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India’s media & entertainment industry to be worth Rs 4.3 lakh crore by 2026, says PwC report

PwC report predicts that India will overtake China as the 'biggest world market for print edition readership in 2025'.

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New Delhi: India’s entertainment and media (E&M) industry will be worth Rs 4.3 lakh crore by 2026, according to a report by global consulting firm PwC. This surge is likely to be fuelled by growth in multiple sectors, including OTT platforms, video games, advertising, cinema and newspapers — all of which have registered a growth of at least 6.3 per cent.

The report by PwC, based on E&M spending by consumers and advertisers across 52 territories, predicts that India will become the “biggest world market for print edition readership in 2025” and the fifth-largest TV advertising market globally by 2026.

That the E&M industry in India sailed through major disruptions during the Covid-19 pandemic is another key takeaway from PwC’s 23rd annual analysis and forecast.

The Indian E&M industry, the report says, is progressing at an 8.8 per cent CAGR (compound annual growth rate).

“We shall see a very different profile of media and entertainment-related businesses and revenue models emerging in the digital space once we have the rollout of 5G,” said Rajib Basu, partner and leader, Entertainment & Media, PwC India.

“The Indian media and entertainment outlook for the next few years is quite unique. There is an exciting pace of growth of digital media and advertising led by the deeper penetration of the internet and mobile devices in our market. At the same time, traditional media will hold its steady growth rate over the next few years,” Basu added in a press statement.


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Overcoming setbacks

Despite the newsprint crisis looming over the newspaper sector, the PwC report says, it is likely to grow at 2.7 per cent CAGR, and will be worth Rs 29,945 crore by 2026, from Rs 26,378 crore in 2021.  

If the pace of growth holds, India will surpass both France and the UK to emerge as the fifth-biggest newspaper market in the world. The PwC report also predicts that India will overtake China as the “biggest world market for print edition readership in 2025”.

India is also predicted to be the fifth-largest TV advertising market globally, after the US, Japan, China and the UK.

The report suggests that the pandemic delivered a massive blow to India’s advertising market, causing a 10.8 per cent decline over 2019 [annual growth rate levels]. The first spurt of progress in this segment was seen in 2021 when growth was measured at 16.9 per cent, accompanied by repeated use of the term ‘back-to-normal’.

PwC has predicted that the TV advertising market in India will grow at 6.3 per cent CAGR to attain Rs 43,410 crore in revenue by 2026.

OTT (over-the-top) platforms are yet another sector whose fate was determined by the pandemic and stay-at-home orders by governments. The closure of theatres, coupled with the idea of “binge-watching” allowed this sector not just to flourish, but to double its revenue. 

While the re-opening of public spaces has slowed down the pace of growth, trends assessed in the PwC report suggest that the OTT market will still expand at 14.1 per cent CAGR to attain Rs 21,032 crore in revenues by 2026.

Emerging technology and the metaverse

With metaverse and virtual reality (VR) in the picture, India’s booming gaming community is pegged to make a significant contribution to India’s E&M industry in the near future.

According to the PwC report, the metaverse “in the not-too-distant future could become a stunningly virtually realistic world where individuals access immersive virtual experiences, through VR headsets or other connecting devices”.

The VR headset market demonstrated potential last year. The report says the number of devices in use around the world — or the “global installed base” — are projected to rise to 65.9 million headsets by 2026, from 21.6 million in 2021.

A visible marker of the potential market for VR headsets is India’s thriving video game economy.

Online gaming in the country grew by 28 per cent to reach approximately $1.3 billion in 2021, compared to $906 million in 2019, according to an EY report from March 2022.

The industry — that raked in Rs 16,200 crore in revenue in 2021 — is predicted to more than double its revenue by 2026 to Rs 37,535 crore. 

Growing at an 18.3 per cent CAGR despite being a fairly small market in India, India’s online gaming industry is likely to expand further after the rollout of 5G technology.

(Edited by Amrtansh Arora)


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