AdEx is definitely bouncing back: Shaun Nanjappa Chendira, Discovery Network

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In a conversation with exchange4media, Shaun Nanjappa Chendira, Head of Advertising Sales, South Asia, Discovery Network, talks about the network’s growth during festive period and more

Discovery Network has fared well on the back of the festive season, said Shaun Nanjappa Chendira as he spoke in length about the network’s initiatives and the advertisers coming on board.

In conversation with exchange4media, the Head of Advertising Sales, South Asia, Discovery Network, talks about the network’s growth during the festive period, how big is branded content for the network and much more.


We have done well in this particular period of time. A lot of it has happened on the back of the market growth, which has kind of bounced back because of the festive season and a lot more advertisers have come on board. The other bit is a lot of initiative that we also took which were proactive in nature to ensure that a large part of the advertising volume also comes to us. In both ways, it’s actually worked out very well. This is primarily on the linear part of the business.

On the OTT part of the business, we are a largely SVoD platform and our AVoD platform is still very nascent. However, we will continue to remain an SVoD dominant platform. Having said that the AVoD part of the business, the targets which we had actually set for ourselves have been made. In both ways, it’s actually worked out well for both linear as well as digital.

How much growth has Discovery as a network witnessed during the festive period? 

We are over 75% growth in two months that were festive as compared to the previous two months. When it comes down to the last year, the festive period for us has been almost at par with last year.

The digital part of our business is small. When it comes to the targets together, we have achieved our numbers and it’s at par with what we were doing last year in the festive period.

What has led to this growth? 

Our show ‘Into to the Wild’ has done very well for the network. The show with Akshay Kumar or with PM Modi, both the IPs have been received well, both from a perception as well as target and monetization perspective. The reviews and ratings on both shows were absolutely fantastic. Clients loved it. They’ve exceeded our expectations. Despite the pandemic and very few advertisers advertising, we’ve actually met our goals on both the IPs and they’ve done exceedingly well for us. Bharat Ke Mahaveer is another show on Discovery (currently on air) that has received encouraging response from the advertisers.

Getting on to the other part of the business, Discovery Kids in particular, we were pushing a lot of new episodes both for Little Singham as well as for Fukrey Boys. These two IPs on the kids’ cluster have actually done well. On Animal Planet, we had a Mission Big Cat, which is our annual property and has been coming back over the last three years. Again, this IP is very well received in the market by the advertisers and also by the audience.  Most of the IPs that we’ve launched at this particular point of time across all channels have done well.

Any new set of advertisers that you have seen on your network, which were not advertising earlier?

We have almost got about 20-odd new clients on board and that’s been a mixed bag. Right from a category like ad tech which has been a lot more aggressive and  present for a much longer period of time. We have also seen a lot of new FMCG categories like sanitizers or health drinks.

For instance, Amul which was very nascent and small on our particular part of the business but has actually become considerably large over a particular point of time. Apart from that,  a lot of snack food categories came on-board during this period and also we saw a comeback of ‘Auto’ as a category on our network.

In the lifestyle genre, some players have shut down their channels and some have launched new channels. How do you see the space growing? Is the category under pressure? 

The category has not impacted as much as the NTO by itself, but also the fact that the way the measurement metrics are today. The measurement metrics today are hovering around, one is, of course, the base is expanding as they’re looking at more number of people as against what used to be measured about five years back. So there’s been a marked shift from that particular perspective.

Having said that, what really works for us is we’ve always been the ‘Go To’, network when it comes to infotainment or lifestyle. The kind of audiences that we reach out to has held over a particular period of time. The reach of our channel has grown over the last two- three years, despite NTO or change in measurement metrics. It’s a testament to the fact that the content that we run on the channel is well received by both the audience as well as the advertisers. Even till date, we are the first point of call for anyone who’s actually looking at targeting premium audiences.

How big is the branded content for Discovery Network? 

Branded content is extremely critical for our business. We were the first ones at least in this particular genre to invest heavily in this particular part of the business and build capabilities. We have successfully done this in the last three years, and it will continue to remain a priority, and we will actually continue building it. It’s a very healthy chunk of our overall revenues and it’s not negligible. We are far more than most of the other networks. Our commitment to our advertisers,and marketers, is that what we bring to the table is a business solution oriented offering and not just a branded content piece.

Post festive season, how do you see the AdEx growth for TV?

AdEx is definitely bouncing back but still be lower than last year, which is both in December and probably quarter one of next year. However, it’s still very heartening to see that almost all the categories have opened up. We were definitely worried about probably a quarterback because a lot of categories didn’t look like they would actually be active or they wouldn’t be able to sell.

Now things look much better and good sales at their end actually translates to more advertising and more revenues. While the AdEx might be lower than last year, it’s definitely coming back, and we are actually hoping April onwards, next year, we’ll see a normalization.

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Sonam Saini

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