Have festive ad spends brightened the print industry’s revenue?

Print industry experts share that there has been a 15-20% growth in revenues due to the festive season spends this year, writes Noel D'Souza.

26 Oct 2022 | By PrintWeek Team

As per an EY-FICCI report, print media grew 24% in 2021 as compared to 2020

The festive season has lit up the print industry’s spirits with a growth revenue of 4.57% in ad spends for Q3 2022 as compared to last year’s festive quarter which amounted to 4.09% growth. (Source: TAM industry’s MAP calendar year report)

This sentiment has given a sliver of hope to the traditional medium amidst challenges the industry had to grapple with this year, such as recovering its consumption losses due to the pandemic and the increase in GST rates levied on print ink in July 2022. 

We asked print industry publications about the growth of their ad revenues during the festive season and got a feel of the land from agencies that include print in their marketing mix. 

Festive AdEx on print

Abhishek Karnani, director, The Free Press Journal, is hopeful that print revenues will see an upward trajectory. Karnani cited a 15-20% increase in ad spends this season compared to last year’s festive quarter. 

On the other hand, Karnani also shared about brands being hesitant to spend on print. He said, “The mood is upbeat in India but corporates are still cautious with the world market scenario. Money is being spent with mixed feelings. It’s still a long way to cover the recent increase in cost in the print industry due to government regulations.”

Brand activity

Mitesh Desai, head, sales excellence and agency relationships, HT Media Group, said, “While the festive season is still ongoing; retail, durables, electronics and the luxury jewellery sectors have continued to spend high in festive months so far. The BFSI sector is also bullish on their festive offers owing to the positive retail sentiment and hence buoyant versus the last year in terms of ad-spends.”

Desai added that this positive consumer sentiment has happened due to the on-premise shopping after a two-year hiatus, leading to higher promotions and hence ad spends by the retail, apparel and jewellery sectors. 

"While the categories such as eCommerce and consumer goods have now started to advertise all-round the year in regular bursts, categories like retail (online-offline), durables and luxury are driving the festive spends", Desai added.

An educational brand, Fore School’s spokesperson explained why the brand spends 30% of its media budgets on print.

"While print helps create awareness amongst the right target audience, we believe that the trustworthiness of newspapers and magazines is still more than any other medium. The experience of print news cannot be taken away.”

Talking about the brand response for The Free Press Journal, Karnani remarked, “The sectors which are investing heavily in print media spots are automobiles, retails- electronics, jewellers, fashion and household appliances.” 

According to Harrish Bhatia, president-sales and marketing, Dainik Bhaskar, the retail brands that advertise in the publication, this year, had started building their presence early on in the festive season by trying to stay on the top of the consumer's minds and incite a call to action for the sales. 

For Dainik Bhaskar, Bhatia pointed out that according to his brand associates categories like real estate, jewellery, lifestyle and electronics and appliances are prominent sectors leveraging the power to print during the festival period.

Agency’s driving brand visibility in print

Sharing his prediction on the festive quarter growth for the print industry, Dhiraj Khanna, associate vice president and cluster head, DDB Mudramax, stated, “The space consumption had dropped drastically during peak covid time. But based on the data represented in the above table, the number of advertisers in 2022 is slowly reaching the pre-covid levels. In 2022 Q3, the space consumption level was the highest when compared with Q3 of the last three years including pre-covid levels. Print still is the second most preferred medium in terms of reach when it comes to males above 40 plus years after television.”

On a spirited note, Gaurav Arora, co-founder, Social Panga, said, "This festive season, As per the early industry estimates, print advertising is expected to achieve the pre-pandemic mark. Within our bouquet of clients, we are seeing 15-20% of the total marketing spends go towards print ads." 

As per an EY-FICCI report, print media grew 24% in 2021 as compared to 2020.

Arora believes that the previous year's growth trajectory will continue in 2022 too. "Print media will see at least a 20% rise in advertising as compared to the last two years,” he said.

Print innovations that stood out this festive season

For Karnani it was the JioMart ads that were impactful as they were made visible to readers by adding bright colours, in line with the festive mood.

Speaking about a print innovation that was a cut above the rest for HT Media Group's Desai, he shared, “Early September this year, our readers experienced WhatsApp’s built-in layers of protection meant for user privacy through a high-impact jacket ad where each privacy feature on WhatsApp was represented by a sliding lock cut-out that our readers could move up and down to understand each privacy feature, making it an interactive, tactile experience.”

Desai also spoke about Mondelez's #ShopsforShopless campaign which had a digital integration. He shared, "There’s a growing trend towards creating multimedia customer journeys for today’s connected consumers using QR-codes to leverage the impact of print and enable seamless print-to-digital integration. Mondelez’s latest festive campaign #ShopsforShopless urged people to register local shop-less vendors near them through a print ad with a QR code that used this innovation to take print media readers to a landing page – a unique innovation that brought together the magic of print and the power of hyperlocal digital." 

Lastly, for Bhatia, it was print innovations like panorama, seamless jackets and the french window, used by a brand to create a narrative for the consumer. He said, “By using an eight-page super panorama and a multi-client french window, a newspaper made a showroom opening invite. Through this innovation, an effective impact was created across audiences and also delivered the desired response to the client.”