India’s news broadcast industry which experienced sluggish growth during the last two festive seasons is now preparing for a bumper Diwali as it hopes that the buoyant outlook of brands, along with the availability of viewership ratings for the genre, will keep the advertising rates high.
News channels command around Rs 5,000 crore in advertising expenditure annually, most of which flows in during election and festive seasons.
The news broadcasters are expecting double-digit growth this festive season, which is also coinciding with big-ticket sporting events.
Talking to BestMediaInfo.com, Mona Jain, CRO, ABP Network, said, “Despite the low sentiment in the market in the last few months, we are expecting a heightened interest during the festival this year – it does look like it will be better than last year.”
“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 Pujo, Ganesh Chaturthi and Navratri,” Jain said.
According to Anup Vishwanathan, EVP – Network Brand Strategy, Times Network, the festive season infuses positive consumer sentiment and brands are certainly looking at maximising this opportunity to engage with the customers.
“Offering distinctive integrated solutions with the combination of TV and digital, Times Network’s news and entertainment brands are uniquely positioned to offer advertisers more value in terms of high visibility, and reach to both influential as well as mass consumers, thereby ensuring high ROI,” Vishwanathan said.
According to Karan Abhishek Singh, CEO of Hindi Cluster, News18 Network, this year has been an interesting year for news channels. He said, “Earlier this year, the news channels didn’t have the ratings but there was still a lot of action in the genre because of the state elections. The elections were high stakes for all political parties and other stakeholders involved. But right after the elections, the ratings came in and the next couple of months was a period for observing and understanding what is working for the news channels.”
Singh expects a robust double-digit growth for the channels this festive season. Moreover, both the agencies and clients are very cautious this year due to the headwinds like inflationary pressure across the world, he said.
Raktim Das, Chief Growth Officer, TV9 Network, said that with enhanced buoyancy and pent-up consumer demand, this year’s spending will top the 2019 levels across sectors.
He said, “I am sure, in terms of medium, television and digital will continue to drive impact and will lead from the front in delivering results for advertisers.”
According to Amit Tripathi, Chief Revenue Officer, TV9 Network, the festive season is very important for news broadcasters with more than 30-35% of revenue being dependent on it. However, he added, that this year due to various economic factors the pre-festive period was slow for the industry. Now with Covid almost gone, the Indian economy is showing resilience and performing better than most countries and hence, they expect this festival season to be one of the best in a long time.
A lot of adex will also be spent around the big-ticket sporting events that are scheduled to be held amid the festive season, such as the T20 World Cup and FIFA, according to experts.
As per Tripathi revenue growth comes from three streams, first, of course, is high inventory demand, the second is due to high demand and low supply of premium pricing, and the third stream is non-FCT revenue on festival program sponsorship, client integration etc.
Moreover, looking at the increasing demand and the inventory being finite – it will become imperative, especially with regional channels, to charge a premium during the festive weeks – for serviceability and to ensure exposure for the brands on the channels, noted Jain.
According to Vishwanathan, key categories like Automobiles, E-commerce, Consumer Durables, and Mobiles are likely to have incremental spending this festive season, and they are expecting a 25-30% upsurge in ad-sales growth.
Das added that typically it has been witnessed that brands from most consumer-facing sectors like automobiles, consumer electronics, FMCG and retail sectors increase marketing and advertising spending during the festival season.
The content strategy of news channels
As the festive season approaches, news channels are gearing up with their content line-up. We can expect to see a variety of festive season-related content, ranging from breaking news to light-hearted stories.
A plethora of new shows has been lined up by news channels across genres as per experts.
Starting with ABP Network, it has been historically very strong with its festive programming. Jain said they have loyal advertisers who commit to it annually.
Giving details on their interesting content line-up, Jain added, “In the East, ABP Ananda’s flagship content line-up under the umbrella of Sharad Ananda is extremely popular amongst viewers and advertisers. It is high in demand and seen as an excellent platform for brands to engage with their consumers during the Pujo festival. Similarly, in the West, around Ganesh Chaturthi unique content is lined up for viewers in Maharashtra. We have similar content on other regional offerings - Gujarati, Tamil, Telugu and Hindi.”
On the other hand, News18 Network has already kickstarted the work on the content line-up seeing the high demands during the festive season. Network18 in August hosted the first edition of ‘Amrit Ratna Samman', followed by planning other shows for festivals and occasions such as Raksha Bandhan, Independence Day, Janmashtami, Ganesh Utsav, Diwali and so on.
Moreover, with the upcoming T-20 Men’s World Cup, a lot of cricket action is also happening in the same period. Amid this, a big name will also be collaborating for a special sports show coming up on News Network18, according to Singh. Along with that, a plethora of programming will also be seen in shows for the Gujrat elections, planning for which is underway.
TV9 Network also has big plans for this festive season with a lot of on-air and ground activities programmed.
Tripathi informed that they have a big programming line-up for the World Cup, a show called ‘Football Focus’ is coming up on TV9 Bengal Channel.
On the other hand, Times Network is soon going to launch ‘The Happy India Shopping Utsav’ - to incentivise Indian shoppers this festive season. Vishwanathan said that they are taking this initiative for leveraging the Network’s 25 crores per month regular viewer reach, across geographies and age groups.
“This is one of its kind festivals on a television network, where brands and their customers both stand to gain with their festive shopping,” Vishwanathan concluded.