There are two things that will drive the English genre. First is segmentation. Gone are the days when people use to treat English genre as one English channel. Today’s consumers are evolved as they know what they want and are in sync with the content they have been consuming. The key successes will come in the segmented brands. For instance, if you look at our network in the last couple of years the successes that we have achieved have all been in the segmented brands. MN+, the first HD only brand which went beyond the action space the English movies were typically associated with, has been a super success. The one of its kind Romedy Now also has been successful. Same goes for Movies Now 2 which focuses on millennials. In fact it crossed HBO in terms of ratings. So that is the next big thing.
English genre is expected to showcase much larger growth. If you look at macro or any other economic indicators like the theatrical English releases which have started making far more money than earlier, they are competing with top notch Bollywood movies. The day or time is not far enough when Bollywood producers will start aligning their dates with Hollywood movies. In the advent of social media the space has got lot more promotions. Today consumers are abreast of movies and shows. There are so many shows that are not telecasted but are covered and talked about on social media. So English is expected to showcase much larger numbers than what they have been showing in the current scheme of things. That to our mind will be the second big growth parameter.
If everybody is seeing buoyancy in the English space there would be more channel launches for sure.
HD which has been fairly successful in the last few years will also witness growth. The first phase of HD success was driven by DTH sector. In the last year due to digitisation many cables have started focusing on it. In fact they are looking at it as a much wider place to increase their ARPU (Average Revenue per User). At an overall level we should do much better in HD. That should see better growth in next year as well.
The ad rates in this space will definitely see an increase as awareness of English content is growing at an overall level. This will also reflect in ad rates as well. Our expectation is that we will grow at a much healthier pace than the industry.
BARC has done a fabulous job as far as the churning out data in the time period is concerned. Obviously there will be some fluctuation here and there which we are taking up with them. English movies have been fairly stable. The concern is with the English GEC segment. English at a macro-economic level is doing very well with respect to its theatrical revenues. We hope that the same trend is showcased in the television viewership as well. That’s what we are working closely with BARC. It will be a far smoother year for BARC.
The impact of demonetisation is very temporary. It’s a momentary lapse. I think we should not consider this as an indicator of 2017. It did impact for a certain number of months. I don’t see its impact going forward in 2017.
When it comes to GST I don’t think it will come into effect till September and October. It’s a good move from an economic stand point. It will definitely create some flux in the market. Again, the view is that it should not directly impact the businesses and ad sales in particular.
The phase IV of digitisation is important from brand and category perspective. It will mean that a sizeable chunk of population which was not getting access to channels due to bandwidth constraints will suddenly get English channels. Sooner or later they will start reflecting in viewership as well. But at this point in time it doesn’t really impact the business much.
OTT is romanticised by a lot. I think it is here to stay. However, I don’t see its impact on TV businesses in the short and medium run. It will change the way business deals are being done. In India OTT is far more expensive due to bandwidth constraint. Hence I don’t see an immediate impact specifically in 2017.
(The author is Senior Vice President and Head English Entertainment Cluster & Zoom at Times Network)
Disclaimer: The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not in any way represent the views of exchange4media.com