By 2022 end, digital spends would reach Rs 29,000 cr, just pipping TV: Rajiv Gopinath

Shrugging off the disruptions of the year gone by, businesses and agencies are looking for a strong revival in 2021. Over the next few weeks, Adgully – as part of our annual TRENDING NOW endeavour – will be presenting the strategies and views of a cross-section of industry leaders as they go about reclaiming lost time and market opportunities and build for a stronger future, armed with the lessons of 2020. 

Rajiv Gopinath, Chief Client Officer, Starcom, expects Digital to gather further momentum in the times ahead and sees it overtaking TV by 2022 end. He also shares the five drivers for the adoption of digital media going forward. 

Do you estimate digital advertising spends to outpace TV ad spends by next year?

In 2020, Digital spends may have just crossed TV, as TV spends were a washout in Q2 (April-June) and in couple of months of Q3. The 2020 estimates are TV at Rs 18,000 crore and Digital at Rs 19,000 crore. 

In 2021, TV is expected to grow by 6 per cent over the 2019 base, reaching Rs 26,000-26,500 crore. Digital will grow at 20%, reaching about Rs 24,000 crore. So, in 2021, TV will regain the top spends status.


By 2022 end, TV is estimated to grow at 6 per cent, closing at Rs 28,000 crore, while Digital will continue at 20 per cent to Rs 29,000 crore, just pipping TV. 

The increasing reach of Digital would make it attractive to a lot of fence sitters. Video, e-commerce and search spends would be the drivers.  

What are the business priorities in 2021 leading to adoption of digital media?

  • The following five are the drivers for the adoption of digital media – Transformation
  • ROI
  • Reach
  • Engagement
  • Advocacy

Digital transformation agenda, which is accelerating in a post-COVID-19 world, encompasses both internal process of working and collaboration as well as realigning business/ operating models and delivering products/ services more effectively and efficiently. When we funnel this thought into the communications/ media space, it is a much higher focus on Digital experiences across the consumer journey, activating existing/ new avenues of first party data and higher utilisation of Martech capabilities. 

Focus on ROI – This is quite evident. Performance-based campaigns will have an even higher focus, with short termism permeating to even brand campaigns. 

Reach and Penetration – With growing reach of Digital across Pop strata and with Digital penetration rivaling TV in certain segments, adoption will hit a tipping point. 

Engagement – Integrated campaigns, mid-funnel brand issues where Digital solutions play a larger role, and the need to personalise communication will drive adoption. 

Advocacy – In a way connected to point 1, but worth calling out as reviews, social mentions, testimonials play an increasingly important role in the consumer journey. 

The year 2020 led to a momentous shift in the way we function as a society. What is the learning for traditional media business to adapt for future uncertainties?

Learnings could be bucketed in three areas – Content, Research and Reinvention. 

In content, contingency plans are an obvious solution for a black swan event and would be in place – be it having a bank of episodes or production in a bubble. 

In research, print could have benefitted from third party research released in H2 2020. I guess the learning is to ensure researches don’t get affected, as a lot of us were not getting any reliable third party research data. And would add two more layers for TV and Print, which are co-funded brand researches to prove efficacy of spends, duplication of audiences across platforms, relevant evangelising with research, which is what the digital companies have been doing. 

In reinvent, I would assume the product teams are working on future proofing their platforms. I would add two layers – How can they proactively reinvent trading deals and how could the offering be made more relevant to the consumer, for example – could newspapers have gone free to the consumer for 30 days?


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