Reach, big faces or TG - how brands pick news channels for general elections speaks to advertisers, their agencies and media houses to find out the factors brands are looking for to close their deals

Akansha Srivastava
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New Delhi: With many non-news advertisers eyeing to leverage the largest and most crucial general elections so far, the news genre has seemingly upped its game in an effort to attract more and more brands.

Brands have traditionally been complaining about similar programming across the channels in addition to a few who do not want to associate themselves with “Kaun Banega…” type of programming.

Barring a few seeking quality content, it is commonly known that most of the advertisers come to the news channel for the reach, to be specific a targeted reach. spoke to advertisers, their agencies and media houses to find out the factors brands are looking for to close their deals.

“Every channel has its own posturing and narrative. Everybody brings in the view the way they understand it the best. So I think that is something which is very unique to elections,” said a media executive who had an extensive career on both broadcast and agency sides.

“Even the regional channels are unique in their deep-diving coverage as people want to understand what's happening locally. Many times, a national viewer also watches the regional channels to be able to understand what's happening in UP, MP, or any other state. Brands know this and that's the reason why they come to elections,” said the executive quoted above.

The first quarter of the year is when brands are building their campaigns and the news genre is offering them a huge amount of frequency. Plus, they are also getting huge leverage in the entire promotion which the networks are doing around the content.

Sometimes some brands want to tie up in a contextual way. Suppose a brand wants to engage with the youth population going to vote for the first time. News channels are very open to creating such content and programmes which benefit them also. They also get a rub-off of that proposition of the brand. 

Reach is the hygiene for any brand thinking to advertise on a news channel. The channels with higher reach among pay audiences are what a brand looks at when picking them as go-to mediums. The free audience is the elephant’s tusk which is largely seen as the spillage by most of the adveritsers.

In the current BARC regime of four-week rolling average data for the news genre, most of the news channels claim to have more reach than the general entertainment genre. Moreover, the news genre brings a diverse set of audiences instead of a fixed audience as is the case with GECs.
It is for this reason that the advertisers are more interested in the news genre as it promises better reach during the two-month-long window for the general elections.

“Every news channel has its own audience. Not necessarily that an audience which is watching channel ‘A’ is also watching channel B, C or D. People also watch a certain channel that resonates with their views. Sometimes, an anchor could be the reason or a programming format. You will not find any news channel, whose uniform viewership is across the day. Every channel has a sweet spot, half an hour. If you have to build your presence and reach out to a completely substantiated audience, you have to be on multiple channels,” said an agency head who did not want to be quoted.

High-end brands focus more on the qualitative analysis of the audience and they rarely go for blanket bombarding of their campaigns across all the channels. A lot many other factors go into consideration while picking up a channel such as the scheduling of ad breaks and viewer experience.

When asked if big names associated with a channel work, a marketer with a large automobile manufacturer told that they do. 

“That’s how news sponsorships are bought. Moreover, that’s one of the reasons why brands pick specific slots instead of blanket bombarding of ads,” the marketers said.

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