Major brands in India hoard 30-40% of their ad spends for the festive period. Therefore, with an increase in demand for ad inventories during that time, GECs tend to charge a premium on ad rates and rake in around 20-30% of the annual revenue.
But this time around, the simultaneous occurrence of high-profile events like the World Cup and Asia Cup could divert the advertisers’ attention.
Consequently, GECs, particularly those launching impact properties during festive occasions, might encounter a setback in the face of intensified competition and a struggle for sustained viewership ratings, added the experts.
Hema Malik, Chief Investment Officer, IPG Mediabrands India, said that given the current scenario, it is anticipated that ad rates will see a rise this year as well, with a festive premium in place.
“During the festive season, the demand goes up and that is when the channels ask for a premium and they will certainly do that this year as well. However, there is a challenge posed by the decline in viewership, so it’s a double whammy. While rate hikes are sought, there's a parallel challenge of maintaining viewership ratings,” Malik said.
“This dynamic becomes particularly complex due to the significance of CPRP (Cost Per Rating Point) which continues to be a measurement currency for many clients. So, it's a tougher job for the agencies because even when you manage the rate, you can't manage the ratings and it's a double-edged sword either way. That challenge will be there for the broadcasters also when they will ask for rate hikes and not be able to justify it with ratings,” she added.
Malik also pointed out that the regular inventory will continue to demand a premium. However, the impact shows, while absorbing festive spending, might face challenges due to competition from events like the World Cup and also due to a struggle in ratings. So, there could be a dent on GECs, especially on the impact properties which are introduced during the festive period.
Even after that, with a robust lineup of content, GECs are anticipating a 10-15% growth in revenue this festive season.
Although, Ashish Sehgal, Chief Growth Officer, Advertisement Revenue at Zee Entertainment Enterprises, said that sports tournaments will conclude by November. These events historically don't cannibalise GEC viewership. Traditional examples like the World Cup highlight this trend.
Speaking about the growth in revenue during the festive period, he said, “There should be a good 10-15% surge in overall channel yields across all GECs, with the South India market likely experiencing a more pronounced increase. This is attributed to the robust South POD and near-total TV penetration in the region, along with limited OTT presence. Additionally, regional brands display a higher reliance on television advertising.”
A Star Plus spokesperson said that the upcoming festive season is looking optimistic and the channel is already witnessing a gradual increase in spending across categories such as mobile handsets, automobiles, consumer durables, e-commerce and more.
“As the festive season approaches, combined with a favourable macroeconomic outlook, we anticipate a further boost in demand. Anticipated growth in demand and increased client engagement are poised to drive a significant boost in the overall TV advertising expenditure,” the spokesperson added.
Amarpreet Singh Saini – Chief Channel Officer, Bhojpuri Cluster, Zee Entertainment Enterprises, said that this year festivities are spread across September to November with a long period of celebrations in between which is going to witness buoyed viewership as well as investment impact.
"At Zee Biskope, given a planned calendar of customised IPs and festive offerings, we are confident of a significant upswing in our client's participation during this period," he added.
Sehgal said that key categories that will heavily advertise on GECs during this period include FMCG, consumer durables, mobile phone handsets, telecom, e-commerce, and BFSI. Furthermore, established startups like PayTM might also revisit advertising on GECs during this festive season.
Apart from these categories, Malik of IPG Mediabrands India believes that the automobile category is expected to witness a larger presence than in previous years.
“This category recovered well post COVID-19 but then they faced other issues and so there was a bit of a slowdown in the advertising. So, we are expecting that auto will recover well. Apart from this, travel, luxury segments, paint, mobile handset and real estate, will also do really well,” she added.
GECs’ strategy for viewer and advertiser engagement
In response to how GECs can leverage their content to attract viewers and advertisers during the festive season, Sehgal highlighted the strategic approach taken by GECs.
“While new fiction shows are introduced to maintain daily viewership, the focus shifts to new non-fiction shows during weekends like Zee's ‘Sa Re Ga Ma Pa’ and Sony's ‘Kaun Banega Crorepati’, etc. This diverse content offering not only caters to viewer preferences but also provides brands with opportunities to connect. ZeeTV has also launched ‘Shiv Shakti’,” he added.
According to Star Plus’ spokesperson, “The channel has been the nation's top channel for the past 160+ weeks and it continues to enjoy a remarkable presence of eight of its shows consistently ranking among the top 10 shows in the Hindi-speaking market (HSM) (Source: BARC: Week 1 - 26 ‘23, 15+ U). The popularity, engagement, and emotional connection that Star Plus’ leading shows achieve across shows like ‘Anupama’, ‘Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai’ and ‘Ghum Hai Kisi ke Pyaar Main’ remains unmatched.”
During this upcoming festive season, the channel will be bringing back the highly anticipated ‘Star Parivar Awards’. Given the popularity and high ratings in its previous editions, ‘Star Parivar Awards’ will present the perfect opportunity for families, the spokesperson added.
“Star Plus’ high-quality content is the reason behind the longest duration of engagement across HSM, which greatly benefits our advertisers by ensuring their advertisements reach a high-quality and attentive audience. Furthermore, we are introducing tailor-made packages and solutions for brands to align themselves with the market's leading shows, enabling them to stand out during this festive season,” the spokesperson said.
Speaking about their content line-up, Star Plus spokesperson said that ‘Anupama’ show has acted as a driving force for fostering positive and significant societal transformation. Irrespective of the advertising period, the show consistently garners substantial interest from advertisers throughout the year so they anticipate this trend to amplify further, particularly considering the forthcoming festive atmosphere.
Saini said that Zee Biskope has planned an extensive festive calendar spread across the entire months of festivities in the region of Bihar and Jharkhand. Customised World Television Premiere, specially curated for festive season films in Zee Biskope Originals – movies made by ZEE Biskope, established marketing engagement initiative IPs and festive events are lined up to provide both the viewers and advertisers hyper-localised curated content to celebrate and connect. Moreover, festive events like ‘Jai Chathi Mayi’ have also been planned to evoke a 360-degree immersive festive celebration for the viewers.
"ZEE Biskope offers a unique and curated content lineup especially designed to connect with the core festive ethos of the region rather than generic celebratory content presentation. This provides advertisers a hyper-local integration to embed with their brand ethos which brings a more impressionable and memorable relation with the consumer mindset during this period. The brand has always celebrated regional festivities with hyperlocal campaigns like ‘Vratin Ki Sahai Bani Chhathi Maai’ that acknowledged the contributions of the women in the family who observe the fast during Chhath Puja or ‘Ghar Parivar Chhath Tyohaar’ themed around bringing back the entire family once again after the pandemic phase to celebrate Chhath," Saini said.
"During Saawan last year we launched ‘Jhoome Kanwariya Baba Nagariya’ – a campaign that was dedicated in service to the devotees walking miles to reach Baba Dham in Deoghar. This year, we engaged with our viewers on Saawan through a contest ‘Biskope Le Chali Baba Dham’ where the brand took the winners to an all-expense paid trip to Baba Baidyanath Dham in Deoghar. Similar celebrations will continue even this year with wider scope and greater valour," he added.