The festive season will be bigger and better this year: Alok Nair, 9X Media

Nair, 9X Media’s CRO, talks about the network's vision, scaling up broadcast & non-broadcast businesses, and more

e4m by Sonam Saini
Updated: Jul 19, 2021 10:46 AM
alok nair

During the first lockdown last year, the television industry de-grew by 43% in H1, and music broadcast industry was no different.  As per the Pitch Madison Advertising report 2020, the music genre witnessed a drop of 44% in the FCT growth. It contributed Rs 150-250 crore to the overall adex. However, the impact of the second wave and subsequent lockdown on businesses, including broadcast, has been moderate. Together, the music and youth genre witnessed a growth of 183% in ad volumes in May '21 compared to the previous year, as per a BARC India report.

In a conversation with exchange4media, 9X Media’s Chief Revenue Officer Alok Nair, who joined the network recently, said despite Covid-19, television has been witnessing overall growth, and so is the music genre. 

"There was an addition of 600 advertisers this year," Nair shared. According to him, television witnessed around 2000 active advertisers during the first lockdown in 2020, whereas the medium has seen 2600 active advertisers in the new financial year beginning April 2021. On the other hand, the music genre on TV witnessed 220 advertisers last year. However, since April this year, the genre noticed a significant improvement and has seen 315 advertisers.

"This year's growth is predominantly driven by a range of categories that the genre beheld, including service, health supplements, OTT platforms, and the online matrimonial category.  Also, the FMCG was back in a big way, along with beverages. Furthermore, categories such as e-commerce, consumer durables, auto, and online gaming are also expected to drive advertising during the festive season," said Nair.

Nair said that the revenue for the genre has also grown this year. "All of us have grown y-o-y basis. Also, the way things are panning out this year, we are in a much better situation than the previous year. There is a far more scientific approach towards dealing with demand and supply this year. Therefore, we see a significant growth," he shared.

Nair predicted that the pre-festive period would be significant for the industry. "The conversation with brands has started happening again. The pent-up demand and some ease in restrictions have brought back normalcy. Things are looking good, and as we reach the festive season, this period will be, hopefully, better and bigger than last year."

Talking about music on television, Nair said the consumption has increased 200% in FY21 compared to FY 2020. "Last year, due to the lockdown, supply of Bollywood music went down big time since there were no new releases. Therefore, there was a dip last year in Bollywood music consumption. However, the audiences came back because of independent music. The daily audiences for indie music grew steadily from 85 million in January 2021 to 90.8 million in June' 21, which is 7% higher.  The data indicates that the consumption and timespan of the audiences are growing."

Apart from being a music television broadcaster, the network also has a studio business under SpotlampE. Besides being an indie music label and a platform for established and upcoming music talent, SpotlampE is a venture for brand integration campaigns, ad film production, and talent management for singers and musicians.

"The pandemic has made everyone relook and reimagine their business. For instance, what stage are we at? What can be done? And what will be the future? said Nair.

He mentioned, "We have also utilized this time to understand our strength even better. Our vision includes the broadcast business-our four music TV channels and their relevant digital and social platforms which are doing very well. The other is the non-broadcast business, where we are very bullish and have made some significant moves. The entire non-broadcast segment comes under the SpotlampE. We have expanded our offerings and propositions, from brand music to studio business in content creation, talent discovery, and management.  We also have new and exciting formats like podcasts, and we are already the leader in this space. The network has launched two platforms in this space- Songsecret and Soundcast."

As an indie music label, SpotlampE is playing a crucial role in reviving and promoting independent music. SpotlampE has collaborated with established and upcoming artists to launch original tracks across genres and languages. The network recently created two ad films for Pepsico India's Quaker Oats and one ad film for RBI titled 'Kehta Hai.'

"As a network, we have been doing brand integration, but now we have scaled up the business. We have Gourov Dasgupta, the most credible name in the music industry. Many of our music-based content offerings that will happen with brands will be driven by Gourov. We are extremely excited for him to lead the whole non-broadcast vision for us," said Nair. 

Speaking about the digital business, Nair said currently, the segment is in the growth phase.  Whether it is Songsecret or Soundcast, these all are digital-first platforms. Plus, we have also done a lot of things on our individual channel platforms. In the digital space, podcasts and spotlampE have been our focus story. We have done some great original content in the last few months, and that has been digital-first."

Nair shared that his key focus area is to re-emphasize the network's strategy and vision, which is scaling up the broadcast and non-broadcast business. "The broadcast business will organically grow and come back to the previous level when the situation improves in the country, while on our other vertical, we won't restrict ourselves to a single form of content. Also, once everything comes back to normalcy, end of this year or early 2022, we might re-start our on-ground events as well."


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