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No good news for electronic media this year, says report - Sathish - 04-17-2009

TV ads will grow only 6.5% in 2009, as against 15.6% in 2008.

The 2009-10 fiscal will be tough for television advertisers, broadcasters and direct-to-home (DTH) operators due to slowing advertising growth and lower revenue realisation, according to the latest findings of Media Partners Asia (MPA).

MPA is an independent international media research agency headquartered in Hong Kong. It issues country-wise forecasts on media and entertainment sectors for the Asia-Pacific region.

The latest MPA analysis on India says TV advertising will grow only 6.5 per cent in 2009, as against 15.6 per cent in 2008. However, MPA expects TV advertising to rebound to 8.7 per cent growth in 2010.

Of the Rs 20,000 crore-plus advertising industry, television advertising alone accounts for 45-47 per cent.

Overall, MPA predicts that the advertising industry itself will face substantial slowdown compared with recent years, as the growth may drop to 5.4 per cent in 2009, after a 20 per cent-plus growth in 2006 and 2007.

“The advertising growth decelerated to 14.3 per cent in 2008 and will drop to 5.4 per cent in 2009, before a partial recovery to 9 per cent growth in 2010,” said the report.

Commenting on the fast-growing DTH market, that added 7.2 million subscribers in 2008, MPA says the growth in subscriber numbers is drastically affected by low average revenue per user (ARPU) figures for the five DTH operators. “Going forward, we believe the biggest barrier to DTH success will be ARPU growth. The majority of DTH subscribers have not come in major metropolitan areas, where cable incumbency is high...instead, growth has largely come from areas in UP, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Punjab, where ARPUs remain low,” said Vivek Couto, executive director of MPA.

Churn also remains high, with many reverting to analog cable once operators push for renewal or a price increase, Couto adds. For the Indian market, MPA has quantified the average monthly DTH Arpu at Rs 150.

MPA says the revenue growth for cable and satellite broadcasters will moderate from 20 per cent in 2008 to 16 per cent in 2009, with total sales reaching more than $2.7 billion, or about Rs 13,500 crore, two-thirds from advertising and a third from subscriptions. “With the notable exception of Sun TV, the dominant broadcaster in South India, most major broadcasters are likely to see earnings dip during 2009,” said the MPA forecast.