Indian Television’s woes began in 2016 with demonetisation and hit a road block with GST in 2017. The predictions for the industry in 2018 seem nothing short of a generation leap. The industry had grown by 10-12 per cent in 2017 compared to 2016. With announcements of big mergers in 2017, ambitious digitisation plans, audience demand for varied fictional content and the rise of digital video consumption, 2018 is looking ahead to a 15 per cent growth, according to experts.
Zee Unimedia COO, Ashish Sehgal felt that January will be clouded by cricket and sports will score robust growth for TV this year. “Last year, a lot of growth came from FTA. However, the mainline GECs that had shown stagnation may grow again. They will have to produce more fresh content that has come to them because of the competition from FTA. This year you will see a fireback from GECs. We also didn’t see many blockbuster launches in 2017, but that will soon change and propel the Hindi TV movie category too,” he said.
TV advertising revenue to grow
Sehgal also said that the advertising industry may see a growth of 13-14 per cent in 2018. “There’ll be a 13-14 per cent growth in the advertising industry in 2018. On television, I’m expecting good double-digit growth, anywhere between 15-20 per cent. On digital, it looks like we’ll have a good growth this year,” he said.
The broadcasting industry de-grew by about 21 per cent battling 2016’s note ban compared to 2017. It lost an estimated Rs. 850 crore. As the dust around the big government decisions settles, 2018 is predicted to see a clear rise in advertising revenue.
Pawan Jailkhani, Chief Revenue Officer, 9X Media, said that 2018 would likely witness three things like increased digitization on ground, massive fictional content creation and growth from advertising from the second half of the year.
“H2 will see a major jump in terms of advertising growth. Though first half will be decent but H2 will be much bigger. I think the year will see around 14-15 per cent growth. In terms of advertising, from a fiction or channel launches perspective, we’ll see abundant rise. There will be some uproar on FTA. If we’re going with FTA on larger level or not, the rethinking and consolidation about it will happen in 2018,” he said.
Categories that will spend big in 2018
Jailkhani agreed with Sehgal and said that sentiments will flare with six to eight upcoming state elections which will impact revenues and overall economy. “News channels will get huge benefits. Certain categories will be aggressive in the next year. Automobile predictions say that there will be 16 launches this year which will give a boost. Telecom seems to be in the mood to spend and will be generous this year. Digital as a medium will also further complement TV from the audience point of view,” he said.
The reach of television continues to grow with eight to 10 million homes being added to the already 180 million homes every year. Advertisers won’t be taking their hands off this pulse anytime soon. With the FMCG, automobile, and financial sector doing well, they will be in a position to spend more money, observed Rohit Gupta, President, Network Sales and International Business, Sony Pictures Networks. “Govt expenditure is expected to rise due to upcoming state elections. 2018 will be far better year and we should positively expect a healthy growth of 12-15 per cent,” he said.
“FMCG is having a good run, primarily on television. Auto category has seen a good growth will continue to spend. Telecom wars will get stronger now that Jio will start monetizing on the services they were offering for free. The consolidation of Telecom industry will be a big push. If the Vodafone and Idea merger takes place, they will also pump in more money. Mobile handsets will also be one of the big spenders,” added Sehgal.
“Chinese handsets have taken over. They are strong competitors to even Samsung and Apple in India and that run will continue this year too. Oppo, Vivo and now Gionee will start advertising more,” he mentioned.
Sehgal felt that e-commerce will see a similar trend as they won’t grow as much in 2018. “Another category, BFSI and retail will grow this year. Keeping this demonetization and GST affect aside, the growth we were seeing in 2015 in SME category will come back,” he said.
Focussed fictional content for TV
In the last one and half years, TV business was a tad muted, not only in terms of advertising revenue but also with the slow of pace digitisation. Fiction and non-fiction shows haven’t enjoyed great success either. “I think fiction, which is a bread and butter for TV, has not done well in the last one year. 2017 was not that great in terms of content. If it was created, it didn't get the viewership,” asserted Jailkhani.
ZEEL premium channel’s, Business Cluster Head, Aparna Bhosle, experienced that for the English Entertainment channels, the year 2017 saw a considerable change in consumption patterns by the audience. Speaking about the English GEC particularly, she felt that viewers have become socially evolved and aren’t looking at English content just from a recreation point of view but also as a conversation starter. “At Zee, our endeavour has always been to give our viewers riveting and engaging content. With an exciting line-up of properties, our viewers were exposed to an extensive array of fresh and high-quality shows and movies. With an increase in the number of HD users and the fact that consumption of English entertainment is on a steady rise, last year, our focus was primarily to offer great content supported by dynamic marketing campaigns. In 2018, the aim is to further present quality content,” she said.
2018 should see this as introduction of new advertisers to boost monetisation in the category. “The focus will continue to be what the category does best – capture the imagination of this young generation. For this, I see a further introduction of new homegrown shows and characters. Additionally, there will also be efforts towards building an ecosystem around the existing popular characters and shows beyond just TV. The shift from 4-14 to 2-14 years in 2017 has surely broadened the canvas for this category. 2018 may thus see differential content offerings within 2-14 years to cater to different age groups,” said Leena Lele Dutta, Business Head of Sony Pictures Networks, India - Kids Genre.
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