Television channels have always relied upon film awards for gaining traction both from advertisers and viewers. Not only the award broadcasts, if successful on the viewership front, lift channels up on the ratings scale in the short run; but also enable channels to bet upon the property to generate clout. However, marketers and media planners have always been vocal about the fact that for the audience it does not matter on which channel the award has been broadcast. They usually watch the award because of its credibility and film stars.
Below are all the awards showcased on different channels in the year 2014 till now:
Almost all the awards featured great star cast and support from advertisers. Akash Chawla, Executive Vice President, Marketing, National Channels at ZEEL, Sr. Vice President and Head-Marketing, National Channels-Zee, Project Head-Zee Cine Awards, said, “The award functions generally act as a new business model. Upcoming films and projects are integrated and promoted at times through such awards. Zee Cine Awards are one of the best awards in the industry and are known for their transparency and credibility. Audiences vouch for an award ceremony only if it is credible.” On the ratings front,Chawla said “Ratings are important, but it is not the only parameter. Award functions are also judged by their credibility and brand value.”
Gaurav Banerjee, GM, Star Plus (which aired Star Guild Awards), said, “It is all about artistic creativity. The more a brand is able to showcase that, the more successful the awards are. We acknowledged a film like Lunchbox. It is very important for any award function to award cinema-oriented films and not just star-studded films. The audience is sensible and values the genuineness of awards. Star Guild is one of the biggest film awards on Indian Television.”
Ajit Thakur, GM, Life OK (which aired Screen Awards), mentioned, “It is only two years since we have been launched. Broadcasting big awards like Screen was a big step for us. The line-up, credibility, inspiration and the glamour were blended in the right proportion. We recognised differentiation of cinema in our awards and also merged our content with Bollywood content”.
In general, analysts view awards nights as a genuine traction gainer. Analyst we spoke to believe that major GECs rely on awards to gain sudden boost in viewership to promote their own shows on a large scale. Therefore, people who are not regular audiences to the channel might come to know about a certain property. A senior advertiser associated with the Star Guild Awards, on condition of anonymity, mentioned, “It is not important on which channel the award is showcased. An award night is generally a good watch for a family together and this happens randomly. In many cases, families don’t view award functions as an appointment viewing but randomly land on a channel while channel-surfing. The idea of movie stars performing on stage appeals to them and this enhances traction.”
Broadcasters in general believe that the above theory is not correct and the job of a broadcaster cannot be considered done if one only buys rights. “A lot of marketing needs to be done in order to promote the show. One cannot just relax after buying the broadcasting rights,” said Thakur.
Channels neutralise the inventory factor buy airing the show on multiple channels, which in turn ensures multiple sources of ad inventories. “Commercial viability of awards will be difficult if one does not plan options of revenue. Ad inventories these days are regulated. Multiple channels can therefore help in gaining inventory but merging films with TV is also a very viable option”, said Chawla.
But is associating with an award beneficial for the brand? Kartik Sharma, Managing Director, Maxus, South Asia, said, “It all depends upon the interface of the award show on television and how well a brand integrates with such awards, for instance, the way TATA tea integrated with the IIFA awards last year. Plain vanilla branding on awards will never help an established brand. While broadcasting an award at a national level, ratings are an important parameter, but not the only one. If the awards are broadcast at local level, on ground advertising helps more than on air branding. In a nutshell, brand integration is very important while associating with awards.”