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There will be a higher demand for impact properties this festive season: Mona Jain of ABP Network

In an exclusive interaction with Mona Jain, CRO, ABP Network discusses how the company is approaching this festive season and their expectations

Mona Jain

A lot of brands across categories will be looking for high-impact properties and consumer-engaging content-led associations this festive season, as per Mona Jain, Chief Revenue Officer, ABP Network. 

Jain said that there is already a great response to the Networks’ tentpole properties which had been planned around Durga Puja and Navratri. 

“A lot of brands across categories – like durables, FMCGs, and automobiles, do plan their activity around the festival, and it will be no different this year – in fact looking at the buzz right now I believe there will be a higher demand for impact properties and consumer engaging content-led associations. We already have a great response to the networks’ tentpole properties which are around Durga Puja and Navratri,” Jain said.

However, she also said that earlier the festive season would extend to around 8 to 9 weeks but this year all the festivities are packed in a short time period of somewhere around four weeks.

The Network’s focus is on growing the list of advertisers to make the genre more relevant through more aggressive pitching, which she said is a very difficult task to manage.

Jain said that during and after Covid-19, the Gross Rating Points (GRP) of news channels spiked, the reason behind this, as per her, is that they were the only ones who were showing real content as compared to the other GEC channels that were showing repeat shows. “People wanted to know what was happening during COVID-19. Hence, the numbers spiked up suddenly during that period,” Jain said.

Jain also expressed that despite the falling market, the dollar getting stronger by the day and the talks of recession all around, the market is getting affected but ABP is still doing better than others since they have a bigger audience market share and they are economically very well positioned. She, however, stated that the ad rates are likely to remain the same as last year.

Everyone is now putting more emphasis on digital because it makes it easier to connect with new-age advertisers. ABP also organises a lot of offline and on-ground events where brands get the chance to have face-to-face interactions with customers.

Speaking on the new endeavours that ABP is coming up with, Jain said, “We have created a fantastic IP this year called ‘Ideas of India’ summit which aims to bring together the brightest brains from diverse sectors to discuss India's 75-year journey, its present status, and the way ahead.”

The summit hosts leaders, visionary businessmen, cultural icons, and civil society pioneers, who discussed wide-ranging ideas over 25 sessions, spanning more than 20 hours. 

“Seeing the success of the ‘Ideas of India’ summit, this year ABP is again planning to conduct an event on the future of India, ‘The new India’ which is going to take place in the coming year,” Jain informed. 

Upon being asked about the new complexities that broadcasters have to navigate after Covid-19, Jain said that this festive season they are more or less seeing the same market conditions as in the earlier years.

Talking about the phase, Jain said, “We had tremendous growth last year across all media platforms. This year we began with a raw optimism thinking things have settled down after Covid and it went so well after Covid, hence this year also we expected the same kind of sunshine but it hasn’t turned out to be like that, the expectation that we had and how it is turning out to be is quite mismatched.”

To fill the void, the network is looking at new ways to attract advertisers. They are working on more content around Diwali, and Pujo, creating new IPs and events to get new advertisers on board and giving brand solutions ideas to advertisers to come and spend.

Seeing the spike in viewership during Covid-19, FMCG brand categories had started coming over to news channels, as opposed to earlier when they were only limited to movies and GECs. 

According to Jain, suddenly there is also an inflow of a lot of brands coming in from the upcountry markets. The medium size businesses are growing, and they are coming in more as news as a genre becomes the first preference. 

“Patanjali has been the best-case study for this that everybody replicates. Though the channel is also getting a lot of small advertisers as the medium-scale businesses are growing more,” Jain said. 

With innovations coming up, digital has become the prime focus of the platforms. Along with this, digital is also undergoing a lot of change right now as e-commerce brands increase their presence on platforms where they can reach a larger audience base as digital offers brand a very solution-based type of engagement.

ABP has recently launched two digital channels in Telugu and Tamil, which are doing extremely well for them, as per Jain. 

According to Jain, they are performing extremely well when it comes to regional channels. “Like ABP Ananda sometimes even does better than GECs as well. ABP’s point of view matters to their audience, that’s the feedback that we generally get,” Jain said.

Meanwhile, this year, the T20 World Cup and Diwali are overlapping, which the broadcasters are attempting to capitalise on. According to Jain, they have planned specific content for sports to appeal to audiences and newer advertisers.

She said, “We are coming up with something related to the women cricketers for which we are doing some road shows in various cities to call out people to participate in the events.”

Along with this the channel also has support programs lined up for T20 tournaments with a panel of Kapil Dev, and Atul Wassan doing sports shows. These shows work great in terms of rating, as they are topical and there is a high viewership on such shows, as per Jain. 

However, there is the eternal quest of marketers to understand consumer-buying behaviour, and generally the more time and money which is spent in that direction, the less is understood. This makes the task of the marketer daunting as fragmentation of the market is a real challenge in today’s time. 

Though according to Jain, in a fragmented market it's always better to make a consolidated pitch to the media agencies so that it is seamless for all. 

Due to the fragmented market, it is becoming more common to find education brands like Byju’s and Vedanta on digital platforms. Along with e-commerce businesses, Jain continued, healthcare and pharmaceutical companies are also growing significantly.

With gaming suddenly becoming more popular, Jain revealed that ABP Network is also trying to concentrate on developing a gaming platform to draw in more advertisers. The channel hasn't previously explored this, but it's beneficial for business because it requires thinking outside the box much more.

She also went on to add, “Elections are happening in Gujarat and we have a lot of content like - ‘Kaun Banega Mukhyamatri’ is our flagship property so it works great for us both in Hindi and Gujarati. We have dedicated content around the elections to inform people. To educate people, we have content specifically devoted to the elections. We have a set of content planned for the 2024 elections as well because there is a lot of interest from viewers for these types of shows.”

Along with that, ABP has a plethora of shows, like ‘Saas Bahu Sajish’ – which has been airing for years and has loyal audiences. Following ‘Saansani’, and ‘Masterstroke’, the ‘Fatafat’ breaking news shows also work great for the network. 

In regional channels, Bengali shows like ‘Ghantakhanek Sange’ and ‘Ek Jholoke’ have very high viewership, as per the Network. During Pujo the channel has special content lined up dedicated to showing Pujo Pandals across West Bengal. 

Adding to these, ABP Marathi has a show called ‘Majha Katta’ where the editor interviews renowned personalities about the latest updates and major developments that impact society. Following this, 'Majha Vision' highlights various views and discourses on the government, ongoing political developments, and key public issues.

On a concluding note, Jain said, “There is a high demand for advertisers for these shows, and based on how we handle the election, nobody can do it better than we do.”

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