We will continue to invest in original programming to be a leader: Deep Drona, Dangal TV
Deep Drona, Chief Operating Officer, Enterr10 Television, shares how Dangal TV has adapted to the current business environment and retained viewership
Enterr10 Television’s Dangal TV has been able to hold on to its audience base during the lockdown phase with the network seeing growth over its weekly normal leadership average ratings in the U+R market.
We spoke to Deep Drona, Chief Operating Officer, Enterr10 Television to understand how Dangal TV has adapted to the current business environment and the channel’s strategy to hold on to its leadership position even with the four major broadcasters back in the FTA space.
Dangal TV has been dominating ratings in the Hindi GEC genre since April last year. What factors aided the growth of the channel?
The viewership base getting consolidated between only two players surely helped Dangal TV. However, we took the largest piece of the pie when the other players decided to exit the FTA (Free-to-Air) space. Their exit also shrunk the market. We have kept the flag flying for the FTA audiences who were deprived of entertainment and quality programming and that made us a clear leader in the U+R space with a huge margin.
Not only did we treat our audience with quality library shows, but we also added a lot of original programming that was well received and continues to be appreciated by the audience.
Which are your biggest markets in terms of viewership?
The northern markets like UP and Bihar along with Rajasthan and MP are our strongholds. We are competitive in the West markets and also add unique audiences to a media plan. The North and West markets are the key markets to all media plans that look at HSM audiences. Since we also attract Urban viewers, it makes Dangal TV an interesting and valuable addition to the media mix.
What has been the impact of the lockdown on Dangal TV and the Network?
In terms of revenue, we are much better off than other players. Our recovery also has been very positive and this is evident if you see our list of advertisers. We have ramped up our game aggressively given the situation. Our largest partners continue to invest big with us and we have adapted well to the new current situation. In fact, we are close to 75-80 per cent of the performance we used to see in the ‘normal months’.
In terms of viewership we are the only channel, with the exception of a pay channel, that had virtually zero loss of eyeballs. In many weeks we have even seen growth when compared to our weekly normal leadership average ratings in the U+R market. The lockdown surprise was the spike in Doordarshan ratings even in Pay homes. Dangal TV too benefited in these unusual times and the performance of our network channels was higher than some of the leading pay channels as well. The network comfortably held on to its audience base during the lockdown.
With the four big broadcasters back in the FTA space, what is the strategy for Dangal TV to maintain its leadership position?
Until six or seven quarters back, all the channels, including those of the major broadcasters, co-existed. In the current scenario, all channels, new and old, will again come together to add gravitas to the FTA genre. In fact, the genre itself will get the much-needed attention from clients or agencies and will fight for its true and fair value in terms of media spends on TV.
For clients, the market has matured and is growing beyond the urban space as real growth is coming in from centres beyond the urban areas. There is a lot of value that this genre provides to clients whose markets are aligned with the audiences that FTA delivers.
Earlier, Dangal TV was part of the pack and now for the past one year the channel has been a leader. We are sure that the overall market will grow in terms of eyeballs or GRPs. Our effort and focus will be to hold on to our market share and respond to the new needs of competition.
Looking ahead, what will be your content strategy for Dangal TV?
We are a wholesome entertainment channel with content that includes daily soaps, drama, crime, sitcoms, mythological and historical shows. All of this has served us well in the past. The players re-entering the genre will come in with their library content. We have a 40:60 ratio content strategy of original to library. We will look at how things shape up and then respond with what is needed to be a leading competitive player in the space. All of us will make the necessary changes to the FPC after seeing what’s working and what needs to be tweaked.
Ad rates have been under pressure for a while, but given your reach how do you see ad rates panning out? Which categories are showing interest with the easing of restrictions?
If we were to draw an analogy between HSM channels to the batting order in cricket, then FTA channels now represent the middle order. While the pay channels lead, it is the middle order that will play a very formidable role in media plans for most clients as they look at U+R markets. In fact, the trading levels of the FTA space will see an upward swing and this will be a combination of incremental monies in normal market conditions and cutting of budgets from the pay channel plans. FTA channels deliver audiences in key markets like UP, Bihar, Rajasthan and MP as these are big consumption markets for most categories that advertise on TV.
Looking at advertisers, FMCG will continue to lead the pack followed by beverages, foods and cements. We also expect to see banking and insurance sectors doing well. Social distancing and congested travel in Covid-19 times may see a surge in entry level of two and four wheeler vehicles, giving a much needed impetus to the auto industry whose sales have been under pressure for a while now. Telcos are expected to launch exclusive non-urban market campaigns to reach out to these customers. New age clients like Facebook and WhatsApp are also targeting these markets.
With many channels and networks re-evaluating their business models, what are Enterr10’s plans on this front?
This current move by the broadcasters is a return to the earlier plans that was signed off on. TRAI’s NTO (New Tariff Order) forced most players to leave the space. However, the current market scenario, loss of revenue vs the on-going business plan prompted their return. This market will now grow and mature and we are aware of the revenue potential that it holds. Ideally, it should have grown on its own merit but this is a challenging year with the overall ad pie being under pressure. However, spends will shift between pay and FTA channels, particularly for clients who have customers in markets that FTA delivers better. This is a year to spend smart. We will continue to invest in original programming and the overall business to stay competitive and be a leader.
Enterr10 Network comprises six channels. How would you assess the performance of the network?
We have had a great year. Overall, the Network with Dangal TV, Bhojpuri Cinema, Fakt Marathi and other channels have fared strongly compared to the year before.
What are the future plans for Enterr10? Any plans for more launches, and if so in which languages and genres?
We had a few launches planned but the current situation has made us hold on to those plans for now. However, the moment the market stabilises we will quickly see those plans turn to reality.
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