With IPL here to lift festive season spirits, TV biz looks at higher ad revenue share

Industry players believe the Indian Premier League coinciding with the festive season will not have a negative impact on GECs but will rather increase the overall TV viewership and the advertising pie

e4m by Sonam Saini
Updated: Aug 11, 2020 9:14 AM

This festive season while the celebrations are expected to be muted and low key, the media and advertising industry is optimistic that the Indian Premier League (IPL) will add some much-needed cheer across mediums.

While TV viewership is certain to see an unprecedented viewership, experts predict a power-packed festive season giving TV a much needed boost in ad revenues too.

There were some apprehensions about the properties biting into each other’s viewership but most industry players say that the impact would not be a major one.

“The more the merrier,” says Ashish Sehgal, Chief Growth Officer - ad revenues, ZEEL. “The audience is still at home and IPL coming this festive season will only give viewers more options to watch. The viewers or target audience for both IPL and GECs are different. While the IPL target audience is primarily male, GECs have a largely female viewership. I don’t think it is going to impact the GECs, in fact it will only increase the overall TV viewership.”

With regards to ad revenue generation, Sehgal said: “I see IPL as an opportunity for the total advertising pie going up. Brands that cannot afford IPL will increase the advertising share on other genres. The net impact is going to be positive for the broadcasters.” He also shared that ZEEL will be launching new shows across regional languages and other GECs too will continue to do so during the festive season.

The timing of the matches will also be crucial since this year the 53-day tournament will witness 10 afternoon matches starting at 15:30 IST while the evening matches will start at 19:30 IST. This could have an impact on the viewership of general entertainment channels (GECs).

However, it is to be noted that the festive season is when most GECs launch their impact properties like Dance India Dance, Indian Idol, KBC or Bigg Boss and also introduce new shows in the fiction category to lure audiences and advertisers. Experts believe this year broadcasters might rejig the schedule of the launch of these big properties but IPL taking place during the festive season will not have a negative impact on the genre. Most say that both properties together will push not just the overall viewership but also increase the advertising pie of the TV industry as a whole.

K Srinivas Rao, National Director-Buying, MediaCom, believes that considering the dearth of action in the cricketing world, IPL viewership is likely to see a huge jump. "IPL without doubt is one of the biggest media properties in India. And there is also no doubt IPL always has put a dent on the viewership of GECs especially in the Prime Time when the matches are on. However, the festive season is also the time when most GECs launch their flagship impact properties like Bigg Boss and KBC and these properties also have their own loyal fanbase or audiences. While there could be a bit of impact in terms of viewership on these properties, due to their longer runs they would regain the traction once IPL is over.”

From an advertiser’s point of view, while IPL is a big impact platform, other GEC properties have their own role to play in their media plans, Rao said. “IPL might not be able to allow all brands to showcase the brand proposition through product usage in the way the big impact programmes can. While there could be lower traction for these properties in the presence of IPL, for advertisers who are not able to get onto IPL due to category restrictions, there is no better or bigger platform than these impact properties."

With regards to brands, Jitin Negi, Senior Director, Business, Carat India, says: “Both IPL and format shows have their own brands that were built on them and thus, we will not be seeing a major shift in preference of properties but there will be a few advertisers who will need both the formats on TV to achieve their marketing objectives and there will be many who will work on multiple TV+ Digital combinations for IPL & Formats shows.”

He further added, “IPL does command a brand love and it can be seen with the increased viewership on TV and advertiser’s interest in the sporting event. We do see a marginal dip in GEC and News genre viewership during IPL, however, at the same time viewership of IPL continues to increase. This festive season will see a bonanza of entertainment for viewers with IPL in its new avatar along with the flagship properties of big networks. We would definitely see a surge in the TV viewership but it would be interesting to see if TV is able to get its impressions back from digital media. However, it will be difficult to access with no single monitoring system for the digital platforms. Also, it will be interesting to see how viewers will adjust themselves and the impact it will have on the original and repeat telecasts for each of the properties.”

On the other hand, Karan Taurani, Vice President, Elara Capital, believes that broadcasters might do some rejig in their schedule this year versus last year. “The non-fiction shows with big stars aren't going to start anytime soon and dates will mostly get rejigged versus last year. The viewership might see mere drop but it is not going to impact GECs in a negative way.”

As far as the advertisers’ portfolio for IPL is concerned, he said that is very different from GECs as both target a different set audience. “In GEC they target the mainstream crowd mostly housewives/ females/ family as a TG whereas in the case of cricket it's a family male/ youth dominated crowd. In terms of impact there shouldn't be a larger impact as such because the target audience is very different. There will be some kind of shift from non-fiction GECs to IPL because IPL is the only cricketing property happening in the entire year.”

In terms of advertising, Taurani shared that lots of advertising has now been stalled because of uncertainty. Lot of advertisers would actually want to see where the market is moving. The month of July in terms of advertising was not as good as June as a lot of the advertisers are waiting to put their money into IPL. IPL is expensive property but eyeballs are guaranteed. There could be a minor proportion of advertising that can move away from GEC. I think both will be winners.”

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