Are channels such as National Geographic, Discovery, The History Channel and POGO that offer English language feed good platforms for regional advertisers in the South?
Advertisers in the southern region seem to be turning to these channels just as the ones in the North have been using news channels as well as smaller general entertainment channels to advertise their fare.
According to Ms Monica Tata, Vice-President (Advertising Sales), Turner International India Pvt Ltd, "POGO has been able to attract some of the regional advertisers from the South. In fact, the positive response generated has made several of them want to go national." While the channel is expected to become a Hindi one by next year, the broadcasting company wants to retain an English feed for the southern States.
Some of the advertisers on the channel include Pothy's Silk House, Lion Dates and IQ Topper.
Most of the niche broadcasters currently have two-language feeds. "There are several retail chains, water parks and other such categories that would like to advertise and these channels could be good platforms. The South accounts for 48 per cent of the cable and satellite market and this could be a good strategy," say advertising industry sources.
Media buying agency MPG's Associate Vice-President Mr Narendra Kumar Alambara reckons advertisers such as Pothy's, Lion Dates and IQ Topper would be looking at an audience segment that includes pre-schoolers, children and mothers.
The Chennai-based retailer Pothy's, for instance, might want to target young mothers while IQ Topper and Lion Dates, which advertise on the health plank, would like to appeal to different audience segments, and channels such as POGO offer such a profile, he adds.
But some media planners say it's a route taken by select advertisers. Nevertheless, advertising on these channels by regional players is a cost-effective option. Mr S. Subramanian, Planning Director, Mindshare India, says advertising rates for a 10-second spot on a channel such as POGO could be as low as Rs 800, which is a third of the cost in Cartoon Network. "Although the costs depend on how one structures the deal, POGO can be a good add-on medium for reaching a niche audience." Which means it will be a good medium after the advertiser has explored possibilities in the regional language channels.
However, such decisions also depend on the objective of the advertiser - whether it wants to expand its store or services to other geographical segments or build its brand name in other cities, Mr Subramanian said.
Also, POGO, a free-to-air channel, has emerged as a major niche channel in Chennai, thanks to the Conditional Access System, he says. In fact, CAS in Chennai could have tilted regional brands in favour of POGO, say media planners. This is because regional brands, especially retail chains, aren't that big in other Southern States. Also, Chennai is an important market.