Factual entertainment market in India has three major players—Discovery, NGC and HistoryTV18. According to the FICCI-KPMG 2015 report, The genre occupied only 2% of the overall figure in terms of the ad revenue pie in 2014. This accounts for Rs.310 crore of the total adex of Rs.15,500 crore in 2014. The adex share of this genre is the smallest with only the regional music genre smaller than it at 1.4% adex share.
This is, however, likely to change with growth in the genre expected by new players joining in, apart from the growth in the ad revenues. Media planners expect this to grow up to 7% of the total adex in 2015. As the total adex during 2015 is expected to grow Rs.17,500 crore (Rs.175 billion), the adex of the factual entertainment genre could be expected to rise up to Rs.1,225 crore (Rs.12.2 billion). This is an almost three times more growth in the adex from the previous year. According to sources ad rates in this genre has seen a growth of 45-50% during this year for some channels.
Globally, however, the factual entertainment genre accounts for 18-20% of TV revenues with a viewership of only 12-13% of the total TV consumption. The market size globally of the factual entertainment space is expected to be Rs.1-1.5 lakh crore and could go up to Rs.1.75 lakh crore. Therefore, the market in India for the factual entertainment genre is in its infancy stage.
Reason for new players to enter
As it is still in its infancy stage, this seems as a right time for other players to enter the genre. The factual entertainment genre has seen a lot of activity in recently with the key announcements of more players to enter this genre in India. This included Living Rootz which will be launched under the Living Entertainment brand of Essel Group, Multi Screen Media (MSM)’s joint venture with BBC to launch Sony BBC Earth and TV Entertainment Reality Network (TERN)’s partnership with iTV Network and Trilogic Digital Media to launch Insight in India. The announcements of these three factual entertainment channels came in a span of two months.
The current channels in this genre include Discovery, Animal Planet, Discovery Science, Discovery Turbo, NGC, Nat Geo Adventure, Nat Geo Wild and HistoryTV18. In terms of viewership the genre is still at lower part of the table. According to the latest week 36 to week 40 (August 30 – October 3, 2015) of TAM Telepedia data the infotainment or factual entertainment genre had 1.4% viewership of the total viewership pie. While according to the week 40 BARC data Discovery Channel had a viewership rating of 7.8 million, followed by NGC with 4 million and HistoryTV18 with 3.7 million.
While the factual entertainment genre’s viewership may be lower in comparison to genres such as Hindi GEC, Regional GECs, Kids genre, Hindi Movies and Sports genre, its viewership was higher than many other genres like English GECs, English movies, English News, English Business news and Hindi Business news. Many of these genres which are even lower command higher ad rates than the factual entertainment genre as they are said to attracting premium audiences. However, this is changing as many media planners now are exploring the factual entertainment genre as it attracts the same audience and has become a part of the media plan of many brands. Apart from this the genre is even attracting regional audiences with multiple language feeds. With feeds in multiple regional languages factual entertainment channels are making inroads into rural towns of India.
New entrants to expand the genre
Major networks such as Zee network and MSM were the only players not to be present in this genre. This was one of the major genres missing from their portfolio of channels. With the growth potential of the genre, it made sense for these two major players to enter the market. MSM took the route of getting into a joint venture with BBC. BBC is one of the leading and oldest creators of natural history documentaries and factual content and in fact used to syndicate most of this content to other factual entertainment channels until recently when it decided to start its own channel globally. MSM’s tie up with BBC for launching Sony BBC Earth will be a new player that will add to the competition.
ZEEL’s parent company, Essel Group, will be launching Living Rootz under the Living Entertainment group. It has taken the bold route of creating Indian factual entertainment content as they feel that most of the factual entertainment content comes with the western world perspective and that there is no Asian network that creates its content in this space. They expect to create content and take it internationally, competing with the international factual entertainment networks in even their own markets.
TERN which is a network from the Netherlands, a new player in this space, is looking to gain an edge by being the first to enter the UHD 4K market. Insight in India will be available to viewers in the UHD as well as HD. It is one of the first channels the world over to have all it content produced and broadcasted in UHD.
The new players will take time to establish themselves, but in due in course of time are expected to grow the genre itself. One time considered a niche genre, this genre could now look to break out of the niche.