The coming six months are expected to be hectic as far as inventory and ad sale on television is concerned. With almost back to back events such as the Indian Premier League (IPL), the Lok Sabha Elections 2014 and the FIFA World Cup, there is a lot that the marketers have to deal with. Along with the regular inventory which TV pitches for, there will be other properties that will crave for attention.
Firstly, marketers and media planners have been vocal about the fact that during IPL, which is a big entertainment and sport saga and attracts the bulk of advertising, other mainline GECs offer a better value deal to attract advertisers. Although there is no hard and fast rule to the same, but observers we spoke to have shared that since IPL is a mass event and also attracts female viewership, even FMCG brands line up big budgets for the tournament, which are the core clients for the GECs.
Under such circumstances, GECs pitch more value for money than in regular cases. Chandroo Kalroo, CMO, TTK Prestige said, “GECs offer lucrative deals during the IPL. This may not be in terms of discount in inventory cost, but it certainly gives better value for money. One can demand more for the same amount of money during that time.”
Satyajit Sen, CEO, ZenithOptimedia added here, “There is no discount as such on inventory cost. But value for money on GECs is far more during IPL. Lucrative deals are a flavour of that season. But it also varies from channel to channel on what could be the value proposition.”
Analysts and media observers indicate that considering the size and mass appeal of the IPL, GECs face a dent in their ad-curve during this period. Therefore, to maintain consistency, they offer more, which is a very basic principle of economics, that of demand and supply.
“I think the top three channels do not mould a lot. One can be more flexible with the lower order GECs. But there is definitely no golden rule to it. If one channel offers discount, the other one follows to retain or attract advertisers. During IPL, we do receive lucrative offer deals form GECs,” said Sanjay Tripathi, VP-Marketing, HDFC Life Insurance.
During IPL, GECs refrain from launching big properties. Also, some experts believe that GECs grant more visibility and better placement in the period. Moreover, this is also a time when medium term deals take place for multiple properties.
2014: The year of difference?
According to some observers, though GECs offer flexibility during IPL, it is likely that this year they would be more flexible due to the Lok Sabha elections. “The bulk of the advertising this year would also go to news channels due to the elections. Elections are anyways entertainment and people watch them. Therefore, apart from IPL and general elections, which will happen during the same period, a lot of ad budgets would be allocated to the sports genre. GECs, therefore, might be more flexible this year as compared to last year,” said Kalroo.
GECs citing their huge reach cannot be ignored, but they would face the heat in the first seven months this year. Huge networks, which also have other channels apart from GECs, would position those channels at prime rates. Therefore, a GEC in a network might not be a cash cow for the network as it happened in some cases last year.
“General elections will play a huge spoiler for GECs this year. News will be the second most invested genre after IPL. Then there is FIFA, which also attracts a bulk of male audience across India. GECs would have to share their ad pie with sports and news this year,” said a senior media planner from Bangalore on condition of anonymity.
A highly placed official in a GEC commented, “These things are all time dependent. In case demand for inventory is high, there is no need for us to offer discounted deals. But in case the demand varies, we will adjust accordingly. And given the upcoming elections there will be some constraints, but it is a part of the game.”
GECs, which have always relied upon huge reach and mass appeal, will be facing the first general elections post digitisation. The fragmentation and segmentation of audience, therefore, will be more robust as opposed to the earlier cases. It would be interesting to notice how advertising dynamics shapes up in the coming times.