The festive season has brought in cheer for the television industry as broadcasters in almost every genre have posted a healthy 20 per cent growth on an average in advertising sales as compared to last year.
Out of the top four broadcasters in the GEC category, Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited (ZEEL), Sony Pictures Networks India (SPN), Viacom18 and Star India, Sony is estimated to have gained the most this year. It got an added advantage with its big ticket show Kaun Banega Crorepati that returned after a gap of four years.
Rohit Gupta, President, Revenues, SPN, said, âIt has been a phenomenal year for us, more so, these last three festive months. We have witnessed a huge growth in these months, vis-a-vis last year. This is probably the best growth in the last few years â mainly because all our channels are doing extremely well and all our key properties are 100 per cent sold out, be it KBC or Super Dancer.â
While Gupta refused to divulge any numbers on the growth, industry estimates quote the network to have grown by about 25-28 per cent till Diwali.
Zee has earned somewhere in the range of 15 per cent more revenues, than last year.
Colors and Star Plus seem to have clocked revenues that are 20 per cent above the previous festive months.
In totality, the four networks are estimated to have clocked revenues in the range of Rs 1500-1700 crore between Navratri and Diwali.
The first leg of the festive season comprising the duration between Navratri and Diwali is over and the industry is positive about a much better December-January, as compared to last year. In 2016, despite a good Diwali season, advertising sales went dull after mid-November due to demonetisation.
âThe sentiment has been revived, and there are no doubts about it. As of now, the festive season has been slightly better than last year. Hopefully December and January should be better than last year, also considering that last December was dampened by demonetisation," Ashish Sehgal, COO, Zee Unimedia said.
Further, citing reasons for good growth figures, Sehgal pointed out, âAll the major broadcasters would have witnessed a healthy growth. There were major events and key properties on a lot of channels, India-Australia series, Pro Kabaddi League, India-New Zealand too has just started, along with KBC, Bigg Boss, Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Little Champs, Zee Rishtey Awards and others. This festive time also had a lot of movie premieres including the likes of Toilet: Ek Prem Katha, Bahubali, Hindi Medium, Half Girlfriend among others.â
Gupta feels that broadcasters are likely to post positive numbers post Diwali too, especially during the month of December. He added, âDecember is a little far away, but it is looking positive though we will have to wait and watch. With GST gone by, the worst fears are left behind.â
English GECs and movie channels have also posted almost the same growth in the range of 20-25%, according to a senior media planner who chose not to be quoted.
For news broadcasters too, the season brought in festivities as the channels â both in Hindi and English categories â posted a strong growth between Navratri and Diwali. The news genre has witnessed about 15 per cent increase in festive season business, compared to last year.
"September-October has been very good for us. Our growth is better than that of the news broadcasting industry," Varun Kohli, CEO, iTV Network, said.
Talking about the growth expectations from post Diwali months, he said, "Last year also, the post Diwali months weren't bad for us as demonetisation didn't hit the news genre much anyway. News was not impacted directly mainly for two reasons â low cost entry for advertisers and the continuous political activity. We can talk about the growth for upcoming months and compare it with last year only after Friday, once there is clarity on November deals."