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Award shows paying off for GECs, but overkill can dilute effectiveness

12-February-2010
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Award shows paying off for GECs, but overkill can dilute effectiveness

Given the craze for the glitter and glamour of Bollywood, the myriad movie awards shows are aired by different GECs and manage to garner eyeballs every time. However, media analysts caution that while these awards shows pay rich dividends, an overkill of such ‘shows’ would dilute effectiveness from a longevity point of view.

The ‘award season’ usually starts from December onwards and goes on till February. Most GECs telecast award shows during the holiday season such as Christmas and New Year, hoping to attract more viewers.

The last award show to be telecast was the 16th Star Screen Awards on Star Plus on January 31, 2010. This award show received a rating of 6.6 TVR, which is the highest rated award show in the past two years. It beat the ratings of other award shows such as Apsara Awards (rating of 2.8 TVR and telecast on Colors on January 17, 2010) and even New Year Specials such as ‘Jashn 2010’ (rating of 5.3 TVR and telecast on Star Plus on December 31, 2009).

But do these award shows actually contribute significantly to the channel from the content and advertising point of view? Divya Radhakrishnan, President, TME, said, “Any event for a channel helps to build the channel’s marketing blitzkrieg, unlike the hard-core channel content – soaps, where the differentiation between channels barely exists.” She added that on the back of this, the channel pushed its brand higher among the viewers.

According to Sandeep Lakhina, COO - South Asia, Starcom Worldwide, film award shows were an important cog in the wheel of the Indian entertainment industry, and now there were a plethora of them. “In the era before the advent of ‘massification’ of the GECs, these awards remained elusive and one read about them in the papers or the magazines,” he noted.

He further said that over time, the content of the awards show finale night had been taken to television and the star stuck Indian population had lapped them up. “From an advertiser point of view, it is not just the ratings, but the fact they get associated with a biggish property is what attracts them, and since the channels promote these shows aggressively, is an added benefit,” explained Lakhina.

Agreeing with this, T Gangadhar, Managing Director, Mediaedge:cia India, said that award shows played an important role in a channel's weekend programming strategy. He felt that the ability of the programme to pull eyeballs and advertisers was entirely dependent on the reputation of the property, which, in turn, was dependent on the star turnout for the show and the credibility of the award.

Media planners, however, also have to worry about the fact that these shows might not do well from the return on investment viewpoint for the clients. Gangadhar said, “There is no evidence to suggest that award shows deliver a diminishing ROI over the years. Besides, we always negotiate performance-based deals to protect our clients against dramatic under-delivery.”

Agreeing with him, Radhakrishnan said that it was never like the way it used to be, and it could be attributed to a barrage of such shows being televised across channel networks.

The reasons for how an award show performed could be many. For example, Star Screen Award was an established brand name as compared to Apsara Awards and hence, that could be one reason why the former performed better than the latter, pointed out Radhakrishnan. Gangadhar agreed and added, “Besides the fertility of the channel, ratings are dependent on the equity of the show and how well the channel promotes it. The quality of content on other channels at the same time will also affect the ratings of these award shows.”

Lakhina said that he was a little surprised at the relatively poor ratings of the Apsara Awards, considering that it had the backing of Colors. At the same time, he added, “Because of the fact that there is now one award show too many, the effectiveness has surely been diluted from a longevity point of view.”

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