Festive cheer for cable TV industry with nearly 40% growth in ad sales despite slowdown

Factors such as good reach and better targeting making cable TV more attractive for advertisers than bigger channels

by Tasmayee Laha Roy
Published - Oct 16, 2019 8:40 AM Updated: Oct 16, 2019 9:08 AM

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At a time when satellite channels are going through an all-time low with slow ad sales even during the festive season, cable TV channels are having a cheerful spell when it comes to ad bills. The cable TV sector in India, as per industry estimates, is seeing ad spends of at least Rs 200 crore annually at present, and 35 per cent of it comes from sale of inventory in the festive period.

According to media buyers, there has been a 40 per cent surge in sale of ad inventory on cable television as compared to the festive season last year.

“This festive season has shown an increase in spends to the tune of 50 per cent across our clients who have found good ROI using our geo-targeted offer. We have a set of advertisers who target anywhere from 3-4 markets to about 45-60 markets at a city, district and SCR (socio cultural region) level. These advertisers target tier 2/3 consumers who are avid viewers of local and relatable content on the cable ecosystem. These advertisers consist of large retail chains, e-tail companies and FMCG companies who co relate their input to output ratio and base their decisions on ROI,” said Sharad Alwe, Managing Director at cable advertising agency Update.

While players like Amazon, Flipkart, Paytm, Johnson & Johnson, Phone Pe, Maruti, Renault, and Honda have taken to cable television to advertise themselves, Alwe says FMCG majors like Procter & Gamble, who had exited cable TV in terms of advertising, has reappeared on the platform this festive season.

There are several new entrants as well. “For us, the festive season starts during Navratri and goes on till the end of wedding season, and hence, a host of jewellery brands have started advertising with us. “We have got on board Kalyan Jewellers, PC Jewellers and PNG Jewellers this festive season,” said Shritesh Dubey, Marketing Manager at Madhya Pradesh-based cable TV network DIGIANA.

DIGIANA claims to have done ad sales to the tune of Rs 1 crore last festive season and has already made close to 60 per cent more this season.

“We are looking at doubling our festive season revenue from ad sales compared to last year,” Dubey said. With 16 lakh viewers across Madhya Pradesh, Dubey claims their cable channels offer the reach brands are looking for at the regional, tier 2 and tier 3 level.

Reach is one of the biggest factors why brands have taken to advertising on cable TV.

“There is 100% reach due to the NTO norms for cable, clubbed with the fact that in the tier2 and tier3 towns, the best option for the advertisers to get the TV viewing audiences is geo-targeted narrowcast cable channels. The movie channels are an attractive bet and so are the news and music channels which give local flavour in terms of news and entertainment,” said Alwe.

There are four formats for advertising on cable TV channels. Advertisers can choose between EPG (electronic programming guide) advertising spaces, bootup spaces, LBAND inventory or normal commercial inventory to advertise on cable TV channels.

The ad slot rates at the district level are between Rs 20/10 seconds and Rs 30/10 seconds, at the SCR (socio cultural region) level, the rates go up to between Rs 200/10 seconds and Rs300/10 seconds, whereas at the state level, the rates are higher and stand at Rs1,000/10 seconds to Rs 1,200/10 seconds.

“While broadcasters are announcing festive offers of reduced subscription prices, cable TV channels are increasing inventory price by close to 10 per cent in certain cases. While the scale of sales between satellite channels and cable TV channels cannot be compared, the latter is doing more business than the last season only because satellite channels have lost viewers in the last one year and have become expensive too. Advertisers are hence cashing cable TV channels which are cheap and are geo targeted in the present times which guarantees targeted reach,” said a media expert.

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