AdEx to see 30-40 percent surge with Q1 2024 political advertising boost: R. Venkatasubramanian

R. Venkatasubramanian, managing director – Havas Play and president -Investments – Havas Media talks about the changing media landscape and the top trends of 2023.

By  Tasmayee Laha RoyDec 11, 2023 9:56 AM
AdEx to see 30-40 percent surge with Q1 2024 political advertising boost: R. Venkatasubramanian
R. Venkatasubramanian stated, "Cultural diversity and diversification of media channels with adoption of the digital revolution has opened up new avenues for advertising. India's passion for cricket and Bollywood has made sports and entertainment marketing a significant avenue for advertisers. The rapid growth of e-commerce players and burgeoning middle class with increased disposable income has created a larger consumer base. E-comm advertisers target this segment with tailored campaigns for products and services, driving the demand for advertising space."

As content consumption patterns undergo a transformation in India, marketers are adjusting their ad budgets accordingly. This shift reveals a noticeable trend in the evolution of advertising strategies among Indian advertisers, influenced by the surge in digital AdEx. Not just that, advertisers are reshaping their content formats to align with digital platforms, emphasising targeted reach and measurable ROI.

In an exclusive interview with Storyboard18, R. Venkatasubramanian, managing director of Havas Play and president of Investments at Havas Media, discusses the journey towards achieving the milestone of Rs 1,412.5 billion by 2028, the changing priorities of marketers, new ad real estate, and more.

Edited excerpts

India's advertising market has seen significant growth when compared to global numbers. What factors do you believe have contributed to this remarkable ascent?

India's advertising market has indeed experienced remarkable growth, and several factors have contributed to this ascent. India's steady economic growth has attracted both domestic and international businesses. With a burgeoning market, companies are willing to invest more in advertising to establish their presence and capture market share. Favourable government policies and regulations have encouraged foreign investments and eased market entry for advertisers, fostering a conducive environment for advertising growth.

Cultural diversity and diversification of media channels with adoption of the digital revolution has opened up new avenues for advertising. India's passion for cricket and Bollywood has made sports and entertainment marketing a significant avenue for advertisers. The rapid growth of e-commerce players and burgeoning middle class with increased disposable income has created a larger consumer base. E-comm advertisers target this segment with tailored campaigns for products and services, driving the demand for advertising space.

Considering the above market expectations, we are looking at reaching the milestone of Rs 1,412.5 billion by 2028, with a CAGR of 11.2 percent during 2023-2028 cycle. The largest market in terms of India is primarily ‘TV & Video advertising’ with a volume of USD 6.05 billion as of 2023 and is expected to grow at a steady rate of ~15-16 percent in the year 2024.

In the recent past we have seen a significant increase in digital AdEx. Do you think there is a shift that is influencing the advertising strategies of Indian advertisers? Specifically, how are budgets being allocated between digital and traditional TV in response to this trend?

Absolutely, there has been a noticeable shift in advertising strategies among Indian advertisers, largely influenced by the rise of digital AdEx. This shift is evident in how advertising budgets are being reallocated between digital and traditional TV. Advertisers are more focused on an integrated approach, complementing TV with digital strategies to create a more cohesive and effective marketing mix. Advertisers are adapting their content formats to suit digital platforms with more focused on targeted reach and measurable ROI. Advertisers are becoming more flexible with their budgets, often reallocating funds from traditional TV to digital based on campaign performance and audience behaviour.

While traditional TV advertising remains significant due to its wide reach and impact, the trend clearly indicates a growing preference for digital platforms among Indian advertisers. The shift in budget allocation reflects a strategic response to the changing media consumption habits and the effectiveness of digital advertising in engaging target audiences.

The digital advertising landscape is evolving beyond the dominance of Google and Meta, with new entrants like e-commerce and even music apps gaining traction. Can you provide insights into emerging opportunities in digital space?

Certainly, the digital advertising landscape is continually evolving, presenting emerging opportunities beyond the dominance of major players like Google and Meta. Few examples of emerging opportunities in the digital space like, e-commerce platforms / streaming platforms, gaming and esports, audio and podcast platforms, native advertising, AR / VR, contextual targeting, interactive and shoppable ads

Surprisingly, we are looking at a power packed 2024, as we have FIH Olympic Qualifiers hosted by India, Volleyball Championships, Marathons, Badminton Championships, Tata IPL, TATA WPL, and all the respective qualifications tournaments of the sporting extravaganza – the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic games coupled with the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2024, Moto GP, Formula 1, Tennis Grand Slams, PGA tours.

A perfect example, we can probably think of is - Spotify acquiring the stadium naming rights for FC Barcelona in 2022, which is now called as Spotify Camp Nou.

All of these are powerful marketing opportunities for potential brands who look for engaging and exploring branding opportunities via digital marketing platforms or via association with linear TV partners and/or go ahead with offline investments depending on their needs and wants in the given quarter.

What kinds of brands do you see showing interest in the new advertising marketplace, and how does it offer unique benefits to them?

All the way from FMCG to a small home-grown brand are looking at exploring opportunities in these new advertising marketplaces offering a significant no. of opportunities and exposure to the brands to promote their products, services, or a cause in the given timeframe.

The unique benefits these brands derive from the new advertising marketplace includes, Precise targeting, measurable ROI, flexibility and agility, direct engagement with innovation and creativity. Overall, these brands find value in the evolving advertising marketplace due to its ability to offer tailored, measurable, and innovative ways to engage with their target audiences effectively.

With major sporting events like IPL and the World Cup concluded, what upcoming intellectual properties (IPs) are marketers currently focusing on? Furthermore, beyond cricket, what genre is gaining popularity among advertisers as a key platform for engagement?

It has been a powerful 2023 for the sports and entertainment markets overall. The kind of brand integrations we saw during the Women’s World Boxing Championship, the 1st Edition of TATA WPL followed by the TATA IPL and later with the performance of Team India at the Hangzhou 2022 Asian Games and the Asian Para Games winning a combined ‘historic total’ of 2018 medals with brands coming forward to show their support by associating with the Olympic & Paralympic teams respectively was an eye opener for all of us as agencies and brands.

It's literally the end of year 2023 and we still have properties like kabaddi, football, volleyball, music festivals, fashion shows offering the brands the visibility and reach they need to connect with their consumers in their respective TGs.

Now with cricket part of the LA 2028 Olympic and Paralympic Games, we don’t have just one single genre that’s gaining popularity, we can easily name multiple properties like athletics, boxing, tennis, shooting, golf, kabaddi, badminton who are leading in different scenarios and giving a tough fight to cricket.

Like I said, the year 2024 is again a power packed year for all of us offering a significant growth to the brands and the AdEx industry all together.

Political advertising played a significant role in the advertising expenditure of 2023. How do you see political ad spending contributing to the overall adex, and what expectations do you have for political advertising in 2024, especially considering upcoming elections?

Yes, Adex will definitely go up substantially due to political advertising in the month of January-March 2024 and the expectation will be 30-40 percent more compared to last year in the particular period.

Looking ahead to 2024 and beyond, what are the prevailing trends in the advertising space, and what do you anticipate being the next significant development or innovation to watch out for in 2024?

As we look ahead to 2024 and beyond, several prevailing trends are likely to shape the advertising space. Few prevailing trends and potential developments to watch out for are personalisation and data privacy, AI and automation, sustainability and purpose-driven marketing, interactive content, dynamic creative optimisation.

The next significant development in 2024 could revolve around further integration of these trends, perhaps a breakthrough innovation that seamlessly combines AI-driven personalisation with immersive experiences in emerging platforms like the metaverse or refined solutions for balancing data privacy and effective targeting. Innovations that enhance the user experience while respecting privacy concerns are likely to stand out as major advancements in the advertising landscape.

First Published on Dec 11, 2023 9:02 AM

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