Sporting leagues not quite the draw down South

GECs seem to be the go-to entertainment destination even as sporting events and leagues gain gradual popularity in the South

e4m by Deepa Balasubramanian
Updated: Nov 12, 2014 8:00 AM
Sporting leagues not quite the draw down South

Today the impact, reach and popularity of sports on various media has increased. Traditionally during big ticket sporting events, Sports takes precedence over GECs in the North and West of India. But in South India, GECs have a grip even as the audience have a different taste and no matter which sport is played they don’t stop watching their favourite soaps or programmes.

exchange4media spoke to industry experts to understand the trend and also to know if advertisers move away from GECs during these big ticket sporting events.

Mazhavil Manorama, which is a Malayalam GEC from the Malayala Manorama Group, has not seen a significant change. Satheesth P R, Head- Sales & Marketing at Malayala Manorama TV says that there are separate set of brands that will keep advertising in the GECs especially in the South even during these big ticket events.

Satheesh added, “We haven’t seen any significant change because of sports in Malayalaym GEC space. There are some brands that always spend money on sports properties and they would continue to do so. We have a good mix of brands from across the country and within Kerala. Both sports and GECs have their loyal set of advertisers so I don’t think any of these would affect either at least in the Kerala market.”

Speaking about the importance of GECs in South India, Reghu Ramachandran, Vice-President, Asianet Communications said, “GECs still hold on to their viewership share during sports telecast and brands do not reduce spends on regional GECs during sports activities. Regional GECs have a healthy presence of south or regional brands throughout the year. All such brands are program or title specific and pay more for titles. Regional GECs do not compete with sports and vice versa.”

According to RBU Shyam Kumar, CEO, Puthiyathalaimurai Group, GECs will always hold high in the southern market.

Kumar said, “Sports is emotional and GEC is entertainment and engagement. Now ICL & IPL are viewed as entertainment more than as pure Sports. Moreover brands prefer big ticket sporting events as it will have emotional connect too. But we also have national players partnering us in Tamizhan Awards and Veetuku Oru Vingaani, only because of the quality of the event both in terms of content and delivery.”

The shift in viewership of GECs does not happen easily as the TG is women and stickiness is high. Serials have a huge appointment viewing. In single TV households, sport moves to a group viewing format with friends grouping to watch.

Experts feel that Indian Super League is definitely going to be a big event and celebrities promoting it is a good sign. But unlike cricket it is a game with shorter time span so the dent may not be large.

Regional brands sponsor shows on various GECs so national players hardly look into the regional content except some movies that might be aired during festive season. South being the retail hub, retailers are the major advertisers.

S Rajiv, GM- Marketing, Kairali TV said that, “Advertisers who sponsor these big ticket events also sponsor awards functions in the South, so it hardly matters to the GECs. Our average weekly ratings for film based shows is 1.30 tvr for fiction it is 1.15 tvr and non-fiction shows capture 1.00 tvr. So, there is no big change during these sporting events for us in anyway.”

One of the broadcaster on condition of anonymity said that these sport events are not property which a channel builds and advertisers also considers channel properties from media houses and they tend to spend money in these every year. He added that sports is something which is common and has taken the limelight but all four southern states having different tastes still hold one thing in common- their love for GECs.

Satheesh said, “Advertisers buy eyeballs, they put money where there is loyalty and stickiness. As long as there is an audience, advertisers will put money into the shows. Yes, different brands look at various formats of shows like soaps, sitcoms etc.”  

Although a dent in GEC is observed only when a state specific match for instance Chennai match is played in Chennai, GECs do witness decrease in the viewership only during that period. For advertisers who sponsor big ticket events, these events are just add ons, their regular advertisements on GECs remain the same.

Shankar B, CEO, Fourth Dimension, who handles Advertising Sales for Puthiyathalaimurai Group remarked that south being one of the key market for brands such as GSK, J&J, Maruti, Ruchi Soya, Fortune, Eureka Forbes, etc., brands will never move away from south. South represents close to 35 per cent of the Indian advertising pie, so national brands distribute their money season wise and spend almost 30 per cent in the south for advertising.”

The average weekly ratings even during the sporting events for Pudhu Yugam stood at 0.4- 0.5 tvr, while during the prime time show they saw 1 to 1.5 tvr.

All said and done South India will have no difference in the trend as experts say that fiction and non-fiction shows will be the daily dosage people will opt for.

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