No matter which party comes to power in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, it is the outdoor advertising industry that stands to emerge winner. Vendors of the Out Of Home (OOH) industry are optimistic that the elections, coupled with other factors, will again provide a much-needed fillip to the industry, which has been growing at a steady pace for the last couple of years.
Compared to previous years, 2013 has been a somewhat better year for the sector. Here are some numbers to get things into perspective: The outdoor industry formed 6.2% of the total advertising spends in 2013, according to the Pitch-Madison Media Advertising Outlook (PMMAO), in fourth place behind TV, Print and Digital. This Year Next Year, a study by Group M, too says that 2013 saw the OOH industry grow by about 6%, a remarkable achievement, considering that the growth in 2012 was about 2%. Despite many brand managers shifting significant budgets to digital and mobile spends, 2014 is expected to be another strong year for the outdoor sector (PMMAO predicts it will grow by 8.2%, while Group M’s studies peg the growth rate at 8.8-9%). So, what are the factors driving this general sense of optimism?
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We have already seen the aggressive push towards advertising adopted by the Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Industry sources estimate that nearly Rs100 crore of the Congress’ ad budget has been lavished on outdoor advertising. It would not be wrong to assume that BJP will spend a similar amount too.
The importance of this one event can hardly be overstressed. The outdoor sector generally starts picking up during the second half of the year, but with the elections in May, political spending on OOH advertising has been a welcome addition to a traditionally slow first half. We saw the same trend during the state assembly elections in 2013, which proved how vital OOH is for political parties.
Since most cities have banned posters, Outdoor remains the only viable option available for propaganda, along with radio as both are cost-effective and ensure reach. “All national parties such as BJP, Congress and NCP are geared for outdoor campaigns. Beside this, the outdoor industry will also get benefit due to its extensive reach in rural areas and Tier II and Tier III cities,” says Sanjeev Gupta, MD, Global Advertisers.
Analysts and industry experts also expect the general business sentiment to improve post the elections, which will further serve to loosen the advertising purse strings.