MUMBAI: Concerns about the slow recovery of India’s advertising market in 2017 have been allayed to a great extent by reported growth of 15-20% during the recent festive season.

Factors such as demonetisation and the introduction of a Goods & Services Tax have affected consumer spending and advertising over the past year, but industry figures have indicated that things have picked up substantially in recent weeks, so that annual advertising growth is now likely to be around 10-12%.

“[The] industry is recovering,” according to Ashish Bhasin, Chairman & CEO South Asia Dentsu Aegis Network.

“We have now revised our own estimates for the year to about 10% on the conservative side. But this means that last quarter should see growth of 16-17%,” he told Exchange4Media.

Interestingly, the nature of advertising on some media channels during the festive season appears to have shifted from promotions towards brand building.

In digital, Vivek Bhargava, CEO, DAN Performance Group, part of Dentsu Aegis Network, observed “more long format videos and content marketing as opposed to traditional spends on search, Facebook, etc.”

Radio saw a parallel trend, according to Vineet Singh Hukmani, MD and CEO, Radio One. “We see many clients using this time to build their share of voice and market share to get an edge over competition,” he said.

He also reported that ad revenues at the station during September and October were up 25% over July and August.

Several television stations registered similarly impressive growth figures: 25% at Sony Pictures Network and 25-30% at Disney India.

“Post the lull the companies saw post demonetisation and GST, there was good buoyancy this festive season where companies stepped out to spend aggressively to gain the lost momentum and market shares,” said Abhishek Maheshwari, VP & Head, Media Networks & Interactive, Disney India.

As the government prepares to mark the first anniversary of demonetisation with “anti-Black Money Day”, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has claimed “a clear subtle change [is] taking place in how India and Indians spend their money” and argued “excessive dependence” on cash is a “curse on both society and economy”.

Former PM Manmohan Singh took a very different view, describing the policy as a “monumental blunder” that had hit the weakest parts of society and one that would exacerbate inequality.

Sourced from Exchange4Media, Financial Express, The Indian Express; additional content by WARC staff