Television continues to be the largest medium in India towards which marketers direct their spends. The ad spends on television represented an estimated 43.7 per cent of the total media advertising expenditure in 2013, says a GroupM report.
According to GroupM This Year, Next Year (TYNY) 2014 report, the expected growth of TV ad spends was 14.8 per cent to Rs. 19,355.5 crore last year, while it rose by an estimated 5.9 per cent in 2013. Though it was low, it still had the highest growth among other mediums in 2013.
The total media ad spends in India is expected to grow by 13.3 per cent in 2015, according to IPG Mediabrand’s Magna Global report. With digitisation speeding up, the outlook for television is expected to be more promising. Marketers share their views on TV content and properties they see as good investment opportunities in 2015.
Cricket on the mind of marketers
With the ICC World Cup 2015 and Indian Premiere League (IPL) 8 scheduled to take place in the first half of 2015, cricket seems to be on the mind of most marketers. Ad spends on TV for these two properties are expected to cross Rs. 2,000 crore.
“The marketing spends in first half of 2015 will definitely be skewed towards the biggest events of the year -- World Cup and IPL,” said Naveen Kukreja, Group CMO, PolicyBazaar.com.
Anisha Motwani, Director, CMO and Digital Officer of Max Life Insurance, says, “With the regular deals counting, marketers will be watching out for tent poles on which their campaigns can have impactful exposures. As always, the cricket calendar looks ripe this year too, with an additional opportunity of World Cup.”
These tent pole properties are what marketers always look for, but they also seek content on TV that will give them a good value for money. In 2015, marketers will also be looking at new programming content on TV, other than the daily dose of serials and reality shows.
Daily soaps, reality shows the core content
“Marketers will always look for programmes with high TVRs. I don’t see that changing in a year. The core will always remain a combination of daily soaps and reality shows. There will be small blasts of sports and live events, but they will be seen as opportunities on short-term only. Investments into niche channels will continue to grow at a higher rate compared with daily soaps (although I don’t see the volume in niche channels increasing drastically). I do see good money moving towards regional channels, which are doing well,” said Bedraj Tripathy, AVP- Integrated Marketing, Godrej Interio.
“HD platform is another format that is likely to get some more attention as it offers newer avenues to target a relatively premium audience -- the opportunity to integrate. Newer content on channels like Zindagi shows the sliver of potential success in times to come,” says Motwani.
Kukreja sees the popularity of reality shows and movie premieres growing and something marketers would keenly look at going forward this year. “The success of reality shows such as ‘Bigg Boss’, ‘Satyamev Jayate’, ‘Kaun Banega Crorepati’, ‘Nach Baliye’ and movie premiers has worked well for all brands. Reality shows like ‘Comedy Nights with Kapil’ and movie premiers are good value for money. They deliver both in terms of reach, affinity and ratings,” he said.
Sports content to be in demand
With the emergence of new domestic sports properties in 2014 such as the Pro Kabaddi League, World Kabaddi League, Indian Super League, Champions Tennis League and Hockey India League, along with international sports tournaments on television, marketers are seeing this as a great opportunity to cash on. However, cricket properties will drive the maximum demand among marketers this year.
“Sports content will be in high demand this year, especially with the cricket World Cup starting mid-February, followed by IPL-8. Among all sports, cricket rules the roost in India because of its mass reach and will attract the maximum marketing spends,” said Ganesh Vasudevan, CEO, IndiaProperty.com.
Kukreja shared similar sentiments. “The wide variety on offer expands opportunities for brands to dip in to sports. However, for a brand like ours, cricket continues to offer the best way to spend on any sports association. However, as we mature as a brand, we will look at spending on other emerging sporting leagues, which have done well since their launch,” he said.
Motwani says, “The last season in kabbadi, hockey league and ISL were successful. The sporting events managed to attract reasonable eyeballs. Any advertiser wants “conversation starters” as part of their image-building exercise and this content has the potential to enable the same.”
Harjeet Singh Chhabra, CMO of Adlabs Entertainment, says though sports properties are expensive, they do deliver. “The expenditure on sports (properties) continues to be expensive, but it does deliver -- if planned and used effectively. We will continue to use sports in a judicious manner to get the best out of what we spend on.”
Marketers to experiment with TV content, but ratings important
Television ratings have always been a key to decision-making for marketers. Marketers said they would be ready to experiment with content, but ratings would still play an important role in their decision-making process.
“Ratings are important from a decision perspective, but they are not always the focus. The biggest example is the channel, Zindagi. Even as their ratings and reach are pretty low for a GEC, but marketers bank on the quality of the content it plays. So brands are open to experiment with content, but it largely depends on how they are received by the audience. A case in point is the mini TV series like Yudh. It was a novel concept with a great star cast in line with hit international shows, but failed to deliver as per expectations,” said Kukreja.
“I believe that more than the absolutes, longitudinal trends hold greater insights for the savvy marketer. Going forward, ratings will remain an indicator, but would need a more comprehensive assessment that also includes an intelligent view on content. However, experimentation and openness to newer content in no means dilute the focus on currency of measurement. We are also watching this space for development on the BARC front, which intends to offer richer and sharper perspective on TV consumption,” says Motwani. Similarly, other marketers are also looking forward to the arrival of BARC in order to get much richer data on consumers.
“All marketers will talk of focus shifting from ratings to content, but will finally the buy is based on ratings. New concepts will emerge and be accepted, but that will not be the mainstream,” said Tripathy.
In 2015, marketers see sports as a key area for investment of spends on TV. With ratings of soaps and reality shows expected to rise, there will be more spends on TV channels offering such content. At the same time, marketers will also be open to experimenting with content.