It was the Thursday of week beginning May 9, 2004 when the General election results were announced. And for once they commanded a channel share worth writing home about. Needless to say that the increase in the news genre was at the expense of other segments with mass general entertainment being hit the most. Are planners thrilled with what they got?
A look at the ratings first. To understand the increase the election week witnessed, let us compare the share of news channels in week 19 and 20. For the target, CS ABC 15+ in Hindi speaking markets, the new genre claims an increase to 14.84 per cent from week 19’s 8.27. In contrast, mass entertainment channels’ share went down to 29.89 in week 20 from 33.22. If we look at the target CS ABC 25+ male, the swing is even sharper from 11.66 to 19.24 for news channels and from 28.66 to 25.59 for mass entertainment channels.
A look at the D-day now – Thursday, May 13. For C&S ABC 15+, news channels had a share of 30.61, while mass channels were at 28.12. And the channel share was 35.94 and 22.61 respectively for news and mass entertainment channels for C&S, ABC 25+ male in same markets. While in terms of numbers the genre has registered a substantial increase, does it make the planners smile?
“They are as per our expectations,” replies Partha Ghosh, Vice President, The Mediaedge, “We were looking at the channels delivering male TGs and we had correspondingly made our presence on the news channels.”
“They certainly have delivered the numbers that was expected,” adds Pat Vinayak, Carat, “I think the way the elections turned out have played an important part in this. Had the results matched with what the exit polls threw, the interest level wouldn’t have been this high. It was the surprise factor of the elections, with Congress winning, that has delivered the numbers.”
She further goes on to explain that the dip in other genres was expected. Says she, “We are talking about General elections! Nothing else can be more exciting. Mass channels being the largest delivering genre will be affected the most. These are factors that one keeps in mind even while drawing the media plans and then spots are scheduled accordingly.”
“There are hardly any non-viewers that come on board, so yes, you know that it the same audience that keeps moving depending on the occasion. And because you expect the audience to switch to specific channels, you expect the numbers to increase,” quips Ghosh.
However, where planners are satisfied with the ratings, not all believe that the deals were cost efficient. Nandini Dias, National Media Director, Interface Communications, throws some light on this, “In terms of TVRs, May 13 are good numbers but if we compare them to the rates that a few channels were charging, there is complete disproportion actually meaning that if a planner had paid more than 13-14 per cent premium for any of the deals, then it was a bad one because the channels have not thrown that kind of ratings.”
Dias informs that most channels had charged premiums for the election period, except for Aaj Tak. She says there have been deals where advertisers have even paid 100 per cent premiums, “It is in these cases that it isn’t just a matter of being cost effective but actually getting bad deals. But in cases like Aaj Tak, where the ad rates were not changed at all, ratings like May 13 were definite value for money to advertisers.”
Looking at channel specific ratings, Aaj Tak has cornered three times the channel share in comparison to most other channels, in effect throwing more numbers than the channel has managed in recent past. Looking at the ratings of May 13 specifically, Aaj Tak garners a channel share of 9.46 for the target, CS, ABC 15+ in the Hindi speaking markets. NDTV follows with a 5.74 channel share. STAR News and Zee News get a 3.63 and 3.24 respectively. DD News manages 3.18 and Sahara Samay 2.69. Needless to say, all these numbers further increase when the male target is observed.
Another factor that planners point to is that the electronic counting system might have just spoilt the election period for news channels. “Had it been manual counting, certainly viewers would have been glued for days rather than hours and news channels have lost out on those eyeballs,” expresses Ghosh.
All said, the numbers that news channels have managed are far higher than what they otherwise do and in that sense, the Olympics of news channels, that is the elections, have delivered for the genre. And how satisfied is a planner, depends on the premium he or she paid!