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Digital media is expected to lead the rebound in advertising spending in India this year, a report by media agency GroupM said, after the covid-19 pandemic squeezed spending last year.

Advertising spends which fell 21.5% in India last year will grow 23.2% this year to touch 80,123 crore, GroupM’s This Year Next Year (TYNY) forecast said. Out of the incremental ad spend of 15,000 crore, digital will grab 40% share, it said.

India is the second fastest-growing market in the top 10 countries and will be the sixth-largest contributor to incremental ad spends in 2021 globally, the report said. While India was at ninth position in the global ad spend rank in 2019, it dropped to 10 in 2020 and is likely to regain its ninth rank this year.

On revival path
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On revival path

To be sure, covid-19 impacted digital media the least, witnessing only a 2% contraction in spends, and is expected to grow by 28% in 2021. Print, television, outdoor and cinema, on the other hand, declined by 43%, 14%, 73% and 83% respectively and are estimated to rise by 23%, 18%, 69% and 197% this year. Further, apart from FMCG and e-commerce, categories like auto, telecom, retail and durables will be growth drivers of India ad spend in 2021, the report said.

“The ad industry had its challenges and 2020 witnessed a steep drop in the overall media investments. However, we have witnessed a month-on-month upturn in the industry starting Q3 last year and we are quite optimistic about the revival that 2021 will see," Prasanth Kumar, CEO, GroupM South Asia, said in a statement. With the gradual easing of the lockdown backed by seasonal spends and big-ticket events like IPL, 2021 is expected to continue to build on that momentum, Kumar added. While global ad spends are estimated to see a rise of 10% in 2021, digital is expected to take 67% of ad spends.

2021 will see 90% incremental ad spends on digital media globally, Tushar Vyas, president, growth and transformation, GroupM South Asia said in the statement. The massive switch to digital over the past one year has been a major driver for this shift, with people not only browsing or watching more content online but also shopping more online.

In India, for instance, the subscription-led video streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video saw a spike in their subscriber base. This may not be very encouraging for the advertising industry. However, the good news is that most streaming platforms, especially those owned by the broadcasters, have adopted a hybrid multi-tiered monetization model, by giving the audience the choice of both free and ad-supported content as well as premium subscription offers.

This is giving advertisers plenty of opportunities to reach consumers through engaging video formats and achieve real outcomes in a device-agnostic world. In 2021, this advertising channel will continue to have a lion’s share in programmatic spends and also bring incremental budgets from the traditional or linear TV pie, the report said

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