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The Drum gets the GroupM team behind this year’s TYNY (This Year, Next Year) report to do a deep-dive on the key trends of the report to help the marketers make sense of these tough times and solve their business problems better.

As per the recently launched edition of TYNY report, which is part of GroupM's media and marketing forecasting series, India will see a major ad recovery in 2021 after the downfall of ad spends in 2020 due to the pandemic. 

The total size of India’s advertising investment is likely to reach an estimated Rs. 80,123 crores this year, marking an estimated growth of 23.2%for the calendar year 2021.

As per the report, “India is the 2nd fastest growing market in the top 10 countries and will be the 6th largest contributor to incremental ad spends in 2021 globally”.

As has been reported in most markets, in the aftermath of the pandemic digital has had a great run making it the only medium to witness a gain of USD 27bn globally in 2020. As most experts point out, digital will continue to see the upward growth trend due to the evolving consumer behaviour and consumption patterns.

As Prasanth Kumar, CEO, GroupM South Asia, points out, “While the global ad spends are estimated to see a rise of 10% in 2021, digital is expected to take 67% of ad spends. With the help of technology, marketers have adapted to pandemic-proof ways by constantly innovating, staying relevant and offering digitally charged solutions to brands.”

Here is what the team shares on the key themes and findings of the report.

Prasanth Kumar, CEO, GroupM South Asia, on key learnings and takeaways for marketers

  • Even though the beginning of 2020, social commerce was getting established as one of the key decadal trends, the pandemic accelerated the move towards this trend. The future is going to be about the emergence of connected commerce.
  • The fundamental role of media is to connect companies to consumers and the pandemic months saw many categories reach out to consumers directly through hyperlocal vehicles, be it delivery apps, QSR delivery networks, more direct distribution outlets or e-commerce platforms (marketplaces, ed-tech, fin-tech, e-healthcare, gaming platforms, etc.). it is good news that these have now emerged as a viable channel for advertising too.
  • Digital established itself as an enabler to transform businesses and help grow them. The writing was on the wall - adapt or perish played out with ruthlessness in 2020.

Key takeaways for the CMOs

  • The biggest learning was that of human resilience, and we saw this play out not just personally but also across consumers and brands.
  • Connected consumers, accelerated digital transformation and evolving commerce are going to be key focus areas for brands.

Sidharth Parashar, president, investments and pricing, GroupM India, on the future of Print and Television

All media are estimated to grow in ad spends in 2021. Opening of economy, leading to higher demand will help these print and television as well.

  • Television is estimated to grow by 18% and continue holding its dominant share of ad spends in India. Along with the overall increase in demand, TV would also register incremental ad spends with 4 state elections and additional major sporting events in the year.
  • Some of the categories likely to help drive growth on TV are auto, e-commerce and telecom.
  • Print would begin slow and grow progressively much like other media in 2021. Overall, the medium is estimated to grow by 23% in 2021 over 2020.
  • The revival of local advertising will be crucial for good growth in Print ad spends. With urban consumption likely to accelerate from Q2, this medium is estimated to start registering growth. Retail, education, consumer durables, auto and FMCG are some of the key categories that are likely to help growth for print. These categories together form a large part of advertising expenditure and would help the revival of print. It will remain to be seen how publication houses can leverage this position and build on this strong value and stay relevant in a fast-changing world.

Tushar Vyas, president, growth and transformation, GroupM South Asia, on the changing paradigm of media-planning

  • Increasingly, media planning is becoming media and device agnostic which translates into the media planner's ability to reach consumers for brands irrespective of the media touchpoints. 
  • The role of measurement is also changing to include not just audience volume measurement, but the company’s first-party data, behavioural data, on-demand vs appointment-based content consumption trends, marketing data, purchase behaviour data, etc. So, the planner’s role has evolved to become more strategic and be a true partner for building the client’s business.

Bharat Khatri, country head, Xaxis India, on the challenges of the high-growth OTT medium

  • Measurement standards currently are woefully inconsistent and not progressing beyond impressions, clicks, video views. Excess of content and device fragmentation is becoming a challenge for marketers to find relevant audiences at a scale like linear TV.
  • There are also challenges with allocating budgets across a different range of telecom, broadcaster, global, distributor OTTs in a digital yet unconnected ecosystem. At present, the absence of governance by any censor board or regulatory body is creating a lot of concerns on brand suitability. In absence of any viewership/streaming guidelines, content that is explicit and demands viewer discretion is also being watched by children under 18 years of age.

Karthik Nagarajan, chief content officer, Wavemaker, on the key counter-intuitive findings of the TYNY 2021

  • Between April-May when India was under stringent lockdown and businesses were strapped for cash, it looked like smaller businesses would take longer to revive. However, the agility with which the SME segment revived and capitalized on digital media to grow highlights the potential for the medium and the medium’s ability to uplift businesses.
  • Something the lockdown unravelled and pushed was the way the gaming industry is unravelling in India. It has also presented some very counter-intuitive but fascinating trends. The fact that a majority of the new gamers in India are women is a very healthy trend. The percentage of women is higher in gaming than the overall internet in India. 
  • Also, counter-intuitive is the pace at which some of the newer social platforms created in India have grown. We are certainly going through an era of fragmented social media in India and IN the not so long future, we are probably looking at four to five different platforms with 100M+ users.