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Rewind 2015: Guest Column: HD as a phenomenon is growing and only set to grow: Vivek Srivastava

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Rewind 2015: Guest Column: HD as a phenomenon is growing and only set to grow: Vivek Srivastava

Vivek Srivastava, Senior Vice President & Head English Entertainment Cluster at Times Television Network writes about the growth of HD segments, impact of social media platforms and growth of e-commerce to sum up the 2015 story.

Growth of HD

HD has been around for a while, Movies Now was in fact the first English movie channel to be launched in HD with a simulcast feed. It’s no secret that once graduated to HD; it’s very difficult to watch your favourite stars or sporting events in standard definition. However, it’s taken more than five years for consumers, and now advertisers, to take notice of the HD boom. There are enough and more advertisers who are now not only investing in HD but in many cases redeploying their spends from other media to HD, a sign of the confidence in the medium. India boasts of around 90mn digital households (DTH + digital cable). Number of HD channels has increased from four in 2010 to nearly 45+ this year and there are around 8mn HD connections. Now, couple this with the fact that around 12mn LCD/ LED TVs are sold in India every year. You would realise that HD as a phenomenon is growing and only set to grow.

Growing Popularity of Hollywood

This year has been great for Hollywood in India. Fast and Furious 7 which released across 2,200 screens in multiple languages, took the box office in India by storm with first-day opening of Rs 12 cr (as a reference point Bajirao Mastani collected 12.8 cr on day 1). The movie went on to gross Rs 100 crore in three weeks. Other notable releases which ruled the box office in 2015 were Avengers, Jurassic World, Mission Impossible. The gross box office collections of the top 10 Hollywood movies increased from Rs 320 cr in 2013 to Rs 420 cr in 2014 and 2015 is expected to cross Rs 650 cr. This is a phenomenal number, which means that India in the next few years will start competing with markets like Australia and Europe on theatrical revenues at least for big franchises.

The Birth of Rural Data

The newly formed Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) released their Rural Data this year. While these are still indicative numbers and it will take time before strategic decisions can be based on this data, however, it did throw a lot of surprises across various genres.  English, for example, received some viewership in rural markets. For some English channels, it was as high as 30 per cent of all viewership that they received in urban markets. Whichever way this data moves, one can’t take away from the fact that second wave of growth for English content consumption will come from smaller towns.

Impact of Social Media platforms

The discussions on Net-Neutrality was around since the ‘Consultation Paper on Regulatory Framework for Over-the-top (OTT) services’ came out in March 2015. Soon after the consultation paper was released, 50 artists, journalists, techies and lawyers got together and started #savetheinternet campaign. Initially, the public response was muted, but it all changed when comedy group AIB uploaded a nine-minute video simplifying net neutrality, highlighting the issues and giving suggestions to the regulators. The response was unprecedented. Within 12 days over a million emails (including mine) were sent to TRAI. In a month’s time, news was abuzz with companies, pledging their support for net neutrality and walking out of restrictive platform partnerships. The campaign was proof of the growing influence of social media platforms and celebrities.

 Year of hope and optimism

Above all, 2015 was a year of hope and optimism. Categories like automobiles, which were cautious in their spends over the last few years, came back with new launches, variants and increased ad spends. The FMCG saw quite a few launches in the premium category, but the driving category was e-commerce for the entire media sector. The ad cycle for Diwali upsurge is typically four weeks, however, this year there were advertisers which had Diwali and pre-Diwali offers. Some e-commerce players had offers running six weeks before Diwali. There is general buoyancy in trade and media owners (obviously) benefitted by it.

But, amidst all this, the real beneficiary was the consumer. Whether it was about deals on e-commerce sites or great international content at their nearest theatre, they have made merry. They have been informed, pampered and entertained.

The author is Senior Vice President & Head English Entertainment Cluster at Times Television Network.

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