Our focus areas for 2019 are south, rural & cinema: Ashish Sehgal, ZEEL

The Chief Growth Officer of ZEEL on the dissolution of Zee Unimedia, TRAI tariff order, key focus areas for 2019 and more

AshishSehgal

Last month, Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd (ZEEL) promoted Ashish Sehgal (former Chief Operating Officer of ZEE Unimedia) to the position of Chief Growth Officer, ZEEL. The change of designation came following the dissolution of Zee Unimedia, a vertical that was set up by the broadcast network in 2016 to boost ad sales monetisation. Before being shifted to Zee Unimedia, Sehgal, who has been associated with the network for over a decade, handled sales at ZEEL as the Chief Sales Officer .

 

exchange4media caught up with him to talk about the dissolution of Zee Unimedia, Trai tariff order, key focus areas for 2019 and more.

 

Excerpts:

 

Why exactly was Zee Unimedia dissolved within two years of its creation?

 

Zee as an organisation is gearing up to the take the next leap in the media & entertainment space as a ‘global media-tech player’.  Hence, we are consolidating all our units.

From a business point of view, the objective of Zee Unimedia was to offer a synergistic solution across ZEEL, ZMCL & the digital business. And this continues in the new scenario. Hence, effectively, there is no change in the functioning of the team.

 

What are the key challenges before you in the new role as Chief Growth Officer?

 

As market leaders, the key challenge is to not only grow the market but also garner higher shares in this highly fragmented & cluttered environment. Hence, as the Chief Growth Officer, it is imperative that we evolve newer modes of revenue opportunities that provide effective & efficient solution to the brands as well as help us maintain above-the-market advertising revenue growth rates for ZEEL & ZMCL, which currently is at 20 per cent & 30 per cent, respectively. In this endeavour, our core focus would be to proliferate newer segments of advertisers across the length & breadth of India.

 

How will the new TRAI tariff order impact the industry?

 

The demand-supply equation has shifted in the favour of consumer. Hence, brands that are constantly evolving, connecting & delivering compelling content and satisfying the entertainment needs of the consumer will sustain in the long run. Having said that, it’s too early to predict the impact as it’s a challenge for broadcasters, LCOs, MSOs & DTH players to educate the consumer about this new beneficial structural change. The backend for this change is a huge challenge for all distribution platforms.

 

When it comes to business, I don’t think it will have an impact in the near term. In the long term, it will only help me grow my advertising revenue. How? While BARC will keep giving its ratings, I, through distribution, can find out which channels are in demand. Also, it will benefit niche channels. My assumption is that this may finally lead the conversation towards CPT. Eventually, then the advertising industry will grow.

 

How has 2018 been for the industry?

 

The year has been good. The industry has grown in double digits; I think 13-14 per cent. However, my perspective is that the overall industry could have grown better.

 

What are your plans for 2019? How does the next year look like for the broadcast industry? Going forward, what will be the key focus areas for you?

 

2019 looks like a great year. It will be another year of growth as there are three big properties—state elections, general elections & cricket world cup. This will attract advertisers and increase the TV advertising pie.

 

From our perspective, our key focus areas for 2019 are very clear- south, rural & cinema genre.

 

We are seeing a change in market focus from pan-India to region specific. Advertisers are creating customised market-specific communication plans. South as a region has seen high economic growth, fuelling consumption across categories. Television medium is at an advantage with almost 100 per cent penetration. As a dominant player, it will be our endeavour to correct the price point in line with the economic contribution to the national GDP.

 

Cinema genre continues to be undervalued in comparison to GEC, despite closing the gap in terms of the impressions delivered. We believe, there is ample room for growth.

 

Thirdly, the rural viewer is under-indexed compared to his urban counterpart in terms of advertising rates. This is despite significant growth in his personal consumption & contribution across categories.

 

 

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