Shemaroo TV presents e4m Webinar: FTA channels need to invest in content: Industry experts

A panel of experts discussed 'Exciting Opportunities in Free to Air Television Space' as part of the webinar

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Updated: May 19, 2020 12:41 PM
e4m Webinar presented by Shemaroo: Exciting Opportunities in Free to Air TV Space

Free-To-Air (FTA) channels need to invest in newer content for constant engagement, said industry experts on an Shemaroo TV-e4m webinar while discussing 'Exciting Opportunities in Free to Air Television Space'.

The webinar was presented by Shemaroo TV. The panel included industry leaders like Rajiv Dubey, Head of Media, Dabur; Jai Lala, COO, Zenith India; Hema Malik, COO, Lodestar UM; Mohit Joshi, MD (India), Havas Media; K Srinivas Rao, National Director Buying, Mediacom; and Sandeep Gupta, COO- Broadcast Business, Shemaroo. The discussion was chaired by Nawal Ahuja, Director and Co-founder, exchange4media.

Ahuja started the discussion by asking the panellists about what they think of the current scenario and their prediction of the future. The panel unanimously believed that these are uncertain times and nobody knows where things are headed.

Malik said, “We are all making guesstimates from the trends that we have seen in our own recent past as well as, what’s happening in other markets”. She added that every category has its own nuances and conversations around e-commerce are primarily focussed on brands across categories, especially consumer durables. According to her, people are preparing for all the uncertain times that may come in the future. “What lies ahead of us is not what we left behind. It’s going to be a new normal”, she said.

Joshi observed that currently, he’s witnessing two sets of clients - 40% are in a ‘ready to go' domain, where they are preparing to enter the market with a campaign as soon as there is some restriction on lockdown norms. Other 60% fall in the cautious domain, which is worried about the pressure on costs and pulling away from advertisements for a while.

He said, “Advertising slump is always much larger than the marketing or the economic slump. Unfortunately, we have gone into the slump”.

According to Rao, it’s a good opportunity for tech brands like, Dell and Vivo, who have their e-commerce sorted. “They might just start adverting right away”, he said.

Giving the advertiser’s perspective, Dubey said: “Our priority is to manage the ROI and giving best bang for the buck.”

Lala also chalked out two broad sets of clients he had witnessed recently. He said, “There are two sets of clients largely. One is the essential category clients like Maggie and Parle-G, who are witnessing to 200% and a production capacity of 50%. They are trying to figure out how to meet at least 70%-80% of the current demand.”

He said that brands in this category believe that this hike in demand is not a temporary phase, and the consumer consumers’ behaviour is changed forever. He also talked about another set of clients like the alcohol industry, who is seeing a situation where they are 3 years behind in their revenue generation.

“It’s not a one size fits all situation. For different clients, there is a different solution. Industry at large believes that business will go back to normal by September. Growth might be a challenge, but we’ll be at 100%, or at least 90%, of where we were last year."

When asked about why Shemaroo decided to launch its General Entertainment Channel (GRC) during the lockdown, when the business is struggling to survive, Gupta said, “We had to launch because we thought it is the best time when we can immediately catch the audience attention without putting extract budget in promotions.”

Ahuja observed that there are 104 FTAs on DD Free Dish. After the last round of expansion, 11 new channels were added to the list, but many channels among them have switched off from free dish during lockdown as they are unable pay the fee. He asked the panel why this happening is.

Dubey answered by saying that though there was a 40% rise in viewership of TV, it was mainly dominated by DD and Dangal, the channels whose programming was extremely well received, and most of the advertisers’ money went to where the eyeballs were. “FTA news channels also performed well”, he said.

Rao observed, “Most of FTA viewership comes from a certain section. Advertisers, who are targeting the urban audience specifically, may go down a bit.” Lala believed that because people are at home, viewership is high across platforms. DD managed to gain such a large share of viewership because it gave shows for family viewing. “FTA needs newer content. Going forward, they need to strategies content to get a better share of ad spends”, he said. Rao added that once the lockdown is lifted, brands and GEC may not start the content generation immediately, and ad spends may shift to sports. Lala too agreed and said that BCCI is opportunistic. It may bring IPL in September in an empty stadium with no audience.

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