Our ad inventory is running at full capacity even during Blackout: Abhay Ojha, News Nation

In a chat with e4m, Abhay Ojha, President - Sales & Marketing, says that the Hindi news channel is focusing on strategic tie-ups with OTT platforms and movies as well

e4m by Tasmayee Laha Roy
Updated: Nov 20, 2020 1:30 PM
abhay ojha

Within a span of a few years, News Nation Network has grown into one of the most successful players in the Hindi News genre in India. The channel’s ideology is to respect the viewer’s intelligence and provide them with news they can use.

Abhay Ojha, President- Sales and Marketing, News Nation Network spoke to e4m on the channel’s branding plans, special programming during the festive period and other pressing issues such as the BARC blackout period and the ongoing debate on toxicity of news content.

Excerpts

From Bihar elections to US elections and then Diwali, it has been a very news heavy fortnight. How has it been for News Nation both in terms of reach and ad bills? What are your expectations in terms of ad revenues from the entire year-end festive period?

With the wheels of the economy slowly starting to move, brands across all categories are looking forward to increasing their advertising spends during the festive season. There has been an improvement in advertising volumes at the onset of the festive season, but due to the effect of pandemic and blackout period of BAARC ratings, few advertisers are in a dilemma whether to put money on news channels. Also, if we compare the performance of all previous year’s election and festive occasions, this year has been below our expectations.

Tell us a little about special programming planned for the festive period. 

Festive season calls for a special content lineup, from elections to Diwali, and till the 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 around “Pollution” planned on the National Pollution Control Day. A lot of other activities/campaigns are in pipeline which will offer many options for advertisers to choose from.

 It is a blackout period for BARC and there is no data available to the reach side. Is that creating trouble to get advertisers on board?

The blackout period is not creating trouble to get advertisers on-board. However, it is difficult to manage certain categories for whom the rating benchmark is very critical for assessing the performance of any campaign. As a matter of fact, during this period our ad inventory is running at full capacity which reiterates the confidence of the advertisers in New Nation as a trusted news brand that stands for non-opinionated, unbiased and ethical journalism. 

There was a lot of conversation around toxic content and news channels in the recent past; tell us about your views? What is the kind of editorial policy you follow when it comes to the presentation of content?

News Nation was launched on 14th February 2013 with a basic premise of ‘ideal viewer connects.’ The channel proposition was ‘News that is non-opinionated, unbiased, covering the real issues which matter to larger sections of society, covering the real picture.’ The channel addresses the ground realities and complexities of diverse and multi-layered India and demystifies news into relevant absorbable facts. In the maze of news channels, News Nation stands out for ethical journalism.  The channel’s ideology is to respect the viewer’s intelligence and provide them with ‘news they can use. And we continue to follow the same ideology now also. 

Do you also have an active digital arm? Tell us how it benefits the brand to maintain both businesses together-TV and digital. Is digital advertising also catching up with TV business in the festive period?

Digital media has always complemented TV as it facilitates social interaction and empowers people/users to consume news across time and distance while on the go. Going digital and introducing social media and mobile apps/websites also keep you up with the modern-day consumer. Talking about the revenue the digital assets have grown in terms of Ad revenue. So festivals are always good for revenues. 

 Any brand building exercise that you are taking up to promote your offerings?

2020 has changed things for marketers and brands in a way no one could have imagined. The brands that were traditional marketing-oriented are also now moving progressively towards digital. In the same way, we are also focusing on many such strategic tie-ups with OTT platforms, we have already done a couple of integrations in the OTT series and many are lined up. We are also very actively working on many movie tie-ups and recently done a partnership with one of the largest print media group for its on-ground activity.

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