“Local customised content has been the main glue for TV viewers worldwide”

India being a diverse country is sure to celebrate its diversity with the availability of more localised broadcast media & specialty content on television, says Rajendra Khare, Founder & CMD, SureWaves

e4m by Deepa Balasubramanian
Published: Dec 21, 2013 10:18 AM  | 5 min read
“Local customised content has been the main glue for TV viewers worldwide”

A second-generation entrepreneur, Rajendra Khare is the Founder & CMD of SureWaves. With rich experience in technology driven businesses, Khare co-founded a semi-conductor start-up, Armedia Labs, which developed the world’s first single chip HDTV/ MPEG Decoder before it was acquired by Broadcom Corporation for $67 million. Khare served as Managing Director of Broadcom India for seven years, where he introduced a series of digital video products to secure Broadcom’s dominant position in the worldwide market.

In conversation with exchange4media, Khare talks about change in the Indian TV viewing experience, growth chart of SureWaves, importance of cable TV advertising and more…

Targeted cable TV and digitisation – do you think the Indian TV viewing experience is set for a change?
This indeed is going to redefine the television viewing experience in terms of quality, choice and relevance. Digitisation is a major structural reform to lay down a new distribution infrastructure in the country that not only delivers a better quality of broadcast video, but can also carry many more TV channels over the cable – nearly 4 to 5 times of the 100-odd channels that were possible to be carried in the analog domain. This is sure to multiply the number of cable TV channels across various geographic regions.

The industry is getting better organised around key MSOs in each of the regions, and most of them are launching new specialty cable channels to offer rich contextual and localised content as part of their bouquet of Basic Service Tier that reaches all homes, which would only strengthen the glue with viewers and boost the already dominant viewership position that cable regional category enjoys. Local customised content has been the main glue for television viewers in all parts of the world, and India being one of the more diverse countries in terms of languages, cultures, history, customs, festivals, climate and socio-economic composition, is sure to celebrate its diversity with the availability of more localised broadcast media and specialty content on their television sets. This is great news for viewers as they would get to watch the choicest content of their interest with more organised local broadcast media options being available.

Sensing the power of local broadcast media, SureWaves has been working on nationwide integration of cable TV advertising through its innovative technology platform and with 250+ cable TV channels, SureWaves National Spot TV Network is bringing a never before opportunity for the national advertisers to leverage the huge viewership of cable regional in every nook and corner of the country in a highly targeted and accountable manner.

What are the key sectors that have opened up to cable TV advertising?
Top national advertisers in FMCG, F&B, telecom, auto, media, BFSI, consumer durables and e-commerce have been the first to open up to cable TV advertising on the SureWaves network. In fact, we are seeing traction in almost every sector that needs large reach and wants deeper penetration.  Many of these players promote different sub-brands in different markets and run customised campaigns.

From reaching out to national advertisers and giving them a choice, cable TV advertising, you have turned the model on its head. Comment.
National advertisers have known about the power of cable regional for a long time, but were not able to tap into it due to extreme fragmentation and lack of accountability and measurement. We have leveraged customer insight, technology and innovation to solve these problems. We offer best of both the worlds – largeness of a mass media and the relevance of the local media, which acts as a super-glue for audience engagement. By aggregating the audiences of local media across the country and offering it from a single window, we are becoming bigger than the biggest as far as mass media options are concerned.

There is also an increased focus of marketers now on non-metro, Tier II and Tier III towns, from where the next big growth is going to come from.

What is the size of the market for your service? How strong is competition in the space that you are in?
What we offer is comparable to top 4-5 GECs in the country. We also compete with regional satellite players who are dominant in their respective markets. Advertisers tend to allocate a very significant chunk of their overall spend in the top 5-6 media options available for their target group to build their basic reach and frequency and then consider allocating smaller budgets to the next in line. In more mature markets, advertisers tend to rely heavily on the media which offers market by market focus. As an example, in US, National Spot TV which offers targeting capability across 200+ DMAs (Designated Market Areas) commands almost 20 per cent of the overall TV ad-spend on account of national advertisers.

From technology wizards to a second-generation entrepreneur – how has the journey been so far?
Technology is a great enabler in solving real-life problems. However, each new venture is a unique journey by itself. My earlier start-up, Armedia, was in the semi-conductor space and we were fortunate to have built the world’s first single chip solution for High Definition Digital TV set-top boxes and went on to make it one of the most deployed semi-conductor technologies worldwide through the marketing muscle of Broadcom, who acquired us. SureWaves is a much bigger challenge that we have taken on, as not only have we built a unique first-of-its-kind technology for the mainstream media space in television, but are taking the journey forward as a media company which can hopefully make a lasting impact on the industry. The space here is big and full of opportunities.

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