Hindi GECs bank on big budget, non-fiction show launches to drive ad revenues

Industry analysts say although these shows help advertisers in building brand recall & reach, TV networks are likely to stick to last year’s ad rates, considering the impact of Covid on advertisers

e4m by Sonam Saini
Updated: Aug 18, 2020 8:28 AM

Hindi General Entertainment Channels (GECs) are gearing up for a power-packed festive season with big banner non-fiction shows like Bigg Boss, Indian Idol, Dance India Dance and Season 12 of Kaun Banega Crorepati. 

Media experts say things have been looking brighter in the television business as compared to the first few months of Covid. While most broadcasters have completely stopped giving discounts on ad rates, some have reduced the discount caps.

 The launch of the big properties during the festive season is expected to drive ad revenues for broadcasters. 

Ashish Sehgal, Chief Growth Officer, Advertising Revenue, ZEEL, told exchange4media that the pricing of these impact properties or big non-fiction shows has always been higher than the daily soaps on GECs. “These properties also help channels get additional eyeballs apart from their daily soap audience and advertisers pay extra money for those extra viewers. We are assuming that there will be a good demand during the festive season and these properties will add more value and ad volume to GECs, and thereby bring more ad revenue to TV channels.”

Sharing more with respect to the festive season, Sehgal said: “Festive season is the appropriate time for advertisers to push more consumption and irrespective of the pricing TV is the best medium to advertise to build awareness, build a brand or push consumption.”


As per BARC India data, Bigg Boss season 13 garnered 213 million viewers last year (started on September 29, 2019) and the finale alone garnered 10.5 million impressions. Meanwhile, Sony Entertainment Television’s KBC was among the top ten shows in 2019 (including both SD+ HD viewership) and garnered 6,351 million impressions. 

Bindu Balakrishnan, Country Head of DCMN India, says advertisers see impact properties as a means to get more eyeballs for their commercials. These big budget shows garner multi-fold viewership as compared to regular FCTs and give advertisers, looking for branding and top-of-mind recall, huge opportunities to increase their reach. 


 “During lockdown, they were sorely missing the marquee properties as all shooting and production had ceased. Impact properties like ‘The Kapil Sharma Show’, which returned recently on air, are hugely popular. They provide people with the much needed comic relief during these difficult times. So advertising on this and other impact properties is seen as a huge branding opportunity by larger advertisers, who do not mind spending on them. However, smaller brands, especially digital brands which are looking at TV to drive performance at reasonable costs should of course be more prudent and look at ROIs in terms of KPIs like Cost Per Visit, Cost per Installs etc,” Balakrishnan said.

Stating similar thoughts, Girish Menon, Partner and Head, Media and Entertainment, KPMG India, says the non-fiction/reality genre has been one of the most important for GECs when it comes to ad monies, as these properties usually command a higher premium as compared to the daily soaps. Of course, these properties also have a significantly higher production cost as compared to the daily soaps but with the ratings that these shows generate, advertisers are willing to spend a premium in order to be visible to the viewers of these shows.”


Giving an overview in terms of Covid, Menon cautioned that the ad rates will stay around that of last year’s. “Owing to COVID-19, the advertisement industry faced severe challenges in Q1, and while Q2 has been better for the industry it is still down from the corresponding quarter in FY20. While these impact properties and the upcoming festive season is likely to see better recoveries for the GECs, it is unlikely that the advertisement rates for these shows will see an increase from last year, as the contributing sectors are facing business challenges. The slowdown in the economy has also been exacerbated on account of Covid. Having said that, we do expect the advertising levels to pick up owing to fresh content on these impact properties, which will bode well in a challenging year for the TV industry.”


Balakrishnan too has similar views with regards to ad rates. “They are the biggest money bringers for the channels. These TV tentpoles are planned to attract the highest ratings and viewership so that they can be sold on to advertisers for higher rates. Though there is considerable interest among advertisers in terms of impact properties, the price hike will be negligible. Because of the impact of COVID-19 on the economy and subsequently brand revenues, advertisers are not in a position to shell out too much money. TV networks are aware of that. So they have kept the rates similar to last year’s and in some cases increased it slightly.”

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