General entertainment TV loses share in ad revenue pie

By , agencyfaqs! | In Media Publishing | June 03, 2005
This happens as the genres of regional and news get stronger. Media planners feel regional channels are growing as they provide a higher return on investment

Call it the symptoms of a growing market. As the total viewership and revenues of the TV industry grows, it seems that general entertainment channels are losing their grip over the market - at least in terms of percentage share in viewership and revenues.

Juxtaposed to this loss, television channels in the news and regional genre are emerging as strong contenders.

First, the statistics. As per TAM Media Research, in 2001, when the overall market size of the television advertising market was Rs 3,499 crore, general entertainment channels' had a 60 per cent share with a 54 per cent viewership. In 2004, total TV advertising stands at Rs 4,860 crore, where general entertainment channels have a 52 per cent market share and a viewership of 40 per cent.

In actual terms, of course, general entertainment channels raked in more money in 2004 (Rs 2,527.2 crore) than in 2001 (Rs 2,099.4 crore).

The blip in viewership and ad revenue percentage notwithstanding, general entertainment channels still rule the market - both in viewership and revenue and will probably continue to do so for at least a few more years.

Meanwhile, the regional channel's viewership share has grown marginally from 35 per cent in 2001 to 38 per cent in 2004; their revenue share too grew by 5 percentage points at 20 per cent in 2004 vis-a-vis 2001.

Media planners describe this is as an usual trend. In every market; it is the leader which loses market share with new players and new genres coming in, they say.

Hiren Pandit, general manager, MindShare, feels that in this case, a major chunk of advertisers must have migrated from Doordarshan to regional channels. He says, "This is because the regional channels get very healthy TVR numbers and their rates are also cheaper in comparison to the national general entertainment channels. Overall, they give a much better value."

Concurs CVL Srinivas, managing director, Maxus, Asia Pacific. He says, "Some advertisers only want to reach out to their key markets, which makes regional channels a preferred choice. In addition, the wastage is less and the return on investment is higher among regional channels due to their low cost."

The viewership of news channels has also grown from only 1 per cent in 2001 to 5 per cent in 2004. One possible explanation is the growth in the number of channels over the years. Interestingly, the revenue share of news channels in the total pie-chart is constant at 10 per cent between 2001 and 2004.

Srinivas explains the stagnation. "The numbers have remained constant since the number of product categories advertising on this genre has not grown." He adds, "It's mainly the automobile or telecom companies, which advertise on news channels. In addition, the ad rates of news channels are under check due to the intense competition among them. This is the reason why the volume of revenues has not grown."

Sports is a genre which has grown exponentially both in terms of viewership and revenues during 2001-04. The viewership of sports channels has grown from 2 per cent in 2001 to 4 per cent in 2004. In terms of revenues, their share has grown from 3 per cent to 6 per cent. A Delhi-based media planner says, "Cricket has certainly contributed the maximum towards the growth of sports channels. In addition, there is a growing interest among other sports such as Formula 1 Racing and tennis, especially among upwardly mobile viewers."

He predicts that the year 2006-07 will see a growth in the sports genre as forthcoming attractions will include high-intensity events such the cricket World Cup and India-Pakistan cricket series.

Another genre that has experienced growth in these three years is the kids, infotainment or the unique content channels. Their viewership share has grown from 2 per cent in 2001 to 3 per cent in 2004. However, the revenue share of niche channels hasn't increased and is stagnant at 2 per cent. Srinivas of Maxus says, "The niche channels will certainly grow in the coming years when distribution is more organised."

He reasons, "Till today, most Indian homes have television sets that cannot receive more than 20 channels. In future, when these homes upgrade their television sets and when distribution network will be better organised, niche channels will gain the most."

TAM statistics suggest a curious story for Hindi movie channels. Although their share in viewership grew from 3 per cent in 2001 to 8 per cent in 2004, their revenue share declined from 5 per cent in 2001 to 4 per cent in 2004.

Pandit explains, "Hindi movie channels have no uniqueness left. Even if broadcasters such as ZEE, Sony or STAR manage to acquire blockbusters, the movies are shown first on a general entertainment channel, and then repeated on the movie channel of the same bouquet. In addition, the Hindi movie channels lack aggressiveness and do not create properties around the titles as their English counterparts do." 2005 agencyfaqs!

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