Big four broadcasters mulling return to DD Free Dish?

Sources say the rationale behind exiting DD Free Dish earlier this year was to arrest the decline in pay DTH base, but the gamble doesn't seem to have paid off

e4m by Javed Farooqui
Published: Aug 3, 2022 8:09 AM  | 8 min read

The media industry is abuzz with talks of big broadcasters contemplating a return to DD Free Dish. Sources in the industry say that broadcasters like Disney Star, ZEEL, Culver Max Entertainment (Sony), and Viacom18 are planning to relaunch their Hindi GECs Star Utsav, Zee Anmol, Sony Pal, and Colors Rishtey on the free direct-to-home (DTH) platform.

The four broadcasters had decided to exit their Hindi GECs from DD Free Dish just four months back. However, they are facing a double whammy of loss of ad revenue due to a drop in GRPs of the Hindi GECs even as the subscription revenue remains under pressure due to the migration of customers to alternate platforms like DD Free Dish and over-the-top (OTT) video streaming. Star Utsav, Zee Anmol, Sony Pal, and Colors Rishtey air re-run content from their pay Hindi GEC siblings.

In March, the Big four broadcast networks had decided to pull out their Hindi GECs from DD Free Dish due to pressure from pay DTH platforms like Tata Play, Airtel XStream, and Dish TV. The pay DTH platforms have been losing subscribers to DD Free Dish, which has become a TV distribution behemoth with an estimated customer base of over 40 million.

The DTH players believe that the availability of premium content from leading broadcasters has aided the growth of DD Free Dish as a leading distribution platform. Since the broadcasters earn a large chunk of their subscription revenue from DTH, they yielded to the pressure from the DTH lobby.

Emails sent to Disney Star, ZEEL, Sony, and Viacom18 remained unanswered till the time of filing of this report.

Sources in the TV distribution industry say that the rationale behind exiting DD Free Dish earlier this year was to arrest the decline in pay DTH base as it is hurting the pay revenues of the broadcasters. They added that the big four broadcasters sacrificed ad revenues to protect their pay revenues. However, the gamble doesn't seem to have paid off as any gain in pay revenue is not commensurate with the likely loss in ad revenue. The four Hindi GECs collectively earn an estimated Rs 1200-1400 crore ad revenue every year.

"The big four broadcasters will definitely return to DD Free Dish later this year since the objective with which this decision (to exit DD Free Dish)  was taken has not been met. There is no evidence that the pay revenues have seen much of an upside despite the move to remove Hindi GECs from DD Free Dish. On the other hand, the broadcasters have sacrificed a large amount of ad revenue to ensure that the decline in pay universe can be brought under control," an ad sales official from a broadcast network said on the condition of anonymity.

"Under the current macroeconomic backdrop television ad market has remained soft for broadcasters this year. The pull-out resulted in further loss of ad revenues without any win-backs in pay-TV subscriptions. The strategy seems to have backfired forcing leading networks to reconsider their decision," said Media Partners Asia VP Mihir Shah.

Concurring with this view, a senior ad sales executive from another network said that the decision to return to DD Free Dish should be a no-brainer as the loss in ad revenue is too significant to be overlooked. "The four GECs collectively earned around Rs 1200 crore in ad revenue. There hasn't been major growth in the pay revenues as was anticipated. Therefore, removing channels from DD Free Dish has proved to be a costly affair for big broadcasters," the executive said.

He added that the loss of big networks hasn't resulted in big gains for independent networks and channels as the BARC ratings show that the GRPs lost by the former haven't got redistributed among the other players. "For some reason, those GRPs have just disappeared as the smaller channels have not seen much of a gain from the exit of top networks. The viewership gains by smaller Hindi GECs and other genres are negligible," the executive said.

A source in the TV distribution industry said that the pay revenues of the broadcasters have not seen a full recovery after the twin setbacks of price freeze due to the New Tariff Order (NTO) 2.0 and the pandemic. He also conceded that the bet to reduce subscriber churn from pay DTH to DD Free Dish has not achieved the desired results.

"DD Free Dish continues to grow despite the exit of big four broadcasters. The decision of these broadcasters had, at best, slowed down the growth of DD Free Dish but there has not been any appreciable gain in the pay DTH base. In fact, the pay universe as a whole continues to shrink due to OTT and DD Free Dish taking away the top and bottom end of the consumers. Even the customers in the mid-segment are exercising their options thanks to AVOD platforms," the source said, adding that the cable TV companies are also seeing a decline in their subscriber base.

Endorsing this view, a top official from a leading DTH company said DD Free Dish will continue to grow no matter what the broadcasters do. He also stated that the growth in DD Free Dish base should be seen as a silver lining as these consumers continue to remain in the TV universe, unlike the cord-cutting that is prevalent in the urban markets. "DD Free Dish continues to expand despite the move by big four broadcasters. This is an irreversible trend and there is very little anyone can do about it. The good part is that those customers have continued to remain under the TV fold," the official said.

Ad revenue impact of DD Free Dish exit

Media planners say that the ad revenue loss due to exit from DD Free Dish ranges in the high double digits. As mentioned above, the total advertising revenue collected by the four channels stood at an estimated Rs 1200 crore.

"When the big broadcasters moved away from the FTA platform their viewership numbers fell drastically. These channels were always bought mainly on CPRP metric, so the moment their efficiencies dropped, the advertisers pulled out their ad spends. It was a double whammy as these channels lost the GRPs as well as ad revenues. These channels had pulled out from DD Free Dish in 2019 also and they came back in 2020, they had been through a similar situation with other external factors also in play. But this time around the loss has been larger, as advertising was in full swing in comparison to what it was in 2020," said Dentsu-owned Amplifi's Chief Investment Officer Sujata Dwibedy.

She added that they have to come back to DD Free Dish in order to recoup their ad revenue loss. "Without the DD Free Dish numbers, they cannot be compared even with the second-rung Hindi GECs. Also, the space left by the big broadcasters was getting filled by independent broadcasters. Overall in the Hindi Speaking Markets, we have seen around 15-20% of GRP drop. On top of it, with the shift from the Free Dish platform, these channels faced a much tougher situation," she added.

Dwibedy noted that some new entrants and existing smaller channels did gain at the expense of big broadcasters. However, the return of the big Hindi GEC brands will spoil the party for smaller channels, she averred.

"We also need to note that DD Free Dish allows the broadcasters to reach out to a huge audience, the masses, which becomes a critical platform for advertisers who are also targeting that same audience. For the period that these channels have not been on DD Free Dish, they would have easily lost 40-45% of their ad revenue, maybe slightly more in the last 3-4 months. If the big channels come back, the independent networks will definitely see an impact on their viewership shares," she contended.

The return of the big four-owned Hindi GECs to DD Free Dish spells good news for advertisers as well. "With the return on DD Free Dish, the channels are expected to get back their viewership and also regain the lost advertising revenue. For advertisers, this leads to cost-efficient options to reach out to the lower NCCS and tier-2, tier-3 towns India as well as rural India," Dwibedy stated.

Zenith SVP & National Head - Media Buying Ramsai Panchapakesan said that the collective ad revenue earned by the four channels would be Rs 1350 to 1400 crore. He added that the overall GRPs got completely disrupted because of the decision to stay out of DD Free Dish by the broadcasters.

"It's been a double whammy for the broadcasters as they were hoping that DD Free Dish customers would move to pay DTH platforms, however, the pullout didn't translate into acquiring viewership through paid distribution model. The subscription revenue for FTA has not helped much in revenue gains hence there is unsolicited stress. In terms of FTA ad revenue, almost 90% of the estimated Rs 1350 to 1400 crore got impacted because it has not gone to anyone else. It has also put pressure on the market as the demand for TV inventory in the FTA space has increased. When the demand increased, the broadcasters managed to maximise their revenue but that maximisation has not compensated for the loss in FTA ad revenue, due to overall GRPs dip across market except very few regional markets," he elaborated.

Panchapakesan stated that the return of the big four to DD Free Dish may be a turning point decision to attract audiences from Tier-2 and 3 markets. "This will help boost the GRPs to meet the demand situation in the market," he asserted.

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Zee Media’s Daiba Pradeep Roy joins Mitwa TV as National Sales Head

Roy has more than 21 years of experience in media sales.

By exchange4media Staff | Jan 27, 2023 12:00 PM   |   1 min read

Daiba Pradeep Roy

Daiba Pradeep Roy who was the National Sales Accounts Head with Zee Media Corporation has joined Mitwa TV as National Sales Head.

Mitwa TV is a new age subscription free premium OTT platform for 45+ Crore audiences spread across Hindi Heartland. Roy will lead the sales team nationally and be responsible for revenue generation at MitwaTV.

A veteran media professional, Daiba has more than 21 years of experience in media sales. Prior to his tenure in ZMCL, Pradeep was heading the Business Team, at ETV a Subsidiary of Network 18 Media, where he was designated as Business Head.

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‘GEC genre ad volume went up in 2022’

According to a TAM AdEx report, 2022 saw GEC claiming the highest share, 28.5%, in overall TV ad volumes since 2018

By exchange4media Staff | Jan 27, 2023 8:50 AM   |   2 min read


The general entertainment channel (GEC) genre witnessed a 2% increase in ad volume in 2022 compared to 2021. According to TAM AdEx - Rewinding 2022 for GEC Channel Genre on TV report, 2022 had the highest ad volumes since 2018, with a 29% increase in 2022 compared to 2018.

As per the report, the third and fourth quarters of the year 2022 saw more ad volumes than the first and second. The report also stated that 2022 saw the highest GEC share i.e 28.5% of overall TV ad volumes since 2018.  

During both 2022 and 2021, Hindi GEC topped with more than 20% share of the GEC channel genre’s ad volumes. The top five subgenres accounted for around 69% share of ad volumes during 2022. 

Meanwhile, the count of categories and advertisers on the GEC genre dropped in Q3-Q4 '22 over Q2’22, whereas the count of brands peaked in Q3 '22. As per the report, Food & Beverages sector topped with 28% share of the GEC genre’s ad volumes, followed by Personal Care/Personal Hygiene with 20% share. Additionally, Biscuits and Aerated Soft Drinks were the new entrants among the top 10 categories. 

HUL, Reckitt Benckiser and Brooke Bond Lipton India retained their top three positions as advertisers during both 2021-22. Coca-Cola India and Procter & Gamble Home Products were the new entrants among the top 10 advertisers in 2022. Also, over 2800 advertisers were present on GEC on 2022. 

Meanwhile, over 800 exclusive advertisers were present on GEC with  Ullu Digital leading the list in GEC genre followed by Mangalam

Over 5600 brands advertised on GEC in 2022 with Dettol Antiseptic Liquid leading the top brand list followed by Harpic Power Plus 10x Max Clean. Also the top four brands were from Reckitt Benckiser (India).


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‘IPL on TV provides scale and impact for brands across categories’

At e4m TV First conference, a diverse panel of brand leaders touched upon how associating with IPL on television brings instant reach at scale and unlocks newer audiences for their brands

By exchange4media Staff | Jan 25, 2023 7:20 PM   |   4 min read

tv first panel

IPL on television has been an advertiser’s delight across categories. The sheer scale of the platform and its ability to drive instant results for brands makes it a preferred medium for impact.  At the e4m TV First conference held in Mumbai on Tuesday, a panel discussion was held on the topic, ‘Television - The chosen destination for IPL viewing.’ The panel was chaired by Vanita Keswani, CEO, Madison Media Sigma - Madison World and consisted of Anjali Krishnan, Head of Media, Mondelez India, Ajay Dang, President, Head - Marketing, Ultratech - Aditya Birla Group, Lalitha Nayak, In Charge - Marketing, NPCI, Nilesh Malani, CMO, Polycab and Girish Hingorani, Head - Marketing & Ecommerce, Cooling & Purification Appliances Group, Blue Star Limited.

Ajay Dang started the discussion with his thoughts on television advertising on IPL, which according to him, is distinct for brands in terms of viewer receptiveness and engagement. “IPL on television is a brilliant platform in terms of the number of eyeballs and effective storytelling of brand messaging. I think as marketers, there are a few shining examples like Mondelez, which have leveraged the platform fabulously well. It is a fabulous platform to engage with viewers.”

Nilesh Malani then spoke about how Polycab built their brand at the back of IPL associations on television since 2018. “At Polycab, the brand building exercise started maybe a decade ago. The philosophy was let's reach out to the heartland of the country from a distribution point of view and supply chain point of view. That's where we started going to consumers and we wanted to reach out in the most effective and faster way. IPL on TV gave us the best reach in the shortest period of time. So that's the reason we chose IPL. Then in 2019, we went public. And again, we wanted to reach out to consumers with a larger portfolio of products. That's where we decided to continue our journey on IPL.”

Anjali Krishnan gave some valuable insights in terms of how brands can best creatively leverage IPL on television. “We have launched all our new campaigns on our proposition of ‘acknowledging the unacknowledged’ through IPL on TV. We’ve observed over the past few years of partnering with Star Sports for IPL that the effectiveness of our campaigns was twice as they were compared to any other inventory we bought. IPL on TV is the ideal platform to launch new brand communications. It gives you a great reach in a very short period. New users that brands want to reach out to are present on IPL on TV. IPL on TV has played a pivotal role in brand building for Cadbury Dairy Milk.”

Girish Hingorani, who has been a strong believer in IPL on TV as a media property since its inception, spoke about how the platform has been a key factor in the success of Bluestar over the years. “We’ve been advertising on IPL on TV since 2008 and have leveraged the platform every year since. IPL on TV brings the country together and associating with a platform like this brings a lot of gravitas to a brand. We have focused on consistently creating good content and IPL on television has provided the largest platform for us to launch new communication every summer.”

Lalitha Nayak went on to talk about how the demographic profiling for Rupay matched with IPL TV audiences and how the association helped the brand launch new products successfully. “We launched our ‘Rupay - On The Go’ proposition last summer through IPL on television. Demographic compatibility is a key factor for us when we look at platforms to advertise on and IPL on television was a match for us. We advertised on IPL on digital as well, but saw a high recall for the brand after we begun the TV association. IPL on TV is a clutter breaking phenomenon if you can create good content that blends in.”


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‘TV is by far the most powerful and effective in building equity and awareness’

At e4m TV First conference, industry experts discusse how TV is still a strong medium over digital media to reach a wider audience in India

By exchange4media Staff | Jan 25, 2023 7:10 PM   |   5 min read

Tv first

Due to the pandemic, digital media has become an easy as well as affordable medium for brands to reach out consumers without much hassle. However, TV still has a strong presence in Indian households. Advertisers across genres prefer TV over any other medium in order to increase their credibility amongst consumers.

At the recently held e4m TV First conference, industry leaders discussed why TV is still a preferred medium and how advertisers are making the most out of it. The panel discussion was moderated by Dheeraj Sinha, CEO & The Chief Strategy Officer, South Asia, Leo Burnett; Chairman, BBH India. The panel consisted of Sambit Dash, Partner - RPSG Capital Ventures, Girish Hingorani, Head - Marketing & Ecommerce, Cooling & Purification Appliances Group, Blue Star Limited, Gaurav Dhawan, Chief Revenue Officer, Times Network, Rajan Amba, VP-Sales, Marketing & Customer Service - Tata Motors Ltd- Passenger Vehicles. 

Speaking on why TV is still is the popular medium, Dash of  RPSG, said, “ I think television is still the key medium for a brand to gain  the trust of consumers and create an impact. What I mean by trust is that it's just human conditioning; when you see an ad for a brand on TV, you think this brand has enough money and so must be having enough consumers and so it's big enough for me to trust. That's where the trust comes from and impact is all about reaching a large audience at the same time.”

While Amba of Tata Motors said, “I think one of the things, that we often forget is that, families take decisions, it's all not always individual. For brands like us, which are high-value purchase brands and where the decision to buy is taken by the family and not individual, TV makes a lot of sense. It's got the most widespread of a penetration in that sense and I think that it allows us to tell stories, the larger screen allows us to tell stories in a family setting in a much more inclusive way than digital does and that certainly help brands like us.” 

Hingorani of Bluestar said, “TV is by far perhaps the most powerful and effective in building equity and awareness. A brand like Bluestar has been built on television over the last two decades or so. We still kept investing on TV because as brand equity cannot be built in private and one has to be reaching out to as many consumers as you can, even if you're a B2B brand. The audio-visual experience that TV gives you, without you having that option of skipping the ads, there's nothing to beat television.”

Dhawan of Times Network said, “What TV does is, it very beautifully helps you address key behavior points so if you want to impact the behavior of any particular market, you will see that TV actually works beautifully. TV has a far bigger impact, you trust the TV word very easily, there's a lot of credibility that come with it. TV even today is the highest reached medium in India as 70% of India is connected through television in one way or the other.”

The discussion then shifted to IPL.

Speaking on the impact of IPL, Amba said, “We've been investing in IPL since 2018 as partners and not just as advertisers. We've seen some tremendous boost arising out of that. But having said that I think that every brand needs to think very carefully about that kind of investment. It is a massive investment and it's a one-time huge investment which can blow you out of the water. If you're a brand looking to make a big impact and you've got something new to offer and you can afford it, it certainly makes sense because you will get that mileage.”

Similarly Hingorani, said, “Bluestar has been on IPL ever since the first season, I've been on every season of IPL. We've been there, we're not a big brand in terms of deep pockets, we have very limited money available but we choose to use it wisely. Of course IPL has a great timing advantage for us because it's the start of the summer season, most of our campaigns are launched on IPL but what we've learned is that IPL is very different from other television advertising. One thing for IPL is that you have to acknowledge the fact that your break hours will be the lowest, which means people would want to obviously wait for the next over so they are not really going anywhere. So that advantage of engagement is there with IPL.”

The panel also discussed about Connected TV and how it is emerging in India but will take time for the masses to follow as people are becoming more accessible to broadband connections. Dhawan said, “It looks very small as we speak because not too many people into it but with the passage of time and improved data speeds, it will catch up. Right now it looks like it is in the sushi category you know good to have it sometimes but can't have it as a daily meal, someday it will become part of your daily meal.”


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Sesame Street co-creator Lloyd Morrisett is no more

Morrisett was known as an experimental educator for using TV as a medium of education

By exchange4media Staff | Jan 25, 2023 11:15 AM   |   1 min read


Sesame Street's co-creator Lloyd Morrisett has passed away. He was 93.

Known as the experimental educator, Morrisett collaborated with TV producer Joan Ganz Cooney to create Sesame Street upon seeing his daughter interact with the television.

TV show Sesame Street was a big hit among children around the world.

According to Cooney, his co-founder and close friend, “Without Lloyd Morrisett, there would be no Sesame Street. It was he who first came up with the notion of using television to teach pre-schoolers basic skills, such as letters and numbers."

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GroupM’s Motion Content Group to launch new show featuring India’s influential leaders

‘Jai Ho! Bharat Ki Anant Yatra’ is being launched in association with Google and Meta

By exchange4media Staff | Jan 25, 2023 10:09 AM   |   2 min read


GroupM's Motion Content Group, in partnership with Google and Meta, is launching a new show, "Jai Ho! Bharat Ki Anant Yatra," in collaboration with Optimum Television.

The show, a tribute to the contribution that the Indian civilization has made to the world, takes viewers on a journey through India's past, present, and future.

"Jai Ho! Bharat Ki Anant Yatra" will feature some of the most influential and accomplished leaders from various fields in India, who are the baton holders of the country's culture and heritage.

The show will comprise 3 episodes for a duration of 1 hour each. It will be aired on Zee TV SD, Zee TV HD, Zee Cinema HD, & TV, Zee news, Hindustan.

The series will feature subject matter experts, historians, academicians, scientists as well as titans of Indian Industry such as Professor Yashwant Gupta, Centre for Radio Astrophysics; Dr Pratap C Reddy, Apollo Hospitals; Baba Ramdev, Yog Guru; Acharya Balkrishna, Patanjali; Professor Sunaina Singh, Nalanda University; Anil Shastri, Senior Leader of Indian National Congress; RS Sodhi, Former Managing Director, Amul; Prof V Ramgopal Rao, IIT Delhi; Professor Aral D Souza, IIM – Ahmedabad ; Dr Anil Bharadwaj, ISRO; Dr Subhash Chandra – Zee; Edward Luke-Financial Times; Sangeeta Gupta-Nasscom; Dileep Sanghvi-Sun Pharma ; G Ashok Kumar-National Water Mission on Stepwells; Salvador Lyngdohscientist on living root bridges; Deepinder Goyal- Zomato; Ruma Devi-rural entrepreneur; Motilal Oswal – Motilal Oswal Financial Services, Abhishek Singh, CEO, Digital India; Vikram Singh Bedi – MD Google cloud India.

The show is narrated by Sharad Kelkar and scripted by Prasoon Joshi. "Jai Ho! Bharat Ki Anant Yatra" will be available on Zee Network and can also be streamed on Google and Meta's platforms.

Ashwin Padmanabhan, President - Investments, Trading, and Partnerships, GroupM – India, said, “We are thrilled to announce the launch of Jai Ho! Bharat Ki Anant Yatra. This show is a celebration of the stupendous journey of Indian Civilization and its contribution to the world. The show also looks into what the future holds for India as an economic and cultural world leader. We are proud to collaborate with Google Cloud and Meta to tell this inspiring story of India." 

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Common equivalent metrics needed to compare efficiencies of TV & digital: Sam Balsara

Balsara, Chairman of Madison World, delivered a keynote address at e4m TV First conference

By exchange4media Staff | Jan 25, 2023 8:53 AM   |   7 min read

sam balsara

TV measurement is far more robust and methodological compared to digital platforms and unless industry has a common equivalent metrics, we can’t compare efficiencies of both the media, says Sam Balsara while speaking at the e4m TV first conference in Mumbai on Tuesday. 

Delivering a keynote session on the theme of the conference, ‘The power of Big Screen’, Balsara noted, “Each digital platform follows its own definition and standards on viewability, while Facebook counts a view if an ad is seen for three seconds, for Pinterest and Twitter, it's two seconds. On the other hand, TV measurement is far more robust. There is a common rating system that is used for all channels, and it has been established by the industry which combines advertisers, media owners and media agencies who decide what is view, how those views are to be measured and how they are to be reported.”

With so much variation amongst digital publishers and the gold standard used by TV, we need some equivalent metrics to make comparisons among digital publishers and TV channels to arrive at a metric for a multimedia plan, says Balsara. 


Declining attention span

Expressing concerns over declining attention span, Balsara said, “Goldfish is known not just for its beauty and smooth-fast movements but it is supposed to have a very low attention span as low as 9 seconds.” 

In a country of 1.3 or 1.4 billion, there are about 1.6 billion mobile phones of which one billion are smartphones, Balsara said, adding, “A lot of digital advertising is consumed on mobile. A recent Microsoft study established that the biggest casualty of mobile adoption has been attention span and it is now down from 12 seconds in 2000 to 8 seconds in 2015. It is even lower than the goldfish's attention span and today I'm sure in 2023 in India it must have gone even lower.”


Prof Nelson Field’s study

Balsara cited media researcher from Australia Professor Karen Nelson Field’s study that demonstrated higher the attention, higher the short-term advertising strength. “Another study demonstrates that 40 per cent brand awareness can be reached with only 600 GRPs for ads which are high in attention, but you would need 2,200 GRPs for ads that have low attention capability,” he noted. 

Balsara further noted, “Prof Nelson’s work on the relative impact of TV exposure versus digital exposure is rapidly gaining ground in many parts of the world now. Fundamentally she says three things: first, a significant relationship exists between attention and sales; second, there is a direct relationship between sales and video size; and third, larger the screen bigger the sales impact.”

“Recently my colleague Vikram met the global CEO of Nielsen in Bombay and his view was that screen size is not important, what is important is the context. But I tend to agree more with Professor Nelson. She has also written a wonderful new book titled “The attention economy and how media works”. 

Those of us who have read Byron Sharp's book and have been following it blindly, should read this book, Balsara advised. 



According to Balsara, a necessary condition of attention is viewability, and it lies on three critical factors-first is coverage; the proportion of the screen that the ad covers, second is clutter (what else is going around the ad on the screen) and last is dwell time or the time for which one is exposed to the ad. 

“We all know that on coverage, TV and Cinema offer advertisers 100% coverage, but not all digital videos offer that. A study conducted as recently as August 2022 shows that as screen coverage increases, attention goes up disproportionately. If only half the screen is available to an ad, you get less than half the attention. So screen coverage, according to research, is a very important element of how well or how poorly an ad works,” he explained. 

“TV ends to score since at least when the ad is playing, the screen is clutter-free unlike in many formats of digital ads especially when you're scrolling your news feeds. There is a lack of standards followed by digital publishers for digital video. If a video ad is seen on the screen with 50 per cent of pixels for at least two continuous seconds, the mighty media rating council for video viewability standards says it can be counted as a view for the advertiser. We feel that two continuous seconds is just too low.”

Balsara noted that many studies even by digital publishers have shown that sales impact can begin to increase dramatically when the exposure increases beyond five seconds.


Some brands take lead on common standards

With so much variation amongst digital publishers and the standard used by TV, we need some equivalence metrics to make comparisons among digital publishers and TV channels to arrive at a metric for a multimedia plan, says Balsara. 

He added, “I'm sure experts will agree on the common equivalent standard. Many large advertisers have developed their own limited research belief systems in this area. It is very necessary to establish this equivalence metric with TV being the gold standard. My agency made one such attempt.”

A study which measures media channel efficiency puts online video at 22 per cent compared to TV’s 100 per cent, Balsara informed. 

We need to move from just reach to reach adjusted for attention metrics viewability. We have to recognize a basic attention metric, and given the multitude of definitions across digital publishers on what constitutes a view arriving at a viewability, equalization is very necessary. 

On connected TV

Balsara admits that linear TV is coming down and connected TV is emerging fast mainly because CTV offers us a unique benefit-the targetability of digital and the viewability of television. 

“Another emerging in TV's armor is that we now know the TV viewership is not equal even among every person in a defined target audience. About a third of that audience are underserved by any TV campaign. Google now gives us the option of choosing to target those live TV viewers. So you can meet the gap in your TV plan by adding digital video to reach the light viewers of television.”

According to Balsara, digital videos are growing, and usage along with its targetability option makes up for lower viewability. Besides, digital offers behavioral targeting. While this may not make sense for large mass brands, but for brands that want to appeal to narrow audiences or want to top up their mass campaigns, need to take a serious look at this. 


On media mix in complex world 

Media mix decisions have become very complex and seldom can you use only one medium alone as we used to do in the past. Besides, the era of one-size-fits-all is long gone.  The success of the media planner of today and tomorrow is going to be not how well he can deal with this complexity, but how he can reduce this complexity and draw simple home truths from all the complex data that is available. 

Balsara recalled Late Dhirubhai Ambani and his life trajectory from a petrol pump attendant to setting up one of the largest business conglomerates in India. “He was no big technocrat, had no big technology, but he had a sharp but simple mind. I believe his major strength was his ability to reduce complexity into simple actionable strategic points for himself.”

TV in India till today continues to be the staple medium for large mass brands. You can't beat TV for its brand building capability, its lowest costs per additional reach points, mass reach and high attention value, Balsara assured the audience. 

“Our commitment should be not necessarily to a medium but our commitment should be to increase the advertisers’ sales. It is the long-term interest of every media owner also,” he opined. 


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