That digital as an advertising medium has been growing consistently in the last few years is a trend that has been well-documented by a number of studies that track ad spends in the country. However, what is striking about the latest AdEx Report released by the country's largest media agency network, GroupM, is the growth of cinema advertising in India. GroupM forecasts a rate of growth of 20 per cent for cinema advertising in 2015, second only to digital advertising, which comes at 37 per cent.
While the growth last year of cinema advertising was 25 per cent, according to GroupM estimates, thanks to elections, officials at the media agency network say a comparable number would be the growth seen the previous year (2013), when it (cinema advertising) was 12 per cent. Officials say this is the broad range of growth of cinema advertising in the country in the last few years. Though the base of cinema advertising in the country is small - only 0.83 per cent of estimated total advertising of Rs 48,976 crore for 2015 - GroupM says that it does have the scope to grow in the coming years, if high double-digit grow rates remain.
"The cinema numbers this year are an eye-opener," says CVL Srinivas, chief executive officer, GroupM, South Asia. "The consolidation of the multiplex business in the last few years makes it an exciting proposition for advertisers. Footfalls have been growing inside theatres and multiplexes in particular and when there are eyeballs for a medium, advertisers are automatically drawn to it," he says.
A big contributor to footfalls in theatres has been the digitisation of single screens as well as tier-II and III multiplex screens in the last few years. Digitisation, say experts, has given exhibitors the flexibility in selecting movies, and especially last year, when mainline Bollywood films failed to deliver, regional films have been able to save the day for distribution and exhibition companies. Thanks to this, cinema halls have been able to maintain footfalls, making in-cinema advertising a lucrative option for brands, notably, regional brands.
For those who cannot afford expensive television spots, cinema ad rates are a fraction of what TV channels charge, driving regional brands to embrace advertising in theatres even more. There are also no constraints on time like in TV, where ten-seconders typically rule. Ads in cinemas are anywhere between 30 to 60 seconds, giving advertisers more room to drive home their communication message. Not to mention that the mechanism to track cinema advertising in the country has grown over the years. GroupM launched a measurement system called Cinema Audit and Monitoring (CAM) in 2013. Global major Rentrack has hopped onto the bandwagon now, though it measures box office collections to begin with. Globally, Rentrack monitors cinema advertising besides measuring box office collections.
How other media stack up
Amongst mainline media, television advertising retains a healthy 16 per cent growth rate this year (15 per cent last year), GroupM says, while print advertising is likely to see a growth rate of 5 per cent (7 per cent last year). Both TV and print remain the largest and second-largest contributors to total advertising at 46 per cent (Rs 22,446 crore) and 34 per cent (Rs 16,872 crore), respectively. From 1.2 per cent a decade ago, digital advertising today is pegged at 9.5 per cent of total advertising. It is forecast to be Rs 4,661 crore in size this year. Interestingly, the growth of digital advertising co-incides with the drop in print advertising in the last decade. In 2005, print advertising was 53 per cent of total advertising, making it the largest advertising medium in India.
TV advertising, on the other hand, was 37 per cent, putting it in second place. While the tables have turned in the last decade, the trend going forward is the further growth of digital. According to industry estimates, digital advertising is expected to cross the 20-per-cent-mark by 2020.