Aaj Tak was one & #BANNER1 & # of the pioneers to shift retail advertisers in the country from print to television. In fact, till three years ago, news channels and the regional entertainment channels enjoyed a majority share of retail advertisers' spends on television. So much so that, according to AdEX, news channels and regional entertainment channels together enjoyed a 67 per cent share of retail advertising on television.
But now AdEX reports suggest that retail advertisers are slowly moving towards the Hindi general entertainment channels (GECs). The share of retail advertising spends on television has increased from 21 per cent in 2003 to 26 per cent in 2005. And between January and April 2006, Hindi GECs garnered a 51 per cent share of the total retail advertisers' spends on television.
One reason that media planners attribute to the growth of retail advertising revenue among the Hindi GECs is the growth of the retail sector in North and West India.
Manish Porwal, executive director, Starcom India, explains, "The share of regional channels among retail advertisers was higher mainly because of the South Indian channels - retail has always been big business in the South. But now, as retail is growing in North and West India, the retail advertisers' skew towards Hindi GECs is also increasing."
"Advertising on a Hindi GEC gives their brand a national image, which certainly is one of the reasons for the retail advertisers' shift from regional to Hindi," says Arpita Menon, general manager, Lodestar.
A few questions arise if one were to go by what these media planners have to say. First, the growth of retail advertisers in North and West India should also be skewed towards the Hindi news channels, which have always enjoyed the preference of these advertisers. Second, this 'national image' can also be earned through a news channel.
Menon of Lodestar provides an answer to this question. She says, "News channels are mainly male oriented, while GECs are more women centric. The retailers have realised that it's not just the man of the house who is the target. Lately, women have become the main targets, especially for lifestyle and supermarket brands."
There are other reasons, too, behind this shift in preference. Cost is a significant reason why news channels have been a preferred platform for retail advertisers. In fact, GECs were always beyond the reach of many retail advertisers.
But now, with retail advertisers emerging as national players instead of mere regional players, their media spends have also increased. This means that today, many GECs fit their budget.
In addition, at a smaller base, the difference in ad rates between the GECS - except for STAR Plus and Sony Entertainment Television (SET) - and the news channels has narrowed down.
As per industry estimates, if an advertiser had to pay Rs 1,000 per 30 seconds on a news channel, he has to pay around Rs 2,000 for the same during an afternoon time-band on a GEC.
Meanwhile, the afternoon time-band on a few GECs has further strengthened. The ad rates during this time-band fits into the retail advertisers' budget. This provides them a lucrative platform to reach out to their potential consumers.
There was another hindrance that kept retail advertisers from advertising on channels such as STAR Plus, SET and Zee. About three-four years ago, retailers with an export turnover of less than Rs 10 lakh could not advertise on national GECs without a telecast certificate. But now, this rule has been withdrawn.
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