Someone from the internet fraternity defines prime-time as “the time at which a radio or television audience is expected to be at its highest”. While the Indian prime-time shows ideally include adrenaline pumped debating sessions and highly dramatic “reality-shows”, companies bet on putting the big money to showcase its products to the viewers on such time slots.
Remember the days in the early 2000’s when Indian television was all about the regular “saas bahu” serials, the advertising world highlighted the best of consumer products like biscuits, washing powders, motorcycles, bathing soaps, life insurances and body sprays from the renowned companies like P&G, ITC, Nestle and Unilever. But over the years as content on this mass media changed drastically, the advertising space did change as well. Now, it’s no more of the computer designed super-natural ads, but is about sensible real life human crafted commercials. This has happened largely due to the success of the new age ideas like that of the Indian startups.
If you are in India and have turned on the TV, it’s hard to miss the relentless pounding of ads by the growing number of innovative tech firms. For a country still striving to increase its internet penetration, television continues to remain as one among the most effective digital media. Every second ad seems to be about an e-commerce website or a mobile app. A section of the crowd in the venture capital industry joke that the real winners of the digital boom are the advertising agencies and the television channels. A rough estimate done by a 3rd party agency confirms that as many as 66 mobile and online companies were advertising on mainstream TV channels during mid last year, a significant pie being from the startup community. As of 2015, Indian startups like Flipkart, Snapdeal, PayTm and ShopClues spent between INR 150-500 Crores in ads with TV accounting almost 50% of the overall.
So, let’s check out the Indian consumer tech startups advertising on National Television:
Impacting the "desi" way
People staying in advanced countries like US may label this as old fashioned but spending millions of dollars on television ads makes sense in India. A country where “reach” is the answer to most marketing queries, startups looking to grab early advantage and consumer attention are ready to shell out on traditional marketing methods. Specially, in a case where most Indian households enjoy television shows as a part of their shared social experience. This is a society which is driven by traditional values and concepts like e-commerce, taxi apps, mobile wallets and utility apps are still new.
So, what about the numbers?
India’s new economy, led from the front by eCommerce companies, startups and internet enabled services, is driving the domestic advertising industry. TAM Adex data reveals that for the first time in 5 years, 2000+ new companies joined India’s advertiser base just in the first 9 months of 2015. Another 500 advertisers could have joined during the last quarter of the year. Estimates suggest, the advertiser base must be around 12,748 by the end of 2015 against 10,065 in 2014. This in a nutshell is a rise by 26.65% in 2015. In this context, it is noteworthy to mention that a significant share of the aforementioned data is contributed by the startup community.
With due respect to the larger players, the contribution by Indian tech startups in the domestic advertising world looks significant. Market Research studies backed up by various independent bodies agrees to the fact that this share of the pie is expected to increase further with the Government’s “Startup India” campaign. This would soar further prime time costs making startups to increase their marketing and promotional budget.