Sun Network's Ushe TV is facing the biggest dilemma of its career. While it has toppled ETV-Kannada to claim the No 2 slot in Karnataka for some time now, advertisers are not exactly rushing to it in droves. One reason is that ETV-Kannada continues to attract attention even at No 3 with its media discounts and attractive packages.
"We have been growing in channel share; unfortunately, that is not getting reflected in our share of advertising. That is because we've stuck to a fixed rate, while the other channel kept luring advertisers with hefty discounts. But now we are opening Ushe rates and would be willing to negotiate with clients that commit with us in terms of branding of programmes on a sustainable basis," says Sharad Kumar, director, Udaya and Gemini TV (also part of Sun Network).
Ushe TV's predicament becomes clear when one studies the TAM figures carefully. According to the latest TAM report, for the week October 20 to 26 in Karnataka (excluding Bangalore), Ushe had notched up a healthy audience share of 15 per cent (target audience: C&S 4-plus). It follows market leader Udaya TV, which had 22 per cent, while No 3 ETV-Kannada was languishing at 7 per cent.
For the week before (that is, October 13-19), the percentage share in the same audience segment was like this: Udaya had 26 per cent, Ushe 15 per cent and ETV-Kannada 5 per cent only. Even in Bangalore, which has a highly cosmopolitan TV-viewing audience, Ushe TV has been able to maintain a steady audience share of around 5 per cent. Overall, if one were to look at the Karnataka market in its entirety (including Bangalore), for the past six weeks in the C&S segment, the percentage shares of the Top 3 are like this: Udaya reported between 22 and 26 per cent, Ushe veered in the region of 12-16 and ETV-Kannada remained in the range of 5 and 8 per cent.
While Kumar attributes the problem facing Udaya to ETV-Kannada's "accommodating" rates, media observes point at the perception problem plaguing Ushe TV. According to P Subramaniam, vice-president, Optimum Media Solutions, Bangalore, Ushe TV is seen more as a movie channel, unlike ETV-Kannada that is seen as a general interest channel. This inevitably limits audience, and therefore, advertiser interest in Udaya.
He explains, "For one, we like to go for a channel that has a fair mix of programming. We also prefer a channel that has the reputation of being a steady runner, which ETV-Kannada has proved to be in the past. But again, if Ushe shows a consistent performance, we would certainly listen to its logic and numbers. At the end of the day, media planners do not want to be misled by sudden spurts that could happen due to various reasons, more so in the case of movie-based channels that tend to register higher TVRs when latest films go on air."
So for now, Ushe TV has to work at overcoming its second hurdle - the "perception problem" - to be able to cut ice with advertisers. © 2002 agencyfaqs!