Will reality shows will give much-needed push to TV adex this festive season?

Advertisers are gearing up to capitalise on the festive season, which aligns with a lineup of major television programs scheduled for the second half of the year

Sakshi Sharma
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Will reality shows will give much-needed push to TV adex this festive season?

With a number of reality shows lined up across TV channels during the festive season, industry players have highlighted that brands are expected to spend heavily on the genre, resulting in a steep rise in advertising rates.

Aditi Mishra

As per Aditi Mishra, CEO, Lodestar UM, “For Q2 and Q3 of FY24, festivals will be the major driver of media investments, including regional festivals like Bonalu, Onam, Ganesh Chaturthi, Durga Puja, Navratri, Dussehra, and Diwali. Video formats will continue to hold sway, with TV continuing to play a pivotal role. Particularly, prominent reality shows like Khatron Ki Khiladi, India's Got Talent, KBC, Bigg Boss, Masterchef India, and The Shark Tank will contribute to this trend.”

Following a relatively subdued summer season, notably during the recently concluded 16th Indian Premier League (IPL), industry experts anticipate a resurgence in brand activity during the upcoming festive season. This surge is expected to coincide with the broadcast of high-impact shows such as Bigg Boss, Kaun Banega Crorepati (KBC), Sa Re Ga Ma Pa, Bigg Boss Telugu, India's Got Talent, as well as major sporting events.

Srinivas Rao

According to Srinivas Rao, Chief Investment Officer, Wavemaker India, traditionally the festive period is seen as one of the best times for channels to launch their trademark reality shows. Not only does it allow them to make revenues, but it also allows them to get more brands to come and actively sample the channel.

Most of the shows try to work on formats in such a manner that they have enough opportunities for brands to leverage and highlight their proposition. Most of the categories ranging from FMCGs, autos, BFSI etc. tend to leverage especially during the festive period, he added.

TV channels bracing for ad rate increase

Ashish Sehgal

Ashish Sehgal, Chief Growth Officer, Advertisement Revenue at Zee Entertainment Enterprises, highlighted that given the positive market sentiment and consumer demand rise, there is a good reason to increase ad rates.

“The channel performance has also improved in the past few weeks (116 GRPs, 34 million viewers/week) and the slot in which we launched Sa Re Ga Ma Pa (Saturday and Sunday from 21:00-22:30) has been on an increasing trend as well. We are creating high points in the preceding shows (Radha Mohan at 20:00 and Bhagya Laxmi at 20:30) to drive viewers to the show. Moreover, there are format changes as well which will keep our viewers engaged throughout the season. The promos response on the social media platforms has been encouraging and we are expecting at least a 15-20% increase in ad rates this festive season,” he added.

Anil Solanki

Anil Solanki, Media Lead, dentsu X India, seconded that expectations for an increase in ad rates are indeed on the horizon. As brands vie for consumer attention during the festive season, the demand for advertising slots rises.

"The anticipated range of this increase varies depending on factors such as the popularity of the reality show, time slots and the overall economic landscape. This increase could range from 15% to 30% or even higher for prime-time slots,” Solanki added.

Pavithra KR

Bigg Boss season 17 is set to go on air, on Viacom18’s Hindi GEC Colors, starting mid-October 2023. Coupled with the power of going free on JioCinema, the show aims to reach 350-400 million viewers in its 17th season, said Pavithra KR, Revenue Head - Colors, Viacom18. The icing on the cake is its launch during the festive season, a time when advertisers tend to spend more.

“We are the IPL of entertainment. Brands use IPL for a certain reason in the April- May period. During the festive season, brands use Big Boss to engage with the consumers,” Pavithra said.

Meanwhile, a Star Plus spokesperson said that the festive season, which kicked off with Onam, is looking very promising this year. With many more festivals like Ganesh Chathurthi, Durga Puja and Diwali, the season is just getting started for them.

“Apart from increased spends from regular advertisers, we are also seeing a surge in demand from categories like auto, jewellery, fashion, etc. and this sets the tone for a great festive season,” the spokesperson added.

“The festive season sees a surge in spending in a variety of categories, such as consumer durables, electronics, retail/fashion, jewellery, automobiles, handsets and FMCG. Our diverse formats can provide opportunities for all these categories to seamlessly connect,” the Star Plus spokesperson added.

Bigg Boss Tamil, which begins in October, is also seeing similar traction across categories.

Recently, Star Maa onboarded 19 sponsors for Bigg Boss Telugu season 7 spanning various categories such as FMCG, Construction/Real Estate, Jewellery, Durables, and Automotive, among others.

Brands onboarded include Dabur, Maruti, Jos Alukkas, Radha TMT, Indulekha, Freedom Edible Oil, Coke, Whisper, Centuary Fiber, Cera, Britannia, Kajaria Cements, Haier, Butterfly, Docilekart, Shastry Balm, Orill and Mondelez.

Brand engagement: The key driver for growth in adex on reality shows during festive period

dentsu X India’s Solanki emphasised that GECs are strategically leveraging reality shows to enhance brand engagement during the festive season. These reality shows often offer a perfect platform for brands to integrate seamlessly into the content, creating an immersive experience for viewers.

Furthermore, he pointed out that advertisers are increasingly showing keen interest in associating with reality shows due to their wide reach and engaged audience. The scope for brands to integrate within reality show content during festive times is extensive, ranging from product placements and challenges to branded segments.

“Advertisers are collaborating closely with production teams to ensure a seamless integration that resonates with the show's theme and audience,” he added.

Sharing how Zee goes about boosting brand engagement on its reality shows, Sehgal said, “We guide the brands through the content creation process and share various situations within the content where a brand fitment exists. For example: Contestant backstories, BTS footage in a show are good opportunities for F&B-based brands where we can showcase consumption as well. It’s a great brand launch platform wherein even brand creatives are seamlessly integrated within our content. It’s a platform to showcase brands as well.”

Viacom18's Pavithra pointed out that when it comes to Bigg Boss, brand integrations in the show are seamless without disrupting the audience’s content experience. She said, “We ensure that whatever we do for our brands, they become the narrative of the story. Brand integrations are so beautifully and organically built into the show that it's never intrusive.”

Giving examples, she added, “We have built a Greed Corner inside the Bigg Boss house kitchen. Through Greed Corner, in the past, we have sent ITC biscuits and Licious meat. We realised that food is a big point of contention inside the Big Boss house and is something the contestants don't have easy access to. Last season, we put a little box of Priyagold Chocolates and then later Hershey's Kisses chocolates in the captain’s room. By virtue of being the captain, he/she got access to the box and could consume and distribute those chocolates, leading to drama in content with the product as the centrepiece.”

As per Star Plus’ spokesperson, a diverse range of advertisers have expressed interest in associating with their network, which offers a variety of formats across languages. The shows appeal to people of all demographics, making them an excellent platform for advertisers to reach a wide audience.

“Our in-house team is highly skilled and creative, and we can offer customised solutions that resonate with viewers on a deeper level, while simultaneously solving for brand outcomes,” the spokesperson added.

Wavemaker India’s Rao highlighted that brands’ interest levels are fairly decent currently with most of the top shows getting sponsors on board. Most of these shows work on their formats in such a manner that it allows them to do brand integrations.

“In fact, in some of these shows, integrations have become a part of the show itself wherein even the viewer would relate to it. One of the recent examples of this is a banking sponsor on KBC, wherein Amitabh talks about and demonstrates how safely he had transferred the prize money to the winner,” he added.

A glimpse of reality shows lined up for the festive season

Elaborating the content line-up for this festive season, Zee’s Sehgal said, “We launched Sa Re Ga Ma Pa 2023 on August 26, airing every Saturday and Sunday from 21:00-22:30. An engaging judging panel with Himesh Reshammiya, Anu Malik and Neeti Mohan will ensure only the best are chosen. Aditya Narayan has made a comeback as the host after a hiatus, adding to the entertainment quotient of the show,”

With the theme of ‘Talent ko Pehchana Hi Ek Hunar Hai’, the network has involved the viewers in the audition process and more than 12,000 entries were received this season, he added.

“Over a period of 14 weeks, viewers will experience a rollercoaster of emotions as the fast-paced format will keep them guessing as to who the finalists of the season are till the very end. For example: The Mega Auditions episodes will be shot in a closed auditorium set up with other contestants as audience. Participants will be randomly picked up by the judges from the crowd adding to the drama element of the show. There won’t be just solo performances but a lot of duels and face-offs challenging the contestants to think on their feet,” he said.

The network kicked off the grand celebration on August 26 to ensure that they get an early start giving their viewers a chance to become a part of the contestant’s success journey.

“From a content point of view, we will be planning a bevvy of high points (fiction, non-fiction) and festive special episodes to mitigate the effect of sporting events. Also, as an organisation, our focus is films as well. We have a host of high ticket movies which will be aired on our network, blockbuster movie Gadar2 will be leading the way,” Sehgal said.

On the other hand, Bigg Boss season 17 on Colors will be starting mid-October 2023. In the latest season, along with actor Salman Khan as the host, celebrities will be staying together in the house for more than 3.5 months. The show is spread across 107 plus episodes which will be aired in a 7-day week 10:00 pm broadcast slot.

Meanwhile, Star Plus’ spokesperson said that the line-up includes special fiction episodes, World Television Premieres, reality shows and celebratory events for all major festivals like Ganesh Chaturthi, Dussehra and Diwali. The launch of the 7th Season of Bigg Boss Telugu in the first week of September and Bigg Boss Tamil in October is the perfect way to usher in the festive season in these markets.

“Our flagship channel Star Plus is bringing back the magic of Star Parivaar Awards this festive season for the first time in five years this October. Star Parivaar Awards are happening at an exciting time for Star Plus with each of its shows being a leader in their respective prime time slots. Parivar Awards on Star Maa will be the biggest celebration of our leadership and the sheer love the audience has for our protagonists. Diwali and Ganesh Chaturthi events will also be magnificently celebrated with electrifying performances and a myriad of festivities across all markets,” the spokesperson said.

Meanwhile, the renowned television quiz show "Kaun Banega Crorepati" (KBC) has made a return to Sony Entertainment Television for its 15th season. This show has proven to be a magnet for sponsors and advertisers, drawing both established and emerging brands.


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