How the Pandemic Impacted the Advertising Market of Kazakhstan
Advertisers are seriously encouraged to transfer to digital
The coronavirus pandemic shook up the advertising market of Kazakhstan: in the early days of the lockdown, advertisers were panicking, outdoor advertising suffered serious losses, and many players in the market decided to cut their budgets. According to the forecast of the Minister of Information and Social Development, Aida Balayeva, in 2020 Kazakh media will lose between 30 and 60% of their income from advertising.

The aftermath of the pandemic was not entirely negative: digital advertising that was easier to adapt to the new working conditions received a golden opportunity for development. CEO of the high-end Internet advertising network VI Kazakhstan Ilmurad Jumaev thinks that the advertising market of Kazakhstan will continue to grow despite the coronavirus crisis. Before the pandemic, the company predicted that the advertising market would grow 7—10% by the end of the year.

In the latter half of July, industry conference AdTribune was held in Kazakhstan. The organizer, Advertising Association of Central Asia, aimed to discuss how the reality of 2020 — world economic downfall and the coronavirus crisis — will reflect on the advertising and media markets of Kazakhstan and Central Asia.

The largest advertisers, publishers, and other players of the Kazakh advertising market participated in the conference. Adsider gave insights about the consequences of the pandemic for separate players and the market in general, and also about the development perspectives for 2020—2021. Experts from VI Kazakhstan, Publicis Groupe Kazakhstan, and TVMedia Advertising Agency took part in the discussion.
How the Advertising Market Changed During the Pandemic
Experts are warning that it is too early to describe the aftermath of the pandemic in figures: lockdown restrictions remain in place, and the market is very sensitive to even the slightest change in them.

Olga Kurdanova
Publicis Groupe Kazakhstan
First of all, we should expect a change in behavior. Under the strict lockdown in the region, especially in Kazakhstan, TV viewing increased by about 20%, but it had almost no impact on advertising budgets.

If we compare it to the global story, we see that during the early stages of lockdown in some European countries, TV advertising budgets increased considerably. But, this wasn't the case for Kazakhstan.

We are also observing an increase of digital consumption. Advertisers can't quickly adapt TV advertising, as they already have one-years plans and even ready videos, but it is easier in digital. That's why a number of advertisers started to actively increase their presence in digital, change their messages, and move towards social advertising, while trying to support the population during the pandemic.
Advertisers can't quickly adapt TV advertising, but it is easier in digital
What risks did the players in the advertising market face and what measures were taken?

The lockdown caught both advertisers and publishers off guard. Experts admit that advertisers at first reacted with panic, and sales houses did everything they could to manage the situation and prevent the collapse.

Outdoor advertising suffered the most, especially during the strict lockdown measures. According to the experts, at that period most of the advertisers had already placed their advertising on boards, but there were simply no people in the streets. That's why advertisers were now expecting discounts.
We will see the rise of advertising campaigns that combine TV and digital

Oleg Borodulin
TVMedia Advertising Agency
We had some awareness-raising work done with each of the advertisers. I really hope that by autumn the demand for advertising services in each of the segments will gradually be restored.

In addition, small and medium advertisers were pushed towards digital. I think that in the nearest future we will see the rise of advertising campaigns that combine TV and digital.

Olga Kurdanova
Publicis Groupe Kazakhstan
We faced the fact that most clients started to cut their budgets. The main risks for us are related to not being able to fulfil our contracts, and TV channels not being able to receive money for their budgets that they later use to produce local content, so we will have less local content as a result.

Now this is all like a huge snowball, and we really hope that the situation will change in the nearest future.
The advertisers had already placed their advertising on boards, but there were simply no people in the streets

Svetlana Varshavskaya
VI Kazakhstan
There were special conditions for sales houses, including postponing budgets for later periods without penalties. Creators of content are now making all possible efforts for its enforcement and actualization.
Expectation of the market actors for 2020—2021
Experts are cautiously optimistic when evaluating the perspectives of the market for next year. Svetlana Varshavskaya of VI Kazakhstan says that Kazakhstan is going through a difficult but important period for industry development.

Oleg Borodulin
TVMedia Advertising Agency
The advertising market is part of the country's economy. According to the rating agencies, Kazakhstan's GDP will have a negative trend in 2020, the estimations today vary between –0.5 and –0.8 percent. The same will be true for the advertising market. However, all experts say that the economy will start to grow in 2021, and the advertising market will follow.
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