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In-depth: It’s raining GEC channels – are there more takers?

According to experts even though the viewership of new GEC channels is comparatively low, they are able to command 30% low CPRP rates than established channels

In the past few months, a number of new GECs like Shemaroo Umang, Atrangi, The Q and Dangal 2, have been launched. Apart from this, some channels like Star Kiran in the regional GEC space have also been launched. 

The GEC space is already quite competitive with established players like Sony, Zee, and Colors playing in the national, as well as the regional markets and, have been appealing to advertisers too because of the loyal viewership.

According to Vibhu Agarwal, who recently announced the launch of a new Hindi GEC- Atrangi, there is enough space for new GEC players in the market. He said although the channel is yet to be launched, the initial response from advertisers has been positive. 

Vibhu Agarwal

“Most advertisers have been impressed by our promos and offerings; they say our channel is quite different from others in the market. We as makers are focusing on maintaining consistency, as the GEC audience is tougher to capture, especially today when their attention span is decreasing. You need to get a hold of them,” Agarwal said. 

“The USP of our channel is that we are focusing on short-form content. We are focusing on properties that run for 6 months, 1 month, 1 week and one day. This includes formats like crime shows, TV soaps, series etc,” he added. 

Sandeep Gupta

Sandeep Gupta, COO, Broadcasting Business, Shemaroo Entertainment, stated that newer GECs are getting their fair share of traction and a portion of advertising. 

“Despite the growing digital penetration in the country, overall TV consumption remains quite strong. Television is expected to remain the largest revenue segment of the M&E industry in India in the near future. Shemaroo Umang, our recently launched third broadcast channel enjoys a wide reach as it is available on DD Free Dish which is one of the largest DTH platforms reaching 43 million households.” 

Are there takers for these channels? 

Raj Joshi

Even if five more channels are launched, they will survive, but what matters is their distribution game, said Raj Joshi, Vice-President of Marketing at AU Small Finance Bank, and also a senior media strategist. As per him, these channels play a big role in bringing down the inflation of the genre. 

“The inventory is limited, but you still need to reach the masses. So where will you go? You go to these channels. These channels are also the deflators of inflation in space. In the GEC space, channels operate on the CPRP (Cost Per Rating Point) method to a large extent. When advertisers are looking to deflate the CPRP, they use a list of these channels so that the CPRP of the entire genre comes down.”

“However, the catch here is that established channels like Zee, Sony, and Star operate on a certain CPRP, but these new channels who don’t even have half the ratings compared to established ones manage to command a CPRP that is only 30% less than them. Had there been no takers, they would not have been able to command this,” he added. 

How are advertisers looking at these channels? 

Agarwal of Atrangi explained that advertisers usually wait for a short period from a channel’s launch before investing in it.  “No one pays until they see the channel performing, even if it is from established networks.” 

According to a top advertiser in the FMCG space, advertisers look at these channels as ‘deflators’ depending on the content. “It depends on which channel is able to command beyond the 30-GRP-mark. With rehashed content, they can survive at this level. However, the problem starts when they come up with original content and still hover around this range. Then it becomes difficult for them to survive too.” 

“I am still sticking to the core established networks. However, a recent partnership with a channel proved to be a nice deflator in the Hindi space on a CPRP basis. When we track channels, we only look at channels that can give us good GRP (Gross Rating Points) rates, we don’t want to increase frequency. The existing channels like Star Bharat are still struggling with operating GRPs in the range of 50-60. So given an option, I would go to known brands rather than a channel whose performance I am not sure about. Many channels also focus on quality content while launching the channel, but are they able to sustain the viewership beyond?” he explained. 

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