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Content and ratings – a vicious cycle

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Content and ratings – a vicious cycle

 Digitisation of cable television is bringing about several changes in the broadcast industry. The significant question that arises owing to this is how will the broadcast content adapt to the digitised scenario and what are the key opportunities that will be intrinsic to the success of a TV show?

Rod H Perth, President & CEO, NATPE remarked, “This is a broad question. These are disruptive times and some people might view it as negative, but those who do not will survive. There are tremendous opportunities. With 72 hours of content being uploaded in a minute, there are no barriers of entry. The business model is primarily advertising driven and advertisers are increasingly figuring it out and becoming real. There would also be new and old media convergence.”

Rohit Gupta, President, SET India, MSM believes the next two to three years will be extremely critical for India. With the expansion of the universe, the challenge will be to create content for different segments. It is the monetisation of this content which is critical. “With the kind of reach that the industry has now, the focus should be on how to monetise from the 400 to 500 channels, since creation of content is not an issue today,” Gupta added.

Elaborating on the revenue models, MK Anand, MD, Media Networks, Disney UTV said, “Fundamentally, there are two revenue models – the first is the advertising driven model and the second is the subscription driven model. The focus should be on what our current model is and what are the expectations from it. Also, even if someone has a subscription driven model, the content should be good. It is also important to realise that the ratings are not against the broadcasters.”

Anand believes that GRPs basically signify two things – reach and time spent. Digitisation will lead to a situation where one can differentiate between time spent channels and reach channels. In the next seven years, ratings and ad led models will not vanish and hence, will continue to be pertinent.

According to Paul O’Hanlon, MD, Freemantle Asia, it is important to think broadly about the way content is created. He noted that when it comes to big brands, there are certain loyalties, both from the broadcaster’s and the people’s sides. “But as one moves forward, it is important to think about the way we structure our formats and segment them so as to move away from the rigidity of the past,” he added.

 Elaborating on the changes post digitisation, Gaurav Gandhi, COO, India Cast stated, “The six GECs today churn out 200 hours of content, but the focus should ideally be on quality as well. Digitisation will essentially do three things, the first is to change the economics, the second is present people with a choice of services, and the third is put a control on the accountability. The focus has been on ratings and measuring that. But after Phase I, there has been a big change in the economics and with the Phase II, life will definitely change.”

 LV Krishnan, CEO, TAM Media remarked that ratings give the creators of television content a benchmark on an overall level.

Agreeing with Krishnan, Anand said, “Post 2008, there has been a lot more accountability. There has also been a movement from perceived buying. Today, distribution has changed and, therefore, both content and brands need to work harder. Packaging is also going to be of paramount importance. Since there is an increase in competition, we need to focus on creating better content.”

According to Gupta, the metrics for measurement are different in India and hence this creates problem in monetisation. He stressed on the industry coming together for further growth. “Though today there is a high reach, the industry is undersold and undervalued,” he felt.

O’Hanlon concluded by saying that everybody wants entertainment, cost effective content, etc., at the end of the day. Though the industry strives to create indigeneous content, the challenge is the creation of such content, which is expensive.

Paul O’Hanlon, Rod H Perth, Rohit Gupta, LV Krishnan, MK Anand and Gaurav Gandhi were expressing their views on day two of FICCI Frames 2013, being held in Mumbai from March 12 to 14, 2013. 


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