Television advertising resilient in May, volumes rise 64% YoY: BARC data

Ad volumes for May were nearly on a par with volume figures registered in the same period in 2018 and 2019
Advertising on television continued to show momentum in May despite the surge in Covid-19 infections and the temporary suspension of the Indian Premier League (IPL), a high-impact television property.

The data shared by the Broadcast Audience Research Council of India (BARC) on Thursday shows that advertising volumes in May were up 64 per cent year-on-year. However, there was a marginal dip sequentially, that is, in comparison to April 2021, when advertising had touched a record high owing to the start of the summer season and the return of the IPL to India after being held in the United Arab Emirates in 2020. It was called off in May.

Yet, ad volumes for May were nearly on a par with volume figures registered in the same period in 2018 and 2019, respectively, pointing to their resilience, said Aaditya Pathak, head, client partnership and revenue function, BARC India.

The trend, say experts, is unlike what was visible last year when advertising activity fell sharply in April-May as the country went into a nationwide lockdown. This year, there were localised lockdowns across the country, which experts say had led to advertisers continuing to invest in brand-building and promotions.


Essential services continued to operate, pushing many to keep advertising activity going. For instance, fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) companies were the main advertisers in May, contributing to 72 per cent of total ad volumes during the month. In 2020, FMCG’s share in total for May was 57 per cent.

High spenders such as e-commerce and services, on the other hand, trimmed their advertising, with contribution to total ad volumes for the month at 10 per cent and 1 per cent, respectively. In 2020, e-commerce’s share was 13 per cent and the contribution of services was 2 per cent.

Auto companies also advertised despite dealerships staying shut during the month. Their share in total ad volumes was 1 per cent. Last year, auto firms had no contribution in May ad volumes due to the national lockdown.


Cumulatively, TV advertising in April and May 2021 was up 85 per cent over last year, with new advertisers continuing to enter the market. Of the 2,142 total TV advertisers in May, said BARC, nearly 63 per cent were new advertisers, pointing to the need to be visible on television.

The top ten advertisers, too, were active in May, with their share in total advertising for the month touching 54 per cent. This is higher than the share of the top ten advertisers visible in previous years, BARC said. For instance, the share of top ten advertisers was 32 per cent in 2018, 33 per cent in 2019 and 43 per cent in 2020.

Predictably, Hindustan Unilever, Reckitt Benckiser, Procter & Gamble, PepsiCo, ITC, Colgate-Palmolive and Mondelez India, the maker of Cadbury chocolates, were among the top ten advertisers in May this year. While Wipro, GlaxoSmithKline and Amazon were some of the other companies that made it to the top ten list for the month.



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