecommerce and FMCG spending on the rise, the latter "both in terms of each player spending more, and more of them getting active". And he added jewellery and films to the list of categories he thought would be spending more.

Another reason for the rise in festive revenues for broadcasters is the lift in ad rates: Poddar reported an average hike of 30% to 35% in September "and despite that we are running full (inventory)".

Others were less ambitious, with a 10% to 15% increase in rates appearing more likely.

Warc's latest Media Inflation forecast, calculated using a survey of four global media agencies, expects the price of an Indian TV spot to rise 11% for 2015 as a whole, and a further 13% over the course of 2016.

Warc's International Ad Forecast put Indian TV ad revenue at US$2.2bn in 2014, with an average growth rate of +8.1% expected this year and next.

Data sourced from Exchange4Media; additional content by Warc staff