Today, advertising plays an important role when it comes to looking at the business angle of news. With news channels spending large sums on distribution, revenues coming from advertising brands cannot be cornered. This angle of television news was explored at the exchange4media NewsNext 2010 conclave in Delhi on September 1, in the session titled ‘News Television’s Role for Brands’.
The session was moderated by Maheshwar Peri, President, Outlook India and the speakers included Abdul Khan, Marketing Head, Tata DoCoMo, and Jasmin Sohrabji, CEO, Omnicom Media Group.
In a country where GECs and Sports channels rule the charts, how do advertisers really leverage upon news channels for advertising their brands, questioned Peri. Singularly pointing out on news channels, Peri questioned the panel of speakers, “Do we need television news to make a brand? Where does television news fit in a market of GECs and newspapers?”
Justifying the relevance of news channels for brands, Jasmin Sohrabji said, “The concept of differentiating news as a genre and singling it out is not fair.” She added that television news has always been relevant and is more relevant now because of the widening target audience and brands. In the present scenario a balanced mix of both males and females are addressed by advertisers and therefore, news channels are as important as GECs when it comes to communicating a brand.
Abdul Khan suggested that the country should stop looking at news as a conventional channel. He gave the example of how online media and online videos have taken over the multimedia world, explaining how such videos have made news too. He said, “A single genre alone cannot make a brand and hence every genre, including news is vital.”
Talking of fragmentation and the decision making for the number of channels for a brand, Sohrabji said, “Fragmentation is not a reason to worry. The number of channels depends on the kind of products being advertised and the connection that different channels have with the product and its consumers.”
However, there may be a notion regarding contextual advertising when news channels are covering a serious issue and yet brands advertise. On this issue, Khan said, “Consumers today are savvy enough to understand and distinguish a product from tragic news.”
Peri also discussed the interplay between TRPs and the ambience of news channels, to which Sohrabji said that if a brand wants more reach, TRPs definitely work. However, she added that the role of quality is growing and the connection of a television channel with its viewers is very important.
Abdul Khan concluded the session saying that a paradigm shift required and news channels need to occupy the mind space of the advertiser as well. News channels need to go above the concept of ‘breaking news’ and go beyond the box.