Print ad spend in India to remain steady this year

Overall ad spend to grow over 10%

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GroupM ‘This Year, Next Year’ (TYNY) 2020 report
GroupM ‘This Year, Next Year’ (TYNY) 2020 report

India’s advertising investment in print is expected to be steady in 2020, according to the latest report by GroupM, the media investment group of WPP. Ad spend in print is likely to reach INR 18,140 crore this year as against INR 18,164 crore in 2019.

Overall, India will continue to top the list as the fastest growing major advertising market in the world in 2020. As per the GroupM futures report ‘This Year, Next Year’ (TYNY) 2020, India’s advertising investment is expected to reach an estimated INR 91,641 crores this year, representing an estimated growth of 10.7% for the calendar year 2020.

India will continue to be the third-highest contributor to the incremental ad spends, only behind UK and USA, while China drops to the fourth spot. India will be the eighth fastest-growing country with respect to total ad spends across the globe, the report stated.

Even with an overall slowdown in the global economy, Indian media spends are expected to be between low and moderate in H1, with robust growth anticipated in H2 2020.

Television will continue as the most used media vehicle but digital is all set to close the gap. Digital secures number two position and is estimated to reach 30% of ad spend in 2020 with growth coming from 3Vs (video, voice, vernacular-Indic) and advertising on eCommerce. It is estimated to take 65% of incremental ad spend in 2020. The growth of digital is set to rise owing to changing consumer habits, according to the report.

Commenting on the TYNY 2020 report, Prasanth Kumar, chief executive officer – GroupM South Asia said, “We expect the global adex to grow by 5.1%. The Indian media landscape is constantly evolving and will continue to witness the fastest growth of 10.7% to reach INR 91,641 crores. While we expect sustained and stable investment across media in India, digital will garner 65% of incremental ad spends in 2020. In 2020, India faces challenges and uncertainties across sectors just like other markets. However, this also brings opportunities for brands to innovate because of which we see an evolving media stack. This will be propelled by greater use of technology and better content across media.”

Television will see INR 38,081 crore of ad spend this year compared to INR 35,458 crore last year. Digital will see INR 27,803 crore of ad spend versus INR 22,057 crore last year. Print remains in the third place.

Sidharth Parashar, president – Investments and Pricing of GroupM India, said that the format of print storytelling is changing but content is still the strongest.

“With print media organizations undergoing transformation across India, publication houses have invested heavily in promoting digital subscriptions and have started limiting access to digital versions of ePapers. We believe that this would pave the way for newer business models. Print will continue to remain relevant to advertisers wanting to build credible brands,” Parashar said.

2023 promises an interesting ride for print in India

Indian Printer and Publisher founded in 1979 is the oldest B2B trade publication in the multi-platform and multi-channel IPPGroup. While the print and packaging industries have been resilient in the past 33 months since the pandemic lockdown of 25 March 2020, the commercial printing and newspaper industries have yet to recover their pre-Covid trajectory.

The fragmented commercial printing industry faces substantial challenges as does the newspaper industry. While digital short-run printing and the signage industry seem to be recovering a bit faster, ultimately their growth will also be moderated by the progress of the overall economy. On the other hand book printing exports are doing well but they too face several supply-chain and logistics challenges.

The price of publication papers including newsprint has been high in the past year while availability is diminished by several mills shutting down their publication paper and newsprint machines in the past four years. Indian paper mills are also exporting many types of paper and have raised prices for Indian printers. To some extent, this has helped in the recovery of the digital printing industry with its on-demand short-run and low-wastage paradigm.

Ultimately digital print and other digital channels will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future. For instance, there is no alternative to a rise in textbook consumption but this segment will only reach normality in the next financial year beginning on 1 April 2023.

Thus while the new normal is a moving target and many commercial printers look to diversification, we believe that our target audiences may shift and change. Like them, we will also have to adapt with agility to keep up with their business and technical information needs.

Our 2023 media kit is ready, and it is the right time to take stock and reconnect with your potential markets and customers. Print is the glue for the growth of liberal education, new industry, and an emerging economy. We seek your participation in what promises to be an interesting ride.

– Naresh Khanna

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