The latest round of TAM data for the Kolkata market throws up a known yet seldom pondered-upon fact. Among the top four television channels (as per target CS 4+, all day, for the average of weeks 11 to 16) including Star Plus and Sony Entertainment Network, the former rules the channel ratings with a TVR of 4.22. ETV Bangla follows with a TVR of 3.24, while Sony trails at 1.92 and Aakash Bangla at 1.62.
Even if we consider the entire West Bengal, the same trend holds true. Star Plus retains its number one position with a TVR of 4.00 and Sony Entertainment Network at 1.80. The other two of the top four channels being ETV Bangla and Aakash Bangla with TVRs of 3.29 and 1.38 respectively.
Is it surprising to have two Hindi channels amongst the top four in a region dominated by the Bengali speaking gentry? For the industry experts, it is not.
Says PRP Nair, Senior VP, Media Direction, RK Swamy/BBDO: “Unlike South India, the Hindi language finds ready acceptance in the rest of the country. Zee Cinema is a classic example for the Kolkata market, as it has consistently delivered good ratings in the past.”
Reiterating Nair’s viewpoint, Gauresh Pathare, Investment Services Director, Mindhsare Fulcrum, adds: “Anywhere in the country Hindi is considered as one of the main languages. It’s only in Southern India where people are not well versed with it. So, Hindi channels being well accepted in WB is not a surprise.”
All the languages in India, excluding South India, have the same origin in Sanskrit. Therefore, if you are well versed with any one of the languages having roots in Sanskrit, it becomes easier to follow the other Sanskrit-based languages.
But, does the same trend hold true for the print media as well? Do Hindi newspapers find as wide an acceptance as the Hindi TV Channels? Perhaps no.
“Print being a static medium, one has to make an effort to read and understand. A Bengali may be able to understand and speak Hindi, but will have to make an effort in reading and following it, which is the reason why Hindi newspapers are not as popular as the TV channels in WB,” elucidates Nair.
Also, TV is an emotional medium. You may not be able to follow a few words on TV, but as it is a descriptive medium you can get an idea as to what it means. Print on the other hand, is a rational medium. There are no aids to comprehend the message in print, except being well versed in the language,” he adds.
There being distinct leaders amongst the print and the TV medium (for Kolkata, the leading channel is Star Plus, a Hindi-language channel and the leading newspaper is Anand Bazaar Patrika, a Bengali daily), how do the media planners go about a media plan and what are the mechanisms that come into play? Also, which is a more potent medium in this market – TV or print? “For West Bengal, as for the rest of India, print is as effective as TV. Both have their areas of strengths and it would not be wise to compare the two. It all depends on the products being advertised. For example, FMCGs are skewed towards television, whereas white goods, such as Samsung will have a bent towards the print medium,” explains Pathare.
“A case peculiar to the WB market which will actually effect the media mix between Print and TV will be the pricing strategy of the leading newspaper, namely Anand Bazaar Patrika. The newspaper has been hiking its prices very frequently of late and another rate hike will make a strong case for considering other mediums. If the cost efficiency factor is not available, the media mix for WB can change. It doesn’t mean that ABP will not be in the plan, but its presence will be smaller than in the past,” he adds.
Nair supplements his views, saying: “FMCGs opt for TV as it involves a higher gamut of emotions and also is much stronger when it comes to brand building. Corporate advertising and consumer durables prefer the print medium as it has the media multiplier factor to offer.”
The Hindi print medium has a long road to traverse before the Bengalis say ‘Ami tomake bhalobasi’ (in Bengali, I love you), as they are saying to the Hindi TV channels.