As Kerala celebrates Onam, the harvest festival, today, TV channels and radio stations have been adding to the festive fervour for days preceding the festival. exchange4media takes a look at the various initiatives of the media in Kerala around the state’s biggest festival season.
Every TV channel in Kerala, big and small, have been airing special Onam-related content. Asianet is celebrating Onam with a two-week long programme menu comprising interviews, films, special programmes and music-based shows. The fete, which began on August 23 (Atham day), will continue till September 5 (Pooruttathi day). In addition to premiering 12 new films, a tête-à-tête with upcoming actor Prithwiraj and his family is one of the major attractions of Asianet’s Onam offering for viewers. Asianet will also air an exclusive interview with cricketer Sreesanth and his family. The channel is also airing Oscar winner ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ in Malayalam.
Amrita TV, other leading channel in the state, began its Onam festivities on an auspicious note with ‘Uthradom’ and a special episode of ‘Udayamritham’, ‘Uthrada Polima’.
Interviews with singers Sadhana Sargam, Hariharan, Usha Uthup and filmmaker Priyadarshan are some of the other key highlights on the channel. Amrita TV has come up with a new concept this time in Kerala – movies for television, which comprises a package of five short films made exclusively for television. The programme places at the centrestage a bunch of talented young directors.
Not to be left behind, FM players like Club FM, Mango FM, etc., have also lined up special programmes to celebrate Onam.
This festival season also sees ad agencies in Kerala at their busiest as clients go on an overdrive. The workload for some of the top agencies in Kerala almost quadruple, which means big bucks for the agencies too.
Apart from mainline advertisements, Onam is also a time for several BTL activities. For instance, Malayala Manorama organised a special exhibition in Kochi, called ‘Onam Fiesta’ from August 14-31, where most of the consumer durables brands took part. According to Varghese Chandy, General Manager, Marketing Operations, Malayala Manorama, it was one more opportunity for the exhibitors to sell their products during Onam. Chandy further said, “Usually print media takes a lion’s share during this festival season, followed by television and radio.”
Consumer electronic companies and appliances are the major advertisers during the Onam season. According to Chandy, there was nearly 30 per cent increase in advertising revenue vis-à-vis other months of the year for Manorama during the Onam season.
“Generally, it is the print media and GECs that grab a lion’s share of the advertising revenue. While print media garners about 50 per cent of the advertising revenues, television gets 40 per cent,” he added.
When asked whether the economic slowdown had affected the festival mood, Chandy said, “This is the one of the best Onams. Dealers of consumer durable companies feel that this has been a very good Onam for them.”
However, on a different note, Shreyams Kumar, Director - Marketing, Electronic Media, Mathrubhumi, said that the ad spend of most of the national brands were not up to the expected level as far as print was concerned. “Though there was growth over the previous year, when you take into consideration the overall activity, it is not up to the expected level. Some have done well, especially white goods, but some have not done well at all. So, it’s an average Onam,” he said.
According to Kumar, Mathrubhumi had witnessed a 50 per cent spike in the advertising revenue vis-à-vis other months of the year.
Meanwhile, sale of liquor has also gone up by about 50-55 per cent during Onam. “Liquor is one of the fastest growing sectors in Kerala. Year-on-year growth is phenomenal as far as liquor is concerned,” Kumar added.