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How individual genres will fare in case of ratings blackout?

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How individual genres will fare in case of ratings blackout?

What happens in the worst case scenario as far as measurement mechanism on television is concerned? What if there is a ratings blackout? Although industry insiders and high-ranked sources have said that Kantar is likely to get a stay from the Delhi High Court, in case a blackout scenario happens, how will it impact the television genres? Which genres are likely to be affected the most?

exchange4media spoke to a cross section of media planners, marketers, and a few broadcasters to know how different genres swill withstand a ratings blackout.

GECs: Effect – High
Observers feel that the General Entertainment Channels, which take a huge chunk of the ad pie are likely to be most affected in case a ratings blackout happens. With economy in moderate spirit, the ad spends are not very upbeat. Given this situation, GECs will face a huge task of selling their inventories in absence of ratings. Although, long term deals and property branding over a period will help, but considering the size of the genre to be big enough, and the fluctuation in the ratings of the daily soaps, ratings determine the final allocation of the money. Absence of ratings would therefore impact ad spends as daily soaps and reality shows cannot be sold in absence of a viewer statistic or perception alone.

As far as English GECs are concerned, ratings do not play a huge role and allocation is usually done on the global popularity and the clout of the show. Therefore, GECs in the English space will not be much affected. However, planners think this would be applicable to the top three channels in the genre only while the remaining channels might face the heat.

Movies: Effect – Moderate
In case of a ratings blackout Movie channels would be sold only on the basis of a robust library. In case the movie acquired by a channel has been a blockbuster, the inventory would be easier to sell and advertisers will continue spending on blockbuster movies which are expected to grab more eyeballs. Although, subsequent premieres would also propel low inventory cost. This would therefore start a perception war among channels while pitching the advertisers. Movie channels might face a little brunt as blockbuster movies cannot be premiered every time and therefore extra focus would be laid on programming and scheduling of movies. ‘Tried and tested’ formats would also be the most preferred and the channel with maximum consumer engagement (not promotion) will drive RoIs.

The same would be applicable to the English movie channels, although the magnitude of money involved would be less.

News: Effect – Minimal
News, because of the contemporary active political environment and upcoming Lok Sabha elections would be the darling of advertisers in the coming months. Usually, advertisers do not rely much on ratings while allocating budget to news channels. Male oriented brands generally buy morning and evening inventory slots on news channels and they will continue doing so as news channels attract maximum number of male audiences during these hours. In any case, FMCG and other advertisers who generally spend on GECs, do not have huge budgets for news channels but citing the upcoming elections advertisers are likely to increase their share of money on news channels ( in the absence or presence of ratings).

In case of ratings blackout, perception and impact would play a huge role in the news genre where every channel (Hindi &English) claims to be number one in one way or the other.

Music: Effect – High
Being a frequency based genre, music channels would be sold purely on perception. According to media planners, music channels do not command a huge chunk of the ad pie and therefore would not matter much. But, ‘only music’ channels might face the heat as there is a high possibility that in case of a ratings blackout the ad spends would shift to youth GECs which are a combination of music and entertainment programmes. Solo music channels therefore would have to slice the ad pie further in case of a ratings blackout.

Sports: Effect – Moderate
Upcoming six months are likely to be “sports active”: FIFA world Cup, IPL, Cricket series involving India, HIL, etc. This would be another frequency genre, but here like movies the ad spends would completely depend upon the acquisition of a high profile property. Advertisers here are usually male oriented brands, which in case of a ratings blackout would completely depend upon the perception and popularity of the sport or the tournament being broadcasted. The genre therefore would not be much affected as upcoming months are high on sports activities and marketers with their TG in the audience would anyway be associated with them.

Regional: Effect – Minimal
The genre would thrive on customised and localised deals with local advertisers. The share of the genre in national ad pie is anyways not much, and therefore, ratings blackout would not impact the genre negatively. Impact and clout in a region will continue being the dominant parameters for the genre and hence the absence of ratings affect here would be minimal.

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Kranti Gada joined the family business at Shemaroo in 2006 after a successful stint of over two years in marketing at Pepsi Co. She has been associated with the company for 12 years.