There has been a general sense of euphoria over the speed and intensity of the revival of the economic activities in the Indian media and entertainment (M&E) industry, with the shoots of recovery being seen.
The growth and recovery to pre-pandemic levels of the Indian media and entertainment (M&E) industry will be a mixed bag according to an analysis done by CRISIL Ratings, part of the global analytical company CRISIL. It would include a relatively shorter bounce-back time for segments such as digital and television (TV), while a longer recovery time for print, films, outdoor, and radio. Overall, India’s (M&E) sector is likely to bounce-back to a strong 27% growth in 2022.
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 with the total size of India’s advertising investment likely to reach an estimated Rs. 80,123 crores this year, marking an estimated growth of 23.2%for the calendar year 2021.
Segment-wise growth trends
- The TV segment, making up for almost half of the sector’s topline, has recovered fully and will report healthy growth next fiscal as per analysis done by CRISIL Ratings. Ad revenue did see a sharp decline initially but managed to recover well with help from the airing of new content, sports events such as the Indian Premier League (IPL) and an upbeat festive season.
- Also, since a much larger number of people remained indoors during the lockdown, TV subscriptions did very well even during the peak of the pandemic.
- The print segment, making up for almost a fifth of the M&E sector, has had a very slow recovery. As per the analysis, print is losing share in ad revenue mainly to the digital segment which has been growing very well.
- Circulation too, especially for the English language, could see a decline by 8-10%, because of the increased preference for e-papers in metros. Of course, print companies are in the meanwhile trying hard to reboot their cost structure and accelerate their digital adoption at a breakneck speed to reclaim some of the lost relevance.
- Films, a staple of the Indian population, make up for almost a sixth of the sector topline has been impacted very severely owing to the total lockdown and the fear of the virus. Going forward, experts hope that occupancies in theaters should improve with the vaccination rollout and a strong pipeline of content.
- Most likely this segment is likely to remain impacted even next fiscal due to social distancing norms and fear of closed spaces.
Radio and outdoor
Other traditional media like radio and outdoor are also witnessing persisting pain, and are likely to take much longer to recover. This is largely on the back of restrictions on commuting as well as ad budgets for micro, small and medium enterprises, both of which are the key drivers for these segments.
What does it mean to the industry?
- Says Nitesh Jain, director, CRISIL Ratings, “Advertisement (ad) and subscription revenues contribute nearly equally to the overall M&E sector’s top line, but since the former correlates strongly with economic growth, the pandemic has had a bigger impact on it.” Next fiscal, with a strong economic rebound on the cards, ad revenue should grow 31% on-year and subscription revenue ~24%, as per Jain.
- The good news is that many M&E companies are adopting aggressive cost rationalization initiatives along with accelerating monetization opportunities via the integration of digital media into their traditional businesses. Easier said than done especially in the case of legacy players that have been historically from the print domain, but many of the big players have taken the journey already.
- As per Rakshit Kachhal, associate director, CRISIL Ratings, “Digital has emerged as the medium of choice. The pandemic accelerated the adoption of over-the-top (OTT) platforms, online gaming, e-commerce, e-learning, e-papers and online news platforms. This has meant the focus of advertisers has shifted from traditional to digital media.” The expectation from the digital segment revenue is to grow 14-16% annually over the medium term and the share of M&E sector revenue is expected to double to 20% by fiscal 2024 compared with last fiscal, he adds.