By Watchiranont Thongtep
Key corporates and brands are resuming their marketing plans and advertising spending amid the improved political and economic situations one month after the military seized power from the elected government.
“The industry had suffered enough for six months because of domestic political unrest and the economic slowdown. We believe that advertising spending hit bottom in May with an 11.69-per-cent drop, as this month our key clients began discussing their marketing and advertising plans,” Manee Eabe, managing director of Magna Global, a member of global agency IPG Mediabrands, told The Nation.
According to research by Nielsen (Thailand), advertising expenditure last month fell to Bt8.58 billion from Bt9.71 billion in May 2013. The year-on-year decline was the most severe since January.
Manee said her company saw at least a 2-per-cent increase in television advertising expenditure during the month after the military seized power compared with the month previous. This is a key indicator of the overall advertising market as TV accounts for about 60 per cent of total ad spending.
Key sectors including consumer products, banking and financial services, real estate and modern trade are turning their focus on to advertising and corporate communication strategy.
Kematat Paladesh, president of Bangkok Media and Broadcasting, operator of PPTV, a high-definition digital TV channel, said the coup appeared to bring to an end the six-month crisis of political unrest and economic decline.
“The political and economic situation has become clear. Consumers have strong confidence after the National Council for Peace and Order solved many problems, including unlocking public spending for next fiscal year, starting in October,” he said. This would also boost the advertising industry in the fourth quarter, he said.
But that may not be enough for advertising spending to post growth this year. The latest Magna Global research suggests that it will post a 2.2-per-cent decline, rather than the previous estimate of 3.5-per-cent growth.
One reason is the delay by the junta of free vouchers subsidising purchase of digital TV receivers. The NCPO wanted to ensure that this programme was conducted transparently, and suspended the process briefly. It now has given the go-ahead for the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission to hold public hearings in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Khon Kaen and Songkhla by the middle of next month. The voucher distribution is expected to begin in August, almost two months late.
As for the Bt14-billion event industry, Sermkhun Kunawong, chairman of the Event Management Association, acknowledged that the unlocked public spending would not help the event business in the remaining months. But he agreed with Manee and Kematat that business conditions and consumer confidence continued to improve because of political stability.
“After the curfew was lifted, leading entertainment event organisers BEC-Tero Entertainment and A-Time Media intended to resume their concerts and entertainment shows planned for the rest of this year,” he said.
Sermkhun said a series of product launches would take place as well because the key shopping malls in the commercial districts of Bangkok could operate normally again after being interrupted for months by anti-government demonstrations.
However, the event industry also expects to see no growth this year.