An affirmative sense is prevailing in the industry that the ad cap, which was opposed by the News Broadcasters Association (NBA) last year, is reaping maximum benefits for the news channels now.
As the Lok Sabha Elections 2014 come to an end and series of exit polls commence on news channels, there seems to be a surge of advertisers on the news channels. Analyst and marketers we spoke to feel that the ‘volume’ of advertising on TV is far more than IPL, but the ‘value’ is less. However, on counting day, the value of news advertising will be far more than IPL. As per senior sources, the average inventory cost on the day of counting, that is, May 16, 2014 is priced between Rs 5 lakh and Rs 10 lakh. The rates for Saturday and Sunday (just after Friday, May 16) are also believed to be in the same range.
The average rate for the last 15 days and the concluding exit polls on almost all the news channels has been between Rs 1.25 and Rs 2.5 lakh. Industry experts believe that news channels in the last 15 days have earned more than what they earn in two months on a regular basis. To accommodate as much volume as possible, some channels have sold their ticker ads at close to Rs 15,000.
As far as the profile of advertisers is concerned, it varies from channel to channel. Since the volume of advertising is more and the audience is huge across demographics, the advertisers range from auto sector to pharmacy to local brands.
News channels have got ad spots, ticker ads, zoom in ads, presenting and associate sponsor slots while airing exit polls. However, the offers vary from channel to channel. There are six major exit polls on channels as of now – viz. Times Now-ORG; CNN-IBN-CSDS; HT-Cicero; ABP-Nielsen; News 24-Today’s Chanakya; and C-voter-India TV.
The automobile sector has been advertising very prominently on the news genre. The only difference visible is that the volume of two-wheeler ads on Hindi news channels is more than English news channels, where four-wheeler ads are seeing more visibility. Major cement brands such as ACC, UltraTech, Shree Ultra, and Ambuja are advertising heavily on Hindi news channels. While ACC Cement is the presenting sponsor of exit polls on India TV, Bangur Cement has been seen as the presenting sponsor on ABP News.
Personal care, inverters, innerwear, lingerie, paints, manufacturing, real estate, pan-masala, food, beverage and other brands aligning with the above categories are heavily seen on all the Hindi news channels, including ABP News, Aaj Tak, India TV, News 24, IBN7, NDTV, Zee News and India News. On English news channels, technology, gadgets, e-commerce, FMCG, consumer durables, telecom, automobile, and real estate advertising is prominently visible. Quikr and WeChat are some e-commerce brands that are investing on news channels, besides investing on IPL. Education players such as Amity, Manav Rachna and some private universities are also advertising heavily on the genre.
Avinash Pandey COO, ABP News noted, “More and more people are watching news these days. The volume of advertisers is very large, because everybody understands that election results and predictions are a crucial part for any news channel. Not just from regular advertisers; this year there has been a huge surge from non-traditional advertisers, who are not regular on news channels. On counting day, the value (costing) of ads will be high as there will be very fewer breaks.”
What marketers feel?
Marketers too feel that this week will see huge traction of audiences towards news. This, however, does not stop them from feeling that the clutter among news channels and the advertisers are huge, which might result in less attention span of the audiences and less value for money for advertisers.
Anisha Motwani, CMO, Max Life Insurance remarked, “The news genre will have substantial viewership, but the sampling of channels increases drastically during this time. One does not stay too long on one channel and quickly samples the other. So, reliance on a few specific channels is not possible. Apart from this, brand value might be lost in the huge clutter of advertisers. We have kept ourselves away from the clutter and will advertise only post the election results.”
However, some marketers feel that the impulse of advertising with the news channels is highest at present and there is nothing wrong with the huge bulk building towards news. Sanjay Gopalakrishnan, AVP - Marketing, Fiat mentioned, “The auto sector has its core TG on the news channels and they will keep investing on the channels. As far as rates are concerned, this is the time when news channels earn the most, so there is nothing wrong if they are deriving the maximum returns. There is no denying there is a huge clutter of advertisers, but that is how it is.”
Chandroo Kalroo, CMO, TTK Prestige added here, “We are advertising on news channels despite the clutter. The ongoing elections ensure brand visibility, but we are not sponsoring the exit polls or counting day verdicts. We are exploring our options with the news genre the same way we do on a normal basis.”
May 16 will see a huge surge in advertisements, but news channels are ensuring that these do not create a clutter and there is less shifting of viewers to other channels. The TRPs that the channels will get on counting day will be their strongest pitch to advertisers in the coming days to support claims of credibility and robust viewership.