Media houses in Kerala hoping this Onam will make up for losses due to floods

Experts say the media industry in Kerala is slowly attaining normalcy in terms of revenue growth after incurring heavy losses due to floods

e4m by Neethu Mohan
Published: Sep 4, 2019 8:18 AM  | 4 min read

Kerala is all set to celebrate the festival of Onam with the usual fervour on September 11th. Despite rain playing spoilsport, Onam this year gives positive vibes across media houses in Kerala.

After being adversely affected by the floods last year, the Kerala market is attaining normalcy. Onam is a period when the major national and regional brands’ marketing and advertising focus shift to Kerala. It is also a time when brands up their marketing spend by 25-40 per cent in Kerala. Onam season contributes 30 -60 per cent of the total turnover of the media houses in Kerala.

The 2018 Onam was washed out completely in the catastrophic flood which hit the state in the month of August. The media houses in Kerala incurred heavy losses due to the disaster and are now slowly attaining normalcy in terms of revenue growth.

Nevertheless, the heads of media houses are positive about the festivity and are hoping that the losses incurred during last year's flood will be compensated during this festival season. Media houses have hiked their advertisement rates during Onam every year, however, in light of the current situation, most of the media houses have not increased ad rates.

According to Varghese Chandy, VP, Marketing & Ad Sales, Malayala Manorama, Onam is yet to pick up the full flow. “We are hoping it will, in the next few days,'' said Chandy.

Speaking on the ad rate hikes, he commented, “We hike our rates every year in April. This is based on the inflation in input costs and the increase in circulation.”

MV Shreyams Kumar, Joint Managing Director, Mathrubhumi Group is optimistic about the growth in revenue for the festive season.

Speaking to exchange4media Kumar said, “We have already kick-started our two annual Onam roadshow activations (Bhagyavan & Super 10), and many more brand engagement activities to follow. Our objective is to demonstrate various combinations of our media that can effectively drive response across target groups by offering an integrated model and help our clients achieve their festive goals in Kerala.”

According to Unnikrishnan BK, VP, Sales, Asianet News, the market is expecting revenue growth of 30-40 per cent. “On top of the economic slowdown, the rain and floods have spoiled the festive mood of Onam festivities. The market is expecting revenue growth of 30-40 per cent, how much of that will be attained is a matter of doubt.”

He continued, “Coming to Asianet News, Onam inventories are getting filled, but continuous demand for them like in the previous years are lacking. We haven’t increased the advertising rate this year for clients who have supported us in the tough times of floods. Otherwise, we have increased the ad rate by 15-20 per cent, said Unnikrishnan BK.

With Onam approaching, the inventories of the media houses are getting filled. PR Satheesh, COO, MMTV is all positive about the festival season. “Both Manorama News and Mazhavil Manorama have lined up special programs for Onam. Our inventories are full. The ad slots were in a lull state from August 1st to 15th, post 20th the slots are full. We hope to have a good revenue growth for this Onam,” said Satheesh.

C Mathew, Chief General Manager - Marketing, Sales & Distribution, MediaOne TV, said, “Last year was a washout due to flood. However, compared to 2017, this year we have achieved a stupendous 191% growth in Onam revenue.”

According to Siva Kumar R, Business Head, Amrita Television, the channel will attain 10-15 per cent revenue growth as compared to last year. “With the intention of supporting our clients, we haven’t hiked the ad rates this time, added Kumar.

For Shinoy K, Senior Manager Marketing, Deshabimani Daily, Onam vibes are positive as compared to last year. “The Kerala market is slowly changing as there are positive signs since last week,” said Shinoy.

“In my opinion, the Kerala state is limping back to normalcy after the floods that hit the state last year. Most of the media houses have suffered huge losses as the majority of the brands have backed out of the Onam campaigns last year. Considering the situation of this year the flood which hit the state in the month of August has affected northern Kerala very badly and due to that the regional clients will be hesitant to spend for this festival season,” said a media planner based in South India.

He continued, “There will be a growth in the Kerala market compared to the previous year, a growth of 30-40 per cent is assured. The media houses will attain some growth as compared to 2018.”

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