News channels see festive cheer in ad bills

As per industry estimates, festive billings have seen close to 80%-100% recovery. Broadcasters are hoping that the uptick continues till the end of the year

e4m by Tasmayee Laha Roy
Published: Nov 18, 2020 8:13 AM  | 4 min read

With consumer sentiments slowly returning to normal, news broadcasters have seen a spike in ad sales thanks to the festive cheer. Alongside the festivities, a news heavy fortnight with Bihar elections and the US elections have kept the audience glued to the news genre pushing its popularity among advertisers.

As per industry estimates, festive billings have seen close to 80%-100% recovery. Broadcasters are hoping for the uptick to continue till the end of the year.

“TV advertising has witnessed a steady upsurge this festive season. In fact, festive this year has been better than last year with Sept- Nov witnessing 60% growth on the Covid tenure. The next four months too are expected to see pre-Covid levels of advertising with many new categories going active due to change in lifestyles amidst the pandemic,” said Gaurav Dhawan, EVP - Revenue, Times Network.

Most networks are also keeping an engaging content lineup ready for the rest of the festive period to keep the traffic on.

“Leading with our marquee IPs like Digital India Summit 2020, Leaders of Tomorrow, India Revival Mission, India Economic Conclave, in addition to blockbuster premieres and an eclectic mix of special properties and programming across our news and entertainment channels, we aim to keep our viewers engaged and entertained this season,” Dhawan said.

Times, however, is not the isolated example. Most news networks are planning a solid lineup to ensure highest reach and maximum returns for their stakeholders.

 “Festive season calls for special content line up, from elections to Diwali and till New year, we have planned shows to keep our viewers engrossed. Under the umbrella branding of Diwali Umeedon Vali, we did multiple programs such as Sehat ka Dhanteras, Diwali Ki 10 Kahaaniyan, Diwali ki Maha Puja. We also got Maithili Thakur, a very talented singer on board for our special program Suron Ke Taley Diya Jaley. Then, we have this huge campaign 'Pollution Bharat Chhodo' planned on the National Pollution Control Day. A lot of other activities/campaigns are in pipeline which will offer number of options for advertisers to choose from,” said Abhay Ojha, President- Sales & Marketing, News Nation Network.

As per latest TAM data, a total of 410 advertisers brands and 610 plus brands exclusively advertised on news channels in this period. The top 10 categories to advertise in the last 15 days were retail outlets-jewellers, cars, two-wheelers, toilet soaps, toothpaste, edible oil, range of OTC products, cement, pan masala and spices.

Additionally, out of the 1700 plus advertisers in the period, the top 10 included Hindustan Unilever, Reckitt Benckiser (India), Godrej Consumer Products,  GCMMC (Amul),  TVS Motor Company, Colgate Palmolive India, Dabur India, SBS Biotech, Wipro and Kalyan Jewellers.

Interestingly, mid last month, BARC announced a three-month blackout on news channel data. Initially back then broadcasters had a divided view. While some felt l the blackout period will eliminate any anomaly in the system, others argued that suspending ratings at a time when news viewership is high was unfair.

But did suspended ratings deter business?

Co-incidentally, the festive season also took off as a news heavy period almost guaranteeing viewership. Did the increase in interest in the genre reflect on ad bills too?

“While the last two weeks have witnessed heightened news activity from Philadelphia to Patna, it’s also worth noting that all of this high decibel election coverage has happened during the festive period. This is that time of the year when demand for inventory is generally at peak. So, any surge may not be directly attributable to a perceived higher viewership on account of news heavy period though the genre has leveraged polling and counting days on the rate front,” said Amit Tripathi, CRO, TV9 Network.

As far as the blackout period is concerned Tripathi said, “Advertisers continue to benchmark channels on the last released figures and hence the suspension of ratings have had no impact on agencies planning their media mix. And this is true for all the channels operating in the news genre. The genre will revisit the numbers when the ratings dark period ends.” 

Talking of inventory demand as per experts some news channels also managed to charge a premium for spots during the festive period. “Business went back to 100% normalcy if compared to festive period last month and some news channels managed to charge up to 20% for some inventories,” said Deepak Sharma, Managing Director, North-Starcom MediaVest Group, said.

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