Even as entire Maharashtra readies to welcome Ganpati to their homes from September 3, Marathi channels, too, are gearing up to celebrate Ganesh Mahotsav with a slew of programmes. Given the festivities and tremendous marketing activities around the festival, Ganesh Mahotsav is a major event in the calendar of marketers, media planners, and of course, the general public.
exchange4media speaks with some major Marathi channels and media planners to find out what people can look forward to during the 10-day festival.
Contests, programmes galore
Zee Marathi has lined up quite a few programmes around the festival. Care has been taken to make them as interactive as possible and cover every aspect of Ganesh Mahotsav right from Ganesh Sthapna till Ganesh Visarjan. Various contests have been lined up, such as best pandal, home décor contest, drawing competitions for kids, etc. Zee Marathi will also have on-ground viewer interaction, traditional musical show ‘Dhol Tashe’ and Visarjan.
Similarly, Zee 24 Taas, too, has planned some contests during the festival period for its viewers. These include the Zee 24 Taas Ganpati Modak (a recipe contest), best Ganpati Mandal contest across Maharashtra, and best eco-friendly household Ganpati decoration contest. These contests are being sponsored by tea brand Parivar (Ganpati Modak contest), Tata Indicom (best Ganpati Mandal), and Idea & Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (best eco-friendly household Ganpati decoration).
Star Majha will have ‘Bappa Majha’, wherein there will be a variety of programmes spread the 10 days from September 3 to 14. The main activity of Bappa Majha would be the Star Bappa Ganesh festival competition, claimed to be the largest and only competition involving pandals from all over Maharashtra. It will be conducted in all regional centres, including Mumbai, Thane, Pune, Nasik, Nagpur, Aurangabad and Kolhapur. Star Majha will also have a ‘Household Ganesh’ competition.
Besides these contests, there will be programmes like ‘Morya Morya’, ‘Pot Puja’, ‘Dev Majha’, ‘Ganesh Darshan’, and ‘Asht Vinayak Darshan’, among others. Star Majha will also telecast extensive live coverage of the Ganpati celebrations in Mumbai, Pune and Nagpur through its special bulletins.
The impact on the channels ratings, share and ad revenues
Nikhil Sane, Business Head, Zee Marathi, said, “In terms of ratings, there is no major fluctuation observed on the channel, leading to a consistent performance.”
On expected ratings, Bhushan Khot, VP and Business Head, Zee 24 Taas, said, “Ganesh coverage will definitely increase ratings as only a genuine Marathi news channel can cover such Marathi-centric cultural festival in an authentic way. All Marathi viewers are definitely going to be glued to our channel, and we have already started generic promos to promote the contest and festivals.”
He added, “We are expecting 20 per cent of additional revenue through these activities for the month of September.”
Star Majha officials, who do not wish to be quoted, said that the Marathi news genre had come into being about a year ago, hence it would be unfair and unrealistic to comment on the absolute ad spend this year. The entire programming exercise was being done to build brand ‘Star Majha’, they added.
A Star Majha official admitted that Ganeshotsav coverage did have an impact on channel ratings. The channel share of Star Majha had gone up by 50 per cent during last year’s Ganesh Mahotsav period, the official claimed.
Separate packages for separate clients during Ganeshotsav
Nikhil Rangnekar, Executive Director, India – West, Starcom Worldwide, said, “Ganesh Mahotsav is popular mainly in Maharashtra and the coverage is watched with a lot of interest among Maharashtrian audiences. Few years back, it was only DD Marathi that covered the festival. Now private channels have taken it to a much higher level in terms of content – the things they cover and the professionalism with which they cover them.”
He further said, “The last couple of years have seen channels like Zee Marathi and others giving a lot of importance to this festival and creating packages around it.”
On ad rates, Rangnekar said, “Channels typically do not increase rates during this time, but yes, they create separate packages for clients who want to sponsor this coverage. National clients/ brands remain active during this period, but you also see a lot of local clients trying to ride on the popularity of this festival. Jewellers and saree manufacturers are categories that ride this wave.”
Imran Karim, Media Director, TME, said, “Considering the eyeball game, it is very logical to ride on the festival tide to make the presence felt for across the market. To establish a strong cultural connect and make the brand communication approachable, Ganesh festival is explored with various facets by keeping the festival as ‘Core’.”
He further said, “Unlike the South market, no big changes have been happening in terms of viewership on Marathi channels as the festivities are more to do with on-ground than on-air.”
Karim added that the festival was a time when channels came up with different revenue models. Although they don’t get differential rates from regular advertisers, they do get a good amount of BTL business for this festival.
Local/ retail advertisers come on board with differential rates as compared to regular advertisers on channels. FMCG, telecom, local and retail advertisers become active during this period as these are the sectors for whom cultural connect matters a lot.