Counting Day: Media houses down South expecting 40-50% spike in ad revenue

Traffic on digital platforms of news networks like Manorama Online and Mathrubhumi News too set to increase manifold today, say industry heads

Election

Today, as India waits for the results of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, media houses have left no stone unturned to make the most of the day.

Down South, news channel networks are all set to provide viewers with first-hand information all through the Counting Day. Since the beginning of the election season, which started in April, media houses have witnessed a spike in both viewership and website traffic. 

There has been a corresponding hike in advertisement rates too, and the revenue generation is only expected to surge on the Counting Day. Some industry experts also say the news channel viewership will even beat GEC ratings today. 
Unnikrishnan BK, VP Sales, Asianet News, expects the viewership to rise 500-600 per cent, when compared to normal news days.

“We are standing tall in the Malayalam news space, despite the fact that we have been facing negative campaigning for the plain-spoken stand that we have taken for election reporting,” Unnikrishnan said. 

“Coming to viewership, last time we stood close to GEC ratings and this time we expect the viewership to jump 500-600% as compared to normal days. There will be a good rise in the revenue too, and we expect over 50% spike in revenue.”

The 2019 Lok Sabha elections was a long one and the results are one of the most-anticipated ones even at a Global level, observed PR Satheesh, COO, MMTV. 

Speaking on the viewership pattern, Satheesh said, “We expect a clear surge in the viewership of news as a genre across the country and certainly in a politically evolved and literate state like Kerala, which consumes a significant portion of content in Malayalam.”

“During the 2016 Kerala assembly elections, the viewership had increased 4 to 5 times than the normal days for news channels. The overall viewership of Malayalam news channels has seen close to a 50% increase in viewership during 2018. The December election results took that number up by another 40-50%. This, being a National election of significant importance, we expect the numbers to go up by at least 3-4 times the daily average. It won't be surprising if it goes up more than that too,” Satheesh added. 

Speaking about the revenue rise expectations, he said, “The overall advertising sponsorships and spot bookings have been good. The effect of last year’s floods have been put behind with a good start across genres in Malayalam TV and more so in news.”

Manorama Online - the digital platform of Malayala Manorama group - is looking to overshoot their previous Best Page Views and double their revenues during the poll counting day. 

“We are looking at overshooting our previous best UVs (Unique Visitors),  PVs (Page Views), and time spent, by at least 30% and double the revenues as compared to the last polls,” said Boby Paul, General Manager – Manoramaonline. 

According to Srinivas Murthy, VP, Marketing, TV5 Network, 90-95% of TV viewers will tune into news channels during the poll counting day. 

“The 2019 parliamentary elections have been the most-anticipated elections in the recent history of India. We expect TV viewership to rise 40-50% as compared to the 2018 Telangana elections. The revenue generated will be around 40% more compared to the 2014 Lok Sabha elections,” Murthy said. 

Mathrubhumi News too has witnessed huge traction in terms of viewership during the election period. 

“We have witnessed massive traction on our news channels and digital platform during the election period. The digital section has broken all our previous records in terms of Page Views and Unique Visitors. There is a huge chance that the viewership data of all the mediums in Kerala combined will be the highest in the recent past,” said Philip Jose, Head Media Solutions, TV, Radio, Digital – Mathrubhumi. 

Karan Abhishek Singh, CEO-Languages at Network 18, expects the viewership to surpass that of the IPL finale and the network to gain huge numbers with their unique programming.

“We have seen huge traction from advertisers across all regional markets. The advertisers place a lot of trust in our ability to provide the most extensive, reliable and scientific coverage for the elections. This has been proven over the last many elections. And yes, more interest from advertisers translates into better revenues. We are in line to deliver record high revenues across our businesses. Counting Day brings up the curtain on the festival of democracy. With our robust programming gearing up for that, we are sure that the advertisers will benefit from the eyeballs that we will deliver with our unique programming,” said Singh. 

In respect of revenue generation, Krishna Kumar, Sales Consultant at Whisper Media, said, “There should be a revenue increase of 25 to 30% in each of the South markets.” 

“In the South Indian market, a premium rate of an average of 1 lakh to 1.5 lakh per ten seconds has been set by leading regional news channels that too in the middle of the peak hours, between 7 hours to 14 hours time band. We can expect a viewership increase of at least 40 to 50% in regional news channels, especially markets like Kerala and Andhra Pradesh on the counting day, predominately during the day. One can see more Aston bands and other Non FCT components which might have more additional revenue,” said Kumar. 

Speaking about digital platforms, Kumar said, “There will be a substantial increase in traffic on the websites and online platforms, mainly because most news channels have already started focusing on their websites and respective OTT platforms and started making additional revenue. Thanks to the Digital pioneers, it’s because of their consistent effort and perseverance for the last few years that a certain percentage (at least 15% allocation) of budget is getting allocated since the beginning of the FY and the same will be reflected during the election period as well.”

“Interestingly, WhatsApp has also been adding more value and traffic to the news sites with updates and interesting election stories with numbers. 2019 should be a fruitful year for most news channels,” Kumar concluded. 

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