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Guest Column: The big reality is the emergence of DD Direct as a formidable platform to reach out to the rural audiences Neeraj Vyas, Sony MAX

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Guest Column: The big reality is the emergence of DD Direct as a formidable platform to reach out to the rural audiences Neeraj Vyas, Sony MAX

As we approach the end of 2016, Neeraj Vyas  EVP & Business Head, Sony MAX movie cluster, SPN Network, shares the milestones that shaped the broadcast industry this year.

For the broadcast industry, the most critical reality that unfolded was when BARC’s rural data came in. All of us got to see rural data for the first time and understand who this audience base really is. It helped us get familiar with the patterns that emerged as far as viewership of data was concerned.

What was heartening, from the rural point of view, was the fact that when this set of audiences got to watch quality television for the first time, both in terms of GECs or movie channels, they lapped it up with both hands. This was evident from the reach that each of these channels managed in a short span along with the growing time spent. This indeed has and will encourage the advertisers and broadcasters to take a much closer look at the rural reality.

Though BARC data came with a lot of roadblocks and complexities but with time it has settled and gained acceptance across. I believe that with its own establishment survey being implemented in the course of next year, robustness of data will be far better and a lot more reliable.

One of the biggest realities I observed this year was the emergence of DD Direct as a formidable platform to reach out to the rural audiences with its own potential to keep growing at a very rapid pace.

The other significant thing that happened was the half-baked progression of DAS 3 which was meant to be implemented in a certain way. But it got derailed due to the multiple stay orders that emerged in various markets. Critically, this has left the distribution industry in chaos. Considering distribution is the key revenue driver in the future and that ad sales will stagnate after a certain point, DAS 3 was a very critical decision that the industry had taken. But the partial implementation has led to a lot of switch on and offs, causing confusion.

From a Sony MAX movie cluster perspective, we have had a fabulous year with MAX leading the way for 27 weeks in a row; Sony MAX 2 holding its own in the iconic movie space; Sony MAX HD establishing its niche of being a differentiated product; Sony WAH set the Ganga on fire in the heartland. It was a very satisfying year for us, which could have also led to one of our highest ever sales growths, but the move towards demonetization on the November 8 has unfortunately set us back by a quarter. But while it may have temporarily affected our revenue opportunities, it is certainly a step in the right direction and the nation with its entire 1.25 billion citizens will certainly bounce back and so will most of the product categories who have decided to go slow on this.

My personal forecast for 2017 is that once the country bounces back from the demonetisation (tentatively March 2017 onwards), we should have a fantastic year in terms of growth in a way that it will more than compensate for all the hardships that we faced towards the end of 2016.

The other thing is that I hope that the implementation of DAS 4 will be a lot smoother and less confusing than phase 3 because only then will we can fulfill our dream of seeing a complete digital broadcast reality.

(The author is EVP & Business Head, Sony MAX movie cluster, SPN Network)

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not in any way represent the views of

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