How traditional advertising mediums will change post-COVID-19

Parag Masteh, CEO and Founder, Mplan Media
Parag Masteh, CEO and Founder, Mplan Media

Parag Masteh, CEO and Founder, Mplan Media, takes a look at how each of the traditional advertising avenues – Print, TV, Radio, Outdoor, Cinema – has been impacted and the trends that will emerge over the next few months.

Like many other industries, the advertising industry has also seen significant changes due to COVID-19. With lockdowns, fewer people stepping out and lesser access to traditional media, brands and advertisers have had to rethink their strategies. Traditional advertising platforms like print ads, outdoor advertising, cinema hall advertising have had an extremely difficult quarter due to the pandemic. However, like every other industry, even traditional advertising avenues are trying to reinvent themselves in order to stay relevant. One of the key changes is the growing acceptance of technology in traditional media. They have embraced technology more than ever before. Prior to COVID-19, the digital advertising medium was one of the industries which could take away a fair share of traditional media’s advertising pie. However, over the last couple of months, traditional media is slowly reinventing itself by strengthening their digital presence.

One of the key requirements that most brands and brand managers will expect from traditional media is the data-backed insights on their advertisements. They will demand more data points in order to make their next media planning on traditional media. The medium which gives more data points and embraces technology could gain more of the media investments. For example, a slow shift of LED hoardings vis-à-vis traditional hoarding has enabled brands to deliver rich media content as well as track and deliver content by time and by area.

Here’s a look at how each of these traditional advertising avenues has been impacted and the trends that will emerge over the next few months.

Print Media: Print advertising is already in the negative trajectory as digital media has taken away “double-digit” revenues of the industry and it seems like newspapers are folding up. COVID-19 has added to its existing worries. With dwindling readership, revenues of the print industry have been and will continue to be severely hit. We can expect a larger consolidation of newspapers. Big industries will continue to spend on print, but start-ups will be more apprehensive than ever on their ROI. A drastic change is required to turn around the difficulties faced by print media. A report by KPMG indicates that digital presence for print media is now more critical than ever. It further suggests that the segment needs to leverage positive consumer sentiment and build strong digital products to capture the opportunity.

Cinema: Among other traditional media, cinema advertising has been drastically hit due to the lockdown and current regulations on opening up movie theatres. A couple of quarters from now look very bleak for the industry and a few single-screen theatres might even run out of business. Multiplexes are already facing stiff competition from OTT platforms. They would have to reinvent themselves and focus on revenue generation models that are beyond their current business model. The impact of the pandemic might be as major as 25-30 per cent of annual revenue loss, considering the entire lockdown period. When everything reboots into normalcy, there will be a change in watching patterns of the audience, but the industry needs to recover big time. Going by the estimates, key industry players will have to focus on using more technology to entice cinema-goers and offer a richer movie experience that cannot be matched or replicated on OTT. A combination of futuristic technology in cinema viewing and innovative advertising avenues will help the cinema industry bounce back.

TV: With major sporting events like IPL, Tokyo Olympics, T20 World Cup cancelled, ad spends on TV have declined. While TV is going strong in terms of audience growth, going forward it will be more restricted towards the ageing population. The younger audience is slowly switching their loyalties between OTT platforms and television.

Radio: Despite new content and an increase in listenership from 3 million to 50 million, radio advertising is still facing a difficult time. Government spending on radio ads has decreased, due to which there has been a 30 per cent decrease in advertising spends. With brands facing supply chain challenges and events being cancelled, they don’t see the need for radio advertising. Due to COVID-19 impact, radio stations are now offering deep discounts and are slowly crawling back. One can expect slow or flat growth for the next couple of quarters.

Outdoor: Outdoor advertising will see a rise in demand once everything gets back to normalcy. Brands will heavily spend on outdoor marketing to reach out to all the commuters who are back on track. However, premium marketing spaces like airports and airlines might see a massive drop, as low as 50 per cent in advertising, due to ceased travel plans this year. Outdoor advertising has evolved and survived over the years due to constant innovation and use of technology.

Overall, an estimated 25 per cent of the total advertising revenue has declined from a cumulation of all mediums combined. The credibility factor for traditional mediums will eventually truncate with the increasing advent of online media due to easy access to information from multiple sources. Marketers will have to do what they have always done best: ADAPT. Stay on top of the latest trends, collect data for insights, understand consumer behaviour and choose the most effective advertising channel.


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