The first half of 2019 witnessed a series of general elections in multiple countries in Asia:
- Thailand in March,
- Indonesia in April,
- India in April to May,
- Australia in May
- and the Philippines in May
IHS Markit Advertising service expects political campaigns to significantly boost TV advertising revenues in India and the Philippines; and moderately in Indonesia, Australia and Thailand.
We expect elections across APAC region to boost TV broadcasters’ advertising revenues due to the high demand and increased ad rates. Advertising demand typically increases during polling season because of viewership surges and the ability to target. Similar to sports events, election season tends to attract male adult audience on news channels thus, making it a good slot for targeted ad such as automotive and men’s fashion.
In India, broadcasters increased their ad rates by 20-30% in this year’s election months. The higher TV viewership and ability of targeting had also encouraged ad spending by not only political parties but also other advertisers. Commercial broadcaster ZEE posted a 16% y-o-y growth in advertising revenues to INR 12 billion ($175 million) in the quarter ended 31 March 2019, and we expect the growth to accelerate in the April-June quarter as the election drew near.
In the Philippines, free-to-air TV network ABS-CBN reported a 22% y-o-y growth in advertising revenues in Q1 2019, contributing it to not only political placements but also regular advertising during the election period. Meanwhile, rival GMA Network’s consolidated revenues soared 14% y-o-y in Q1 2019. The two companies forecast improved financials in 2019, attributed it to election-related advertising revenues.
In Indonesia, advertising spending had been shifted online; online share of advertising revenues grew from 7% in 2014 to 10% in 2018, and that of TV dropped from 66% in 2014 to 64% in 2018. We expect political advertisers to have shifted part of the budget from TV to online as broadcasters reported mixed results during this election season. Free-to-air broadcaster Surya Citra Media’s Q1 2019 advertising revenues before sales discount were up 7% y-o-y to IDR 1.47 trillion ($104 million), whereas Visi Media Asia, which runs free-to-air TV networks tvOne and antv, reported a 16% drop in advertising revenues to IDR 521 billion ($37 million) during the same period.
Australian broadcasters had yet to announce the corresponding financials; however, we expect TV advertising revenues to increase slightly this year as electing parties announced higher spend on political advertisement this year. In Australia, there is a 48-hour ban on political advertising in radio and TV prior to polling day, causing TV networks to run election ads on their streaming apps during the blackout to compete with online platforms.
In Thailand, we expect political advertising to cause minimal impact on TV broadcasters as social media becoming the go-to platform for political advertisers and voters. To capture more political advertising spend, online platforms such as Facebook and Twitter had enhanced due diligence on political campaigns. Facebook announced the restriction of foreign political adverts in all above-mentioned election countries during the season. In February 2019, Twitter announced the expansion of its political campaign policy and Ads Transparency Center to all European Union member states, India, and Australia.
IHS Markit Advertising Intelligence tracks advertising revenues of more than 150 countries, including 28 in APAC. With 5-year forecast and 10-year historical archive, the service covers advertising revenues of more than 100 broadcasters and online players including YouTube and Facebook.