Given the current economic scenario, growth in advertising spends this year will continue to be modest. Advertising budgets are projected to grow by 11.6 per cent as opposed to 10 per cent (from Rs 38,598 crore to Rs 43,065 crore) last year, according to the 'This Year, Next Year 2014' report released by the WPP group's media planning and media buying arm, Group M.
This year's growth may ostensibly appear higher than last year's but actual growth, according to C.V.L. Srinivas, CEO, South Asia, Group M, will be lower, at nine per cent. How come? "Almost 2.5 per cent of the growth will be due to ad spends by various political parties in the forthcoming election campaign," Srinivas added.
The biggest beneficiary of advertising spends this year will be digital advertising which is expected to grow by 35 per cent over last year at Rs 3,042 crore. TV advertising which grew by 13.8 per cent last year is expected to grow by 12.8 per cent this year, while print is expected to witness eight per cent growth vis-à-vis four per cent in 2013.
Group M also launched M Trends, which listed the likely trends that would dominate the media in 2014. One such is 'adversioning', which will enable brands to engage in micro-targeting and micro-messaging. Thus, a brand which caters to say, just the states of Gujarat and Maharashtra, can advertise on a nationally broadcast TV channel and yet micro-target only the markets of Gujarat and Maharashtra, while the rest of India would watch another commercial.
M Tends also predicts further growth of the vernacular media not only in TV and print but also in digital.
The current controversy over TV ratings - TAM ratings may not be available thanks to a cabinet decision - could well lead to a period of ratings darkness this year. This will definitely create confusion in the industry as TV viewership rating is the only metric on the basis of which advertisers decide their TV spends. However M Trends says there could be light at the end of the tunnel, as new low cost technologies could emerge that offer alternative measurement metrics.