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Celebrating Onam – Part 2: Festivities galore, but shaky markets put a damper on ad volumes

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Celebrating Onam – Part 2: Festivities galore, but shaky markets put a damper on ad volumes

Continuing with our series on how the South is gearing up for Kerala’s biggest festival Onam, Part 2 takes a look at what the major television players have lined up for the festival, who are the biggest advertisers this season and what kind of ad volumes are being seen…

Visual treat for viewers
All the leading channels have reworked their schedules to bring the Onam flavour into living rooms, thus increasing viewership and ad response. Asianet, the leader in Kerala, has come out with a two-week programme menu with interviews, premier movies, special programmes, and music-based shows. The fete begins on August 31 and will continue till September 11.One of the major highlights of Asianet’s ‘Onam 2011’ is the telecast of 8 premiere movies along with exclusive interviews with National Award winner Dhanush, Madhavan, Manoj K Jayan and family, Kavya Madhavan, etc. Asianet Plus will feature interviews with famous artistes like Suresh Gopi, Indrajith, and Jayasurya, review of onam films, shopping game show ‘Shoppers’ hunt’, musical event ‘Dashina’, ‘Onam with star kids’, and superhit movies.

This year, during Onam, Surya TV is planning to screen 12 premier movies from September 8-12, beginning with last year’s blockbuster ‘Pranjiyettan and the Saint’. Their biggest advertisers are jewellery and textile brands followed by consumer goods.

Kairali TV has organised two stage shows this Onam. S Rajiv, GM (Marketing), Kairali TV, elaborates, “The first will be a three-hour cultural show on September 9, conducted in association with the Kerala Tourism Board, at Trivandrum. The second one will be held at Kottayam on September 10 and will be broadcast on our channel. We will also telecast four blockbuster films such as ‘Pokkiri Raja’ from September 8-11 and interviews with National Award winner Salim Kumar, Bollywood star Akshay Kumar, and Navya Nair and family”.

On the advertising side, during Onam, the maximum ad volume comes in from Kochi (50%) for jewellery and textiles, followed by Mumbai (25-30%) for automobiles and food products. “Our ad volumes are up by 35-40% this season. The uncertainty in the US markets has not affected our ad volumes”, he clarifies.

Amrita TV has charted out an elaborate schedule from August 31 up to September 11. Babu Menon, Vice President (Sales), Amrita TV, points out, “From the Attham day, we have lined up a Mohiniyattam dance reality show ‘Laasyam’, superhit movies of Mohanlal and Mammootty, and special segments such as ‘Onam with politicians’ and ‘Onam on Campus’. From the Uthradam day to the Chathayam day, i.e. August 8-11, we have lined up special programmes throughout the day. For instance, there is ‘Onam Odyssey’ about the heritage of Onam, followed by a programme on poems of eminent poets, blockbuster movies, star interviews with superstars Mohanlal and Mammootty, singer K J Yesudas, dancer Sudha Chandran, and comedy skits. Totally, we have 40-45 different programmes specially designed for the festive season.”

Advertisers come in droves
Most advertisers prefer the electronic media as they have a wide reach and response is higher. Jayalakshmi Silks, one of the leading textile advertisers, has increased its ad spend this Onam. Our source at Jayalakshmi reveals, “We have increased the number of stores and hence, our ad spend has tripled. We mainly advertise on TV, with 40% of our ad spend going there.” Reghu Ramachandran, VP (Marketing and Sales), Asianet, says, “This season, we have our ad revenue has gone up by 20-25% from the last season with jewellery brands being our biggest advertisers followed by white goods’ dealers, and then textiles. This trend has continued since the last 5 years.”

However, uncertainty in markets abroad has taken some of the shine out of the festivities. According to Babu Menon, there has been a slump of 24-30% minimum in ad volumes from last Onam. “We have observed this over the last 10-14 days with jewellery brands, mainly, and also textile retailers, who happen to be the biggest advertisers during Onam. The uncertainty in markets abroad and the Dubai market crash have had a cumulative effect in bringing about this slump”, he adds. Since the downturn in 2008, there has been a slight improvement in the ad spend by the real estate sector.

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