No major impact on ad volumes in news ratings blackout

Hindustan Unilever, Reckitt Benckiser India, Godrej Consumer Products, CGMMF (Amul) and Colgate Palmolive India were top advertisers in blackout and also during 3 preceding months

e4m by Tasmayee Laha Roy
Published: Jan 21, 2021 9:04 AM  | 3 min read
tv news

Twelve weeks of data blackout in TV news category seems to have had no significant impact on ad volumes in the genre. Latest TamAdEx data show that the indexed ad volumes surged on news genre by 12% during the October-December period when compared to July-September.

While there might have been small exits and movements of advertisers on individual channels, overall ad volumes remained stable in the genre throughout the viewership data blackout.

As per the numbers shared by TAM, there was a week-on-week growth in ad volumes. Between October 16, 2020 and January 16, 2021. 7 out of 12 weeks saw a positive ad volume growth over its previous week. Week 48 for instance saw 4% growth when compared to the first week of the blackout. So did Week 50.

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Interestingly, the count of advertisers on the genre also increased by 16% in the major part of the blackout period (October to December) compared to the period between July and September. Advertisers in the news grew from 3000+ to upwards of 3500.

As per TAM, retail outlets – jewellers, cars, toothpaste, cement, toilet soaps were the top five categories that advertised on news between October and December. When it comes to advertisers Hindustan Unilever, Reckitt Benckiser India, Godrej Consumer Products, CGMMF (Amul) and Colgate Palmolive India were the top five in the period.

In the three month period before the data blackout, the top categories were cars, toilet soaps, toothpaste, multiple courses and ecom-education.

Turns out, the top five advertisers also remained the same with Reckitt Benckiser (India) topping the list followed by Hindustan Unilever, Godrej Consumer Products, GCMMF (Amul) and Colgate Palmolive India.

Clearly, the lack of ratings wasn’t a deterrent for top advertisers in the genre.

“Data clearly suggests that advertisers do not solely depend on ratings. The quality of content on news has improved in the absence of the rat race to score on ratings and rankings and that has got new advertisers on board who want to cash in on the reach of the genre without having to compromise on the quality of content on the platforms they advertise on,” said a media expert.

"Alongside improvement in content quality, the timing was another primary factor that got advertisers on board even in the blackout period. The July-August and the beginning of September was a lean period for the entire industry as most of the sectors were still coming out of the lockdown in phases. The blackout period coincided with the festive season, leading to substantial gains in the genre,” said another media expert.

Towards mid-September, the Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) decided to suspend the measurement of television viewership ratings of all news channels for 12 weeks after the Mumbai Police alleged Republic TV and two other channels of manipulating television rating points (TRP) data. The news broadcasters’ community had mixed reactions to the move. While some networks thought that the blackout period would eliminate anomalies in the BARC system, the others called the decision unfair, especially because the blackout period took off in the midst of the festive season.

Whether the anomalies were eliminated or not still remains a mystery. It is evident that advertisers do not just depend on ratings when it comes choosing a platform to advertise.


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