Festive high: TV news genre looks at 30% surge in ad revenues

With impressions staying steady on the growth curve, channels now have the confidence to quote premium rates for inventory, say industry observers

e4m by Tasmayee Laha Roy
Updated: Sep 11, 2020 8:47 AM
TV news

News was the only category on TV that saw a steep growth through the lockdown and even though the country is in the Unlock 4.0 phase, the viewership numbers continue to be high.

However, because of low economic sentiments the peak in viewership did not translate into higher ad sales. Now with the onset of the festive season and a visible recovery in the economy, industry experts say the category is likely to see a 25-30% of upsurge in ad revenues.  

Observers say advertisers have been taking a keen interest in the category. “News has become newsier this year. Alongwith Corona updates keeping the audience glued to news, there has been one big incident after the other driving viewership numbers. From India-China border tension to SSR suicide to the Rhea Chakraborty case, news is being watched more than ever before. Though during peak lockdown months inventory fill was never less than 90% but the rates were very low. However, with the markets opening up and news channels reducing their inventory to accommodate more content ad rates have got a boost. Backed by growing impressions, channels now have the confidence to quote premium rates for inventory,” said Deepak Sharma, Managing Director, North-Starcom MediaVest Group.

Republic, for instance, saw over 200 categories of brands advertise on their channels in the last two weeks. “The Hindi news genre saw an average of 270-plus weekly active advertisers in the last six weeks while the English news genre had 115 advertisers for the same period. This brings growth in the news genre back to pre-Covid levels in terms of active advertisers and inventory utilisation. Advertisers over indexed on news during Covid as this genre offered reach and stickiness unmatched by any other. News has outpaced the general entertainment channels in terms of reach by a significant margin and is able to offer customized solution for brands to be able to communicate to their consumers,” said Vikas Khanchandani, Group CEO, Republic Media Network.

Sharing more on the network’s numbers, Khanchandani said: “Staying put on the growth route has been the brand’s Hindi news channel Republic Bharat, which has topped the list of viewership for the last 4 weeks with a 19.53% market share in the last week. This week, too, the channel leads the chart with 287062000 impressions garnering a massive 19.8% market share within the Hindi News genre. The channel has carved out its space with differentiated offerings and connected with the Hindi audiences strongly. Republic TV, our English brand, has seen a massive growth on Television and online. We are extremely excited about the reach that RTV delivers on connected devices and we are looking forward to taking this opportunity to our advertisers soon.”

Among the others to reap the benefits of growth in the category has been Times Now that has recorded 2194000 impressions this week, surpassing their own records. The reach is also translating into hope for recovering a sustainable topline for the brand.

“With Unlock 4.0, the market is definitely looking up. There has been some improvement in advertising volume since June. With the festive season starting soon, we are expecting a 25-30% upsurge,” said Gaurav Dhawan, EVP – Revenue, Times Network.

Dhawan credits his programme line-up for the growth. “Our news brands are market leaders in the category leading with innovative and comprehensive content. Additionally, our marquee properties such as Fighting Fear With Facts, Times Fact India Outbreak Report, India Stands for Humane Policing, Leaders of Tomorrow and India Revival Mission have resulted in an increased viewership with new brands sampling the channels. Presenting distinctive integrated solutions with the combination of TV and digital, we have been able to drive high brand visibility, offering advertisers more value in return for investments with us,” he added.

Apart from bringing revisions in ad rates, news channels are also welcoming new advertisers on board.

According to Karan Abhishek Singh, CEO-Languages, at Network18, “Initially, the advertisers had to come up with communication that was in sync with the new environment and hence the traditional space saw a slight lull, but that was quickly grabbed by new sectors that emerged as a necessity for consumers.”

The unique client count is also showing an upward trend. According to highly placed industry sources, in the Hindi news channel category the unique client count increased from 241 to 257 between Week 30 and Week 35.

Similarly, for English News Channels the unique client category has registered a larger growth from 95 to 106 in the same period.

“From an advertising point of view, we see most sectors already firing away with Personal Healthcare, Education, Agriculture, Telecom and Internet services driving the narrative, reflective of the needs of the consumers. All this has kept the growth engine chugging robustly for us,” Singh noted.

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