PMMAO 2007: Television: The small screen shines as major marketers ramp up ad spends

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With indoor entertainment gaining ground, television saw big strides in revenues and viewership. The year 2006 saw the biggest growth in FCT percentage share of news channels.  Ad revenue on Zee increased by 62 percent with music, infotainment and kids channels registering an increase. Further, reality television was not able to save the market viewership of mass entertainment channels.

The Pitch-Madison Media Advertising Outlook 2007 estimates the television revenue at Rs 6,000 crore compared to Rs 5,003 crore in 05 registering a growth of 19.9 percent. In terms of percentage spend, ad revenues stood at 41.4 percent, slightly lower than the 42 percent in 2005. In terms of ad revenues, the size has been constantly increasing since 2003, while the total percentage spends have shown a decline in 2004 and 2005 from a high of 44 percent in 2003.

In terms of viewership, the Southern regional channels saw the maximum viewership at 27.1 percent, although this was lower by the 2005 figure of 30.3 percent. At the second place was Hindi movies at 20.1 percent, which was higher by 1.1 percent than the 19.2 percent figure of 2005. Mass entertainment Hindi saw the third largest viewership at 16.7 percent, which was lower by 1.2 percent. Second-line mass, news and kids genres were the others which gained in viewership. Mass entertainament channels soared with the popularity of reality television. With Nach Baliye, Jhalak Dikhlaja and Big Boss, one could not dispute the audience interaction.

The year 2006 saw the biggest growth in FCT percentage share of news channels. At 23.3 percent, FCT in news was the highest compared to all other genres. In fact, news has been seeing a steady increase in FCT since 2003, except in 2005 when its share was19.8 percent. In terms of the number of channels, news channels have more than doubled since 2003, and in 2006, their number stood at 32.

Talking about the news channel genre Star News editor and CEO Uday Shankar says, “2006 has been very good for us. We defined our focus and did it relentlessly. And above all, we built a strong identity by making it more interactive through mails and SMS.” On future trends he says, “now people want value added news which is directly affecting their lives.”

Music was the second in terms of FCT share standing at 16.5 percent, up from 13.4 percent. However this genre has not been doing very well commercially as the number of channels declined from 21 in 2005 to 14 in 2006. While the Southern regional channels stood at the third slot in terms of FCT, their percentage actually declined to 13.6 percent from 15.1 percent, despite the largest increase in the number of channels to 23.
Among the other top genres by FCT rankings were regional satellite with 8.5 percent share and the number of channels at 17, Hindi movies at 7.5 percent showing a marginal increase of 0.3 percent from 2005 with the total number of channels being 10. While the number of mass entertainment channels since 2005 have remained constant at five, their FCT share grew from 4.1 percent to 5.4 percent.

Reacting to the survey results, Turner India & South Asia ad sales vice-president Monica Tata says, “kids now are far more aware of brands and the latest techno gadgets and the advertisers have started realising this. Now it is not just traditional advertisements featuring kids but serious issues like banking and insurance are also addressed to kids, increasing the ad spend on kids channels.”

As far as ad revenues go, at the top of the heap is Star Plus followed by DD, Zee, Sun TV, Sony, Aaj Tak, Gemini, Max and Zee Cinema. Some of the other channels which increased their revenues since 2005 are Udaya, NDTV Hindi, Star Movies, Asianet, Surya, Zee News , HBO, MTV, Star Gold although their earnings hover only in two-digits.

In terms of viewership share too, Star Plus leads with 9.7 percent of the total share, followed by cable regional at 9 percent, and Sun TV at 7.3 per cent. Zee TV showed a dramatic growth in viewership at 4.4 percent up from 2.9 percent in 2005. The top three players in terms of viewership percentage growth by basis channel share were Zee TV, which commands a total viewership of 4.4 percent, compared to 2.9 percent in 2005, registering a healthy increase of 51 percent. This is followed by Max with a viewership of 3.7 percent compared to 3.1 percent in 2005, up 18 percent. At the third position is KTV, whose viewership share increased marginally from 2.33 per cent in 2005 to 2.4 percent in 2006. Ironically, other big names by channels saw a negative percentage growth by viewership like Star Plus, Regional Cable, Sun TV, Gemini TV, Zee Cinema, and Sony. Star Gold had no change in viewership since 2005.

Although other media has eaten up its share of the ad pie, TV due to its appeal to a wide section and also because its been around for a longer time, continues to command a large share of the ad pie and viewership.

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Neeta Nair

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