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Subdued festivities coinciding with World Cup for news channels; radio sees upswing

The performance has been mixed with some seeing ‘muted’ growth and others witnessing an ‘exceptionally positive’ growth momentum being built

For years, the festive season has been known to have been a major growth driver for various mediums such as television and radio as the October-November-December quarter is the one time when brands go all out in terms of their ad spends to capitalise on the celebratory mood prevailing across the country.

This time around, since the festive period has been comparatively longer and what coincided with the same was the Asia Cup and ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup, the industry expectations were also high.

Mona Jain

Speaking to BestMediaInfo.com, Mona Jain, Chief Revenue Officer, Zee Media, stated that this year’s festive season performance of the company has remained muted and has not gone as per expectations.

“For us, it has been business as usual as the festive season did not give the kind of upswing it normally does across mediums and genres,” she said.

In her view, the reason behind the same is not that brands and categories haven’t spent but the period of spend or activity has been shorter which is why the advertising budgets have been restricted and further fragmented between Television and digital.

“This time around, the Cricket World Cup and Asia Cup overlapped absolutely with the festive season and hence a dominant part of ad spends of big spenders or categories whose ad spends are skewed to the festive season were directed on the sport. However, certain key categories like fintech, adtech and education did not spend to the level they do historically,” she added.

Sudipto Chowdhuri

Similarly, Sudipto Chowdhuri, Chief Revenue Officer/Executive President- Sales, India TV, also shared the viewpoint that even though the Cricket World Cup fell in this current festive Season, the company got the same inventory as last year.

“We managed to get 17-18 minutes per hour FCT during the festive season and we would be able to maintain our inventory during the winter season as the textile Industry and Household Products increase their FCT on the News genre. Besides that, due to the Lok Sabha Elections, political parties also tended to advertise on the News Genre during the period,” he said.

He then went on to emphasise that India TV got a higher percentage share of the monies allocated to the campaigns in most of the cases owing to their “always stable” rates and reputation of being a “consistent and delivering” channel in terms of reach, visibility, time spent and affinity amongst others.

Rupali Fernandes

On the other hand, Rupali Fernandes, Chief Revenue Officer, ABP Network, opined that this year's festive season has been “exceptionally positive” as the industry has seen an upswing due to a big cricket season and to complement the high-impact plans, advertisers have included ABP Network for frequency.

“The addition of new categories has elevated our standards, while the traditional advertisers continue to rely on our Network for their sustenance plans. The momentum we have gained is remarkable and this has got us great support from advertisers, especially during the State Elections leading up to the General elections,” she said.

Apart from the news channels, the radio channels also saw a positive momentum being built around the festive season owing to the CWC and Asia Cup coinciding with the same. That being said, several of them are cautiously optimistic that the same would continue in the extended period as well.

Nisha Narayanan

As per Nisha Narayanan, COO and Director, Red FM and Magic FM, the company had a balanced performance this festive season which is a testament to its strategic approach for both listeners and partners.

“In contrast to industry trends of expanding inventory, Red FM maintained a position by holding rates and implementing inventory caps, optimising consistent listenership and revenue potential. This year we had an extended festive season, coupled with the International Cricket World Cup and upcoming elections which made the prices dynamic in nature, but we are hoping that the rates will be standardised by the end of this financial year,” she said.

Additionally, she also pointed out that this time around, the company aspires to have a 10-15% year-on-year increase owing to their cities’ inventories brimming to the neck-to-ground activations and events being at the peak which is in line with brand-consumer connection activations, RJ-led influencer activities, and 360 solutions for brands.

“Overall, we leverage the festive season to grow our businesses exponentially while at the same time not compromising on our listener's interests,” she added.

Abraham Thomas

Abraham Thomas, CEO, Reliance Broadcast Network, also shared the viewpoint that the festive period always draws a great response from brands and therefore the radio channel has also witnessed a significant surge owing to an increased demand across radio, digital, and on-ground platforms, highlighting the efficacy of RBN’s multi-channel strategy.

“We have seen a substantial volume and revenue growth as compared to last festive season. Sectors such as Services and E-commerce, FMCG, BFSI and Accessories among others are highly active. Our objective has always been on delivering substantial value through innovation, customisation and offering integrated solutions to advertisers and stakeholders alike,” he said.

Thomas also pointed out that after receiving an overwhelming response to RBN’s ‘Super Duper Dhamaka’ last year, the channel has also launched its second season this festive period and announced Sonu Sood as the face of the campaign in addition to elevating the entire user experience with an emphasis on gamification, making it highly immersive.

Preeti Nihalani

As per Preeti Nihalani, Chief Operating Officer, Entertainment Network India (ENIL), during the 71 days leading up to Diwali which encompassed various festivals from Ganpati to Diwali and a few days thereafter, Mirchi experienced a significant boost in volumes, owing to a combination of factors.

“This festive season was uniquely intertwined with the World Cup and upcoming state elections, creating a synergistic effect that propelled industry volumes and as the leading network and a widely popular brand among advertisers, we (Mirchi) capitalised on this surge. This year, we strategically reintroduced some of our large-scale properties (IPs) in their pre-covid and bigger avatar and actively engaged consumers in events such as Rock'n' Dhol (a 9-day Navratri festival celebration in Gujarat) and Pujo celebrations in Kolkata. Additionally, our college property, Mirchi Freshers, coincided with this festive period, providing brands with a valuable opportunity to connect with the youth audience,” she said.

According to Nihalani, ENIL’s digital Audio Ad Network, MPing, also helped the company in driving growth with many clients venturing into their digital audio advertising journey with the same.

“Several categories played a pivotal role in driving growth for us and the industry as a whole. Real Estate, Automobile, BFSI, Durables, Apparel and Accessories, and FMCG emerged as leading contributors. While government advertising showed growth compared to the low base of the previous year, it remained below earlier or anticipated levels,” she added.

She also emphasised that with brands recognising the value of radio's local reach and the influential power of Mirchi's Jocks as influencers, there is cautious optimism for the rest of the year that is grounded in the hope that the positive consumer momentum will persist.


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