In October 2018, Reputation Today did a story trying to access the revenue PR community in India generates. The article by Amith Prabhu was a great insight into where we stand and how the overall pie is bifurcated between Giant, Large, Mid-size and Small PR firms across the country. That was probably the first article I came across putting names & figures so clearly and transparently for everyone to understand the flow of currency in the communication business. Its been a little more than one year to this article and the only thing I remember I felt curious about while going through it was where does Regional PR stand in this revenue ladder. In this column, I am trying to dissect the Regional PR pie, how it’s divided amongst National & Regional PR firms, where it stands today and where do we see it progressing in the next five years.
In Amith’s write-up, about 550 crore business is distributed amongst top 5 firms. Another 250 crore and 200 crore amongst the next 10 large and 20 mid-size firms respectively. Approximately 1000 crore is generated between top 25 firms out of the total Industry of approx 1300-1400 crore annually. But where does Regional PR figure in these figures. Post having discussions with CFOs at top 15 firms in the country on the contribution of Regional PR in their topline, I have drawn a fair analysis which I will try to decode here.
All firms in the business including top 25 firms, willingly or unwillingly have to offer Regional PR services to their clients. Mostly the unwillingness comes from this component only contributing to their topline with no impact whatsoever on the bottomline. Not many national firms have been successful in maintaining their own offices in non-metro regions, comes from them not being independent and hence not being able to understand & take actions in accordance with how Regional markets work. Most National firms bound by global norms, outsource their non-metros work to Regional PR firms and keep only a miniscule management fee in their kitty.
In the top 25 firms, Fuzion is the only Regional PR firm where the entire turnover comes from Regional India. Basis my interactions with agency leaders/CFOs, around 8-12% of the overall revenue comes from Regional PR work for the rest 24 firms. To put it into figures, out of the total 1000 crore business these firms register, around 120 crore constitutes to Regional PR. In the next 25 firms, there are 3 more Regional PR firms and rest again remain concentrated to metros. Even from this pool of around 250 crore, there would be approx 18-20 crore constituting to Regional PR.
While keeping this count, we have not encountered the work local PR agencies do for clients based in their cities(non-metros). A large pool of educational institutes, restaurants, hotels, retail chains, dealerships, mushrooming regional celebrities and what not. To put this entire scope into a figure would be very difficult, but an estimation comes out to be another 15-25 crore annually.
For a domain that barely existed a decade ago, Regional PR has come a long way with an annual currency ladder of INR 150-180 crore annually. Though it is only 12-15% of the overall PR business in the country, but it is rapidly on the rise. With Regional PR budgets increasing by the day to cater to untapped & increasing consumer base in tier 2 & 3 regions of our diverse nation, and budgets taking a hit in the metro regions, it is bound to grow manifolds in the times to come. I keep saying ‘Regional is the new National’ over and over, while doing this analysis the belief has further strengthened. Though we need to work a great deal towards structuring the Regional PR players, improve the quality of practioners operating in the zone and ensuring young talent realises the growth prospects, yet with a domain of communication that is considered little-known-about, challenging and ever-evolving would only prove to be highly rewarding in the next 5 years!