Deepak Choudhary Shares Lowdown of 2017 and Decodes What 2018 Entails for the Indian Events Business

Industry Watch | January 5, 2018 | News

Deepak Choudhary Event Capital

By Deepak Choudhary

2017 will go down in the books of history as the most interesting year for the Indian events industry. We kicked off the year still struggling with the aftermath of demonetization and tussled half-way again trying to wrap our heads around the computations of GST. However, ‘The Show Must Go On!” is what we proudly say in our business and we all went ahead too, creating larger than life experiences for our audiences, one after the other.

2017 Was a Testament that India is Ready

The year 2017 clearly belonged to the LIVE Entertainment space of our business. Not only did the existing properties like Sunburn, Enchanted Valley Carnival, Pinkathon, Bollywood Music Project, India Bike Week, and NH7 elevate the standards of their execution this year, but also the audiences accepted these properties wholeheartedly, resulting in a staggering increase in their ticketing revenues.

Many new IPs too entered the market this year and left an indelible impact. While TimeOut 72 was the biggest of the lot both in the terms of its size and the tremendous response from its audiences, the extortionate investment at which this was achieved may have made the organisers sweat.

Boutique properties like The Sufi Route, Spoken Fest, Mahindra Open Sky, India Nightlife Convention & Awards (INCA), Magnetic Feilds Festival, Windmill Festival and Taalbelia were the flavor of the season and their success laid the foundation of more of such properties to bloom in 2018. These events proved that there exists an audience for such events in India today and they are willing to pay for more diversified experiences.

Shockingly, sponsor money for large-scale properties still remains a towering challenge for the IP custodians as even established properties failed in scoring corporate sponsorship this year. Brands like Budweiser, Blenders Pride continued investing in their own properties this year rather than supporting the already existing ones.

Standalone concerts were the biggest draw of 2017 as events like Dream Theater and World’s Biggest Guestlist did exceedingly well. Also, the euphoria of Justin Bieber Purpose Tour and Ed Sheeran Divide Tour in Mumbai was unprecedented. And, while the organisers of these concerts (White Fox India for Justin Bieber and AEG Presents and PR Worldwide for Ed Sheeran) may or may not have made money, the sheer fact that they raised the barometer for International level concerts in India deserves to be applauded. The audience too gave a thunderous response to these concerts as the ticketing revenue garnered by both was humongous.

The multi-city concerts of Arijit Singh and AR Rahman in the last leg of 2017 and their bewildering success is a proof that India as an events market is ready and so are our audiences. We can only go upwards now and build on this momentum to establish India as one of the biggest event markets in the world.

Another massive highlight of the year was Touchwood Group, (a leading event management company specialising in luxury weddings), being enlisted in the National Stock Exchange. The development marks a very exciting chapter for the industry as it has opened the doors to corporate financing for us. I foresee more agencies following suit in 2018.

Also, contrary to the popular opinion, the events and activations industry grew significantly this year and is expected become an INR 10,000 crore* business by 2020-21. While it is true that the wedding business of the country did suffer, the corporate/brand market space grew exponentially and made up for it.

What 2018 Means for the Business

While 2017 was a mixed bag for the Indian events business marked by success in concepts and low on financial profitability, 2018 appears more than promising, replete with tremendous opportunities for all the players in the market.

Interestingly, Government is going to be the biggest client for the industry this year as their investment in the events business grew by almost 100% in 2017. Additionally, with Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh , and Rajasthan going for state elections in 2018 and the impending 2019 main elections just around the corner, this is where the biggest pool of money is going to be for event planners.

The role of Event and Entertainment Management Association (EEMA) is going to be vital in 2018. The unity that the Indian events industry has shown in 2017 has been remarkable and it is because of the industry’s collective stand that today we are looked upon as an important stakeholder and contributor to the Indian economy.

The brand investment in BTL activation space and sponsorship space is expected to be slightly low this year as most corporates will wait for newer economic policies to kick-in post the 2019 election results. As a result, the market may not too welcoming of the new IP’s and the birth of more boutique IP’s instead appears to be a better bet. However, if the audience support to the event IP business in 2017 was any indication, 2018 will see a generous increase in the ticketing revenues of most event properties.

The performance of large-scale IP’s in the first quarter of 2018- Bollywood Music Project (27-28 Jan in Delhi) and Vh1 Supersonic (9-10-11 Feb in Pune) will set the tone for the year ahead. The audience is clearly ready to spend if the quality of experience served to them is enriching and engaging.  All in all, 2018 is best to be seen as a year of consolidation, rather than the year for growth but it is the audiences and clients who will have the final say at the end of the day.

*- As per an EY-EEMA (Event and Entertainment Management Association) report.

Deepak Choudhary is Founder & Director, Event Capital, a company that specialises in creating and empowering event IPs. All views expressed here are personal and do not reflect the views of the organisation.


We kicked off the year still struggling with the aftermath of demonetization and tussled half-way again trying to wrap our heads around the computations of GST.

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