Year Gone By; Year Coming: Deepak Choudhary, Founder, Event Capital

Choudhary writes about the notable hits of 2018 and what is in store for the industry in 2019.


With some of India’s largest event IPs growing bigger, recognition for Indian work on a global scale and newer IPs entering the market, the event management industry stabilised in 2018 following the effects of demonetisation and the GST rollout. Many other trends, strategies and experiences helped shape 2018—and will inspire planning in the year ahead.

Notable hits of 2018

The year ended on a high with Sunburn – easily one of India’s biggest event IPs and definitely the most popular in music space – moving to a new and larger location despite nosignificant increase in sponsorship revenue. This shows exemplary commitment at an organisational level to sustain and build the IP against all odds.

Ticketing giant BookMyShow  emerged as the new powerhouse for event IPs with the successful Cirque du Soleil, Aladdin and AR Rahman tours. With its core ticketing business intact, BookMyShow has smartly diversified into ownership of properties in diverse genres. Long-term, whether the events were break-even or not as profitable, the ticketing data is invaluable for the core business.

Another major player entering the eventsspace in a big way was Radio Mirchi with the Bryan Adams tours and the Green Marathon for SBI. Their ability to use The Times of India’s media might for promotions is significant, and it will be interesting to see how they capitalise on it in the coming years.

The Mumbai Marathon continued its dominance; and the transition to a new title sponsor couldn’t be smoother as Tata took over the title rights from Standard Chartered which was the title sponsor since inception. India’s largest women’s marathon, Pinkathon, also continued its journey to inspire women for a healthier lifestyle.

Meanwhile, the ever popular NH7 Weekender proved to be a profitable outing for OML. It was also heartening to see properties like Timeout and Paddy Fields not wilt under revenue pressure and reinvent themselves to attract newer audiences. 

A huge shoutout to event companies thatexecuted some of the biggest weddings of 2018: Deepika-Ranveer, Priyanka-Nick and Ambani-Piramal, which were bigger than many of the event IPs combined.

In the global recognition space, Laqshya Live Experiences was declared as agency of the year 2018 at the BEA Festival Best Event Awards held in Portugal this year.

Industry body EEMA has a set of new faces and I am sure they will continue to fly the flag high through new growth chapters and ideas.

What’s in store for 2019?

The Ardh Kumbh Mela in Allahabad fromJanuary 15to March 4 will be the biggest mass event IP, spread over two months and attracting more than 3 million visitors. Even though it is not owned by any organisation, the government and several corporationsspend significant sums to ensure that the attendees are well taken care of.  

Some of the notable events to watch out for will be the Tata Mumbai Marathon on January 20;the second edition of the Spoken Fest in Mumbai on February 12 and 13, which promises to be bigger than last year; and the ever popular Jaipur Literature Festival from January 24 to 28. In February the entertainment line-up of events looks exciting with, Zee’s Arth in Delhi, the Mahindra Blues Festivalin Mumbaion February 9 and 10, and Sula Fest in Nashikon February 2 and 3; even as Supersonicin Pune (February 16-17) and A.R Rahman’s SufiRoute (February 9) will take centrestage.

One of the most significant things to look forward to in the coming year is the arrival of the NBA, again through BookMyShow, in October.

The Indian Premier League is one of our biggest IPS and, with the general elections scheduled this year, there were uncertainties that it would be shifted from the country. However, those fears have been put to rest, much to fans’ and marketers’ delight but it will be interesting to see the marketers shuffle their spend strategies for next fiscal year as IPL is most likely to be conducted in non-peak season from brand’s perspective.

An event that no event marketer should miss is the International Advertising Association’s World Congress in Cochin (February 20-22), where some of the world’s top marketing experts will be in attendance. Speaking of conferences, FICCI Frames will be held from March 12 to 14 in Mumbai, followed by GoafestfromApril 5 to 7, and the WOW Awards and Convention India in June. This year, scheduled for March 28 at the Palazzo Versace Dubai, the WOW Awards Middle East will bring together the region’s experiential industry in a celebration like never before.

Here’s looking forward to a great year, and creating more wonderful events and experiences.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house

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