Gone are the days when festivals were scattered occasions of celebrations. Now the festival season has extended to an entire quarter. Starting September, advertisers, brands and media platforms like television gear up to tap the festival fervour in a big way. exchange4media takes a bird’s eye view of various festival season activities.
General entertainment channels line up a slew of on-air initiatives in the form of festival-specific programmes or getting festivals like Dussehra, Navratri and Diwali woven into the plots of popular soaps. Such initiatives are welcomed by advertisers and brands alike – who up their activities during the festival period – as they serve the purpose of reaching out to the maximum number of people.
Better pricing, better yield
Speaking on the various channels’ festival plans, Sudha Natarajan, COO & Joint President, Lintas Media Group, said, “From a channel’s point of view, launching special software as Diwali specials and mega movies seem to be stronger pegs for viewership.” Giving an example, she said that launch of Colors channel had been pretty strategic. “They have managed to garner good numbers even before the festival period, which helps them grab a good share of Diwali spending,” she noted.
On ad rates, Natarajan said, “In a fragmented market that exists today, rate hike is less likely even during the festival period. Channels rely on launching special events and movies to grab higher share of expenditure. If we look at the existing basket of GECs, they are attempting to launch many new shows led by reality to garner revenues higher than the regular buys can get them. Any advertiser who is attempting to buy just before the festival period might have to pay a premium, while ongoing buys shall need to fight for inventory.”
“A large pie, upwards of 55-60 per cent, should be going to GECs, especially in a scenario of weaker cricketing season. DTH launches should take the GEC pie spends higher, since reaching masses would be key for each player,” Natarajan said, while commenting on the percentage of a client’s Diwali activities centred on GECs.
According to Natrajan, “All advertisers are very active during the festive season. Higher levels of spends are led by durables, automobiles and, now of course, DTH, while telecom is an ongoing strong player throughout the year.”
Imran Karim, Media Director, TME, said, “Channels do come up with Diwali specials to boost viewerships, which could be in the form of special events, dance or music shows or blockbuster movies. Star Plus is doing Diwali Dhamaka for a period of two weeks, Monday to Thursday at 10 pm. Sony has a Yash Raj film festival, including two premiers. 9X is also doing Tehvar Dhamaka, which is mix of dance and music. These special programmes do sell at a slightly premium rates than the regular rates for that time slot. But overall, they deliver similar kind of TVRs. The objective is to get additional budgets from the client, who heightens activities around Diwali.”
On the client’s Diwali activities, Karim said, “It depends on client to client and the plan objective. Some clients go for only properties on GECs, while some clients buy a mix of regular shows and property. It varies depending on the product category as well.”
Categories that are active or increase their spends around Diwali include apparels, electronic goods, lifestyle products (jewellery, etc.), automobiles (consumer segment), beverages and paints, among others.
Harish Shriyan, Joint MD, OMD, said, “Some GECs have special programmes for Diwali, but if you look at GECs per se, the third quarter becomes very important given the beginning of the festival season from September onwards. Most advertisers like FMCGs, consumer durables, apparel brands, electronic goods, etc., become very active during this festive period.” These heightened activities were not limited to the television medium alone, he added.
GECs’ plans for festive season
Speaking on Sony Entertainment Television’s programme initiatives for Diwali, President Rohit Gupta said, “Though Diwali is celebrated over two days, for us as a GEC, the entire third quarter becomes the festive quarter. Brands get active during this period. Normally, our overall revenue in this quarter is 20-25 per cent higher than the other quarters. There is a lot of money riding on it and a lot of investments too. During the festive period, we do plan special episodes of our ongoing shows as well as blockbuster movies as part of our programming to grab viewers’ interest.”
Tarun Mehra, Business Head, Zee TV, said, “We have a special show coming up this Diwali, called ‘Diwali Dhamaka’. It’s a unique concept.” He, however, but declined to share any other details on the same.
Likewise, beginning October 13, Star Plus had been airing a special eight-episode Diwali special – ‘Diwali Rishton ki’. This series is on air Monday to Thursday at 10 pm and is concluding on October 23.
Star Plus officials were not available for comments at the time of filing this report, while a Colors official said that the channel did not have any Diwali-specific programmes.
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