TV+digital deals: How news broadcasters are betting on the trend to maximise ad revenue

Market experts say though the broadcasters have been doing TV+digital ad deals, they are yet to realise the full potential of their digital inventory

e4m by Javed Farooqui
Published: Dec 21, 2021 8:55 AM  | 5 min read

News broadcasters across the board are gearing up to monetise their digital ad inventory by selling it together with broadcast FCT (free commercial time) as part of integrated advertising deals. However, market experts say though the news broadcasters have been doing TV+digital ad deals, they are yet to realise the full potential of their digital inventory.

A senior media planner, on condition of anonymity, said that the news broadcasters are offering digital inventory as an add-on to TV inventory. "Right now, digital inventory is being provided as a value add along with TV inventory. They have not been able to monetise the digital ad inventory," the media planner stated.

ABP Network Chief Revenue Officer Mona Jain said brands have been looking at TV+digital deals considering the fact that content is getting seamlessly delivered across traditional and digital platforms. "Content dissemination is platform-agnostic and consumers are consuming content on multiple platforms. Brands are also using both platforms to generate visibility for themselves, and as a news broadcaster, we are aligned to the trend and are increasingly looking at TV+digital integrated deals with brands," she noted.

According to the CEO of a leading news network, TV+digital ad deals will gain pace next year due to the massive shift in consumer behaviour. "What is happening in the English content market is that people have transitioned from appointment viewing on linear to on-demand viewing on digital. Over a period of time, the Hindi and regional markets will also shift to digital. It's already happening at a slow pace and in the next few years, we will see dramatic changes. As far as news and sports is concerned, the value of that content is here and now. While content consumption on mobile is leapfrogging due to cheap data and growing smartphone penetration, the consumption on connected TV has also seen a surge," he stated.

The executive further stated that the English news consumption on digital is almost nearing TV in terms of volume for some networks. He also stated that news broadcasters have been slow in reacting to the changing landscape. He also said that measuring TV and digital audiences together is very important from the monetisation point of view.

"A lot of affluent households have stopped recharging their DTH subscriptions in the last few years. As the pay TV universe shrinks, the digital base is increasing, and it is more pronounced in the case of English news. Suddenly, OTT is looking like a better value proposition compared to traditional pay TV connections. High Definition (HD) Set-Top Boxes (STBs) have become redundant due to Connected TV. Consumers are getting 4K content through hybrid STBs like Tata Sky Binge+, Airtel XStream and connected devices like Chromecast and Fire TV. The news players have failed to take note of the shift in consumer behaviour," he averred.

News Nation Network President - Sales and Marketing Abhay Ojha said that his company is looking at integrated deals to take advantage of the growing digital consumption. "Yes, we are looking forward to such deals as our content is considered to be the best in the Hindi-speaking market and digital is seeing a rapid growth on a month-on-month basis. This gives higher mileage to the advertisers and increases brand engagement, which helps a lot in brand recall and loyalty."

"We are one of the largest content providers in the space, the medium is irrelevant while engaging with the viewers and partners," said Zee Media Chief Revenue Officer Manoj Jagyasi.

Sujata Dwibedy, Group Trading Director, Amplifi India, Dentsu's media investment arm, said that the TV + digital ad deals is an idea whose time has come. In the same breath, she noted that the news broadcasters should go beyond selling plain vanilla inventory and offer innovative solutions to clients.

"Selling TV+digital is a great idea but news channels should also provide à la carte options. News channels have been building reach by investing in digital, but they still have a long way to go. Some of our clients have indeed bought video inventory on both TV and digital. However, news channels need to make it more lucrative for advertisers to look at TV + digital deals more frequently," she stated.

Dwibedy also said that the viewership base on digital platforms needs to go up significantly for advertisers to consider digital video inventory of news channels. "The news broadcasters should invest in high-quality customised content for digital instead of playing the same content as TV. Also, they should offer something more than plain vanilla inventory. They also have deals with aggregator platforms like Dailyhunt, so a lot of video inventory is also available through third-party apps. News channels also host a lot of content on YouTube where they get a lot of eyeballs."

"Keeping the new age news consumption patterns in mind we at India Ahead have made a conscious effort to keep Digital First as part of our content strategy. We are enabling news to be simulcast to our audiences across our English TV channel and in English, Hindi, and Tamil on our digital platforms. This along with our focus on differentiated content is giving us good traction, and we believe we will be able to optimally mine our assets across TV and Digital," said Amitabh Bhatnagar, Group COO, India Ahead.


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