Media spending in India grows by 18 percent

Mumbai: Driven by strong economic performances and rapidly improving consumer confidence levels in the first quarter of 2010, main media (Television, Newspaper & Magazine) advertising activity in India surged by 32 percent, the highest growth amongst the 12 Asia Pacific markets covered in The Nielsen Company’s survey on media spends. Overall across the 12 markets, media spends grew by 18 percent.

For the first quarter since Q3 2008, all 12 markets across the region recorded strong to bullish ad spend growth. This was also the second consecutive quarter with no declines in ad spending.

In a clear sign that the country is accelerating out of the economic downturn, India emerged as the most confident in the Q1 2010 Nielsen Global Consumer Confidence Survey and is fast on the path of recovery.

The discretionary spending of Indians has also showed significant growth and this is not lost on most marketers who are now back in the growth mode. This is translating into advertising activity rapidly returning to pre downturn levels and we now see the second consecutive quarter of media advertising growth in India and across all 12 markets in Asia Pacific (compared to the same period in 2009).

“Economic prospects are improving rapidly and consumers’ spending intentions are turning into actual spending reality. This is a sign that marketers, manufacturers and retailers have been eagerly waiting for and is seen translating into advertising spends. The challenge now for marketers however, will be right brand positioning and strengthening brand awareness as visibility diminished during the downturn,” said Piyush Mathur, President, India, The Nielsen Company.

Year on year (YOY) growth for a twelve month period to March 2010 saw an increase of 26 percent in main media ad spends in India. Across the 12 markets main media spends grew by 15 percent. The main driver of growth in India was the Newspaper, which experienced 30 percent YOY growth in ad spends; the highest percentage growth for newspaper ad spends across all 12 markets covered in the Nielsen survey. Overall newspaper ad spends grew by 14 percent YOY.

Across the region, Television was the main driver of media spends with 16 percent YOY growth. However, in India Television followed Newspapers, growing by 26 percent; however this was the highest percentage growth for television ad spends across the 12 markets.

The third of the main media, Magazines’ ad spends grew by 7 percent in India, across the 12 markets it grew by 4 percent. India followed China in magazine ad spends, which posted an 18 percent YOY growth.

All other media combined like Radio, Outdoor, Pay TV, Cinema, etc. showed a growth of 28 percent in the twelve months to March 2010 in India. Ad spends by all media sectors saw a growth of 27 percent YOY.

A quarterly comparison of ad spends in India shows that in Q1 2010, all main media recorded double digit growth to finish 33 percent ahead of the same quarter in 2009. Overall ad spending was dominated by Newspapers with 46 percent share of spend, followed by Television with 32 percent share in Q1 2010.

In the previous 12 months till March 2010, all the Top 10 Categories registered double digit advertising growth to finish a robust 29 percent ahead YOY and represented 52 percent of all main media ad spending. Stellar ad spend increases were noted for the top 3 categories, which combined represented 22 percent of all India media spending. These were Services (25% YOY growth), Food & Beverages (37% YOY growth) and Personal Care/Personal Hygiene (53% YOY growth). Banking/ Finance/ Investment (26% YOY growth) and Education (27% YOY growth) were the other categories that carved a place for themselves in the top five.

Media spends on Social Issues has expanded in the past 12 months, not only with Government campaigns, but also Corporations and Brands aligning themselves to relevant social communications like Health & Hygiene, Women’s and Family Welfare, etc. Social issues are also now the focus on TV Soaps and prime time serials.

A varied mix of products is seen advertising across different media but the top 3 products advertised are from the Telecom sector. The fourth biggest spender was LIC Wealth Plus, an investment insurance product from Life Insurance Corporation of India, which was launched in Q1 2010. Another major product new to the top 10 was the Petroleum Conservation Research Association, after two quite low key previous quarters.

“The outlook for media advertising across the remainder of 2010 appears extremely positive in India and the 12 markets surveyed. Consumers are out there spending and intending to loosen up their purse strings, so the onus is now on marketers to ensure their products and services return to top of mind,” said Mathur.

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