Ads and festivities: Celebratory time for print industry?

With Q3 of 2023-24 just around the corner, advertisers are waiting to go all out with their festive deals and discounts. Here's what the print media players expect from this festive season

by Team PITCH
Published - September 11, 2023
4 minutes To Read
Ads and festivities: Celebratory time for print industry?

As the season of festivities closes in, every advertiser is optimistic about their ad spends, especially in the print sector, which has bounced back spectacularly after the Covid lull. Print promises to be a lucrative medium for advertisers during this period.

Taking a look back at TAM AdEx numbers, during the festive season of 2022, ads with festive themes of Diwali topped the advertising category list with a 45 per cent share, followed by Navratri/Durga Puja and Independence Day with a 12 per cent share each.

Similar to previous years, there is an anticipated significant increase in large-format advertising this year. Clients are expected to witness substantial outcomes through impactful advertising campaigns.

Subramanian Swaminathan, Senior Vice President- Response, BCCL shared, “Advertising during the festive season accounts for a sizable portion of total advertising spends for the industry. Focus on large format advertising like Innovations, Gatefolds, Jackets, and Full Pages, which deliver impact and give brands visibility and recall.”

Newspapers are the only advertising medium where advertising is not seen as intrusive but as a part of the content, said Satyajit Sengupta, Chief Corporate Sales and Marketing Officer, Dainik Bhaskar. "Readers actually look forward to their newspapers becoming thicker as the festive season approaches."

During the past festive seasons, the retail, durable goods, electronics, and jewellery sectors consistently allocated substantial budgets for advertising throughout the festive month. Additionally, the BFSI sector has remained robust in its festive promotions, capitalising on the optimistic retail sentiment.

The BCCL executive shared, “While conventional festive categories such as e-commerce, clothing, F&B etc. will be on print, focus on other categories like furnishing/home renovation/improvement, media/OTT, local retail is expected to be aggressive.”

On the regional front, Onam was recently celebrated and consumers looked forward to offers and discounts from their favourite brands and at their preferred retail outlets.

Newspapers uniquely offer large format advertising along with the opportunity for consumers to pause and go through the content with ease. Newspaper advertising is hence very effective during the festival sales push by brands and advertisers, according to Varghese Chandy, Vice President of Marketing and Advertising Sales, Corporate Publicity at Malayala Manorama.

The ad space increases by a huge margin during the last quarter of the year, making more space for full-page advertisements. For Malayala Manorama, it goes up by about 70-80 per cent as compared to a normal month.

Swaminathan said, “Last year, we witnessed seven per cent volume growth in the festive period compared with the previous year. Also, festive 2022 saw 39 per cent volume growth compared to Q1.”

But in the world of pages and columns, there exist challenges too. BCCL observed there has been pressure on certain emerging categories that are PE-funded. This could be a challenge and will need to replace some of these erstwhile high-spenders through other verticals.

Another point to focus on is that print is a medium where inventory is limited and hence inventory management becomes a bit of a challenge, Chandy shared. It requires immense planning and management to ensure that advertiser needs are met within the space available and on the days when advertisers expect the best impact for their message.

Jagran Media’s Director Shailesh Gupta noticed that there are more advertisers and less passivation in an industry like print as of now. Nevertheless, advertisers have been realising the importance of print and are looking forward to investing their ad spends on a medium that is again picking up pace.

Readers have continued to display engagement with the medium and the sustained recovery indicates the "enduring popularity of print media in India" and also the advantages it possesses, like the ability to provide original and credible content and sticky reading habits. Festivals often provide people with some extra leisure time, especially during public holidays or extended weekends which can lead to an increase in print readership, highlighted Swaminathan.

Print media enables businesses to connect with a diverse audience, leverage the cultural and emotional significance of festivals, and promote their products and services in a visually appealing and targeted manner.