Are channels still investing in landing page?

Despite the controversy, investing in landing page is still a bona fide marketing activity for broadcasters and it is business as usual for them, say industry insiders

by Tasmayee Laha Roy
Published - Jul 8, 2019 8:02 AM Updated: Jul 8, 2019 8:02 AM
TV

While controversies around landing page are far from coming to a close, it is said broadcasters haven’t changed much of their business strategies around it. For many a broadcaster, investing in landing page is still a bona fide marketing activity and it is business as usual for them.

The unending debate around whether BARC decides to count landing page numbers or rationalise outliers in counting ratings haven’t changed industry trends a lot.

So, is it true that broadcasters are still investing in landing pages?

“Yes of course, as these are long term deals. Broadcasters firmly believe that BARC’s outlier policy for landing page is arbitrary, discriminatory and illegal. BARC has claimed at forums that they do not have access to landing page data, and that for some channels, they make manual changes. Such moderations on assumptions which are not transparent are open to abuse and prejudicial to the interest of the industry,” said a senior level media executive in the know of the matter.

“Landing page is bona fide marketing activity, just like any other activity carried out by broadcasters to increase its reach and viewership. It is clear that BARC’s outlier policy is distorting the big ratings picture for the entire industry. We will take this up at the highest levels and continue our fight against this malpractice,” the executive said.

While broadcasters do not openly talk of investing in landing pages and many blatantly deny it, it is an industry practice that has existed for a very long time. TDSAT’s decision to set aside TRAI’s directions around landing page only seems to have brought the issue under light and opened up a Pandora’s box of confusion, controversy and debate.

“Broadcasters and DPOs are still continuing with landing page deals as the ball has been put by TDSAT in BARC’s court to decide how they will separate landing page with normal placement,” said an industry insider.

Focusing on the downsides of investing in landing page and how to go about the issue, another industry expert said, “News channels must focus on content strategy to win the viewers and not use artificial tools to increase ratings. The overall news channels P&Ls are under pressure and landing page only adds to additional costs without achieving any incremental revenue. On an industry level, landing is a negative impression as it takes away the authenticity of the television rating system. The entire positive impact of digitisation and democratisation of content is negated by use of landing page,” he said.

While the common sentiment in the market around landing page is that broadcasters continue to invest in landing pages, whether they are investing as much as they did before or have reduced their budget around the same remains unanswered.

 

With inputs from Moumita Bhattacharjee

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