Nisha Qureshi

Untangling the challenges of distribution and monetisation of news in a complex environment

News is being consumed across a plethora of platforms. We look at how the distribution of news content across platforms translates into revenue for channels.

The consumption of news has transcended traditional boundaries, gone are the days when news was confined to living room TV sets or scheduled evening updates. Today, it's a 24/7 presence across smartphones, computers, smart devices, and more. This necessitates news channels' ubiquitous presence across all these platforms at all times.

At The Future of News 2023 panel discussion hosted by afaqs!, industry leaders deliberated on the hurdles in distributing news content across platforms and the accompanying monetisation challenges.

The Ecosystem's Challenges

Leaders acknowledged that while linear TV consumption remains prevalent, the future hinges on scalable technologies available across diverse platforms. Despite the plethora of distribution options—from the web to apps and third-party platforms—broadcasters face hurdles in effectively monetising their content.

Vikas Khanchandani, APAC Head, DistroScale, pointed out, "While there's boasting about watch time and concurrency, revenue isn't being maximised."

The consensus among leaders emphasised collaborative partnerships between advertisers, broadcasters, and publishers as critical for success. To achieve this, news players are tapping into connected TVs and Fast channels.

According to Kunal Mehta, head of business development and content partnerships, Samsung TV Plus, 50% of the entire viewership on Samsung TVplus comes from news broadcasters. He says about 35% of the channel bouquets belong to news channels. 

“News channels have taken this opportunity and are reaping benefits also. When we started in 2021, it was very early for news broadcasters to understand the potential of CTV but today we have at least 10 million smart TVs out there. Automatically the viewers have also moved to exploring what ‘FAST’ is and is becoming an alternative for viewers who are primarily cord cutters,” he adds. 

The Potential of Connected TV (CTV)

Raktim Das, chief growth officer (digital & broadcast), TV9 Network, emphasised the transformative potential of CTV, terming it as a potent medium for advertisers to drive commerce and enhance ROI.

Speaking about how they are innovatively using CTV ads, Das says they are trying to display ads along with clickable links that can open on the user’s phone and end up buying the product.

Madhu Soman, chief business officer at Wion & Zee Business, foresees significant developments as technology progresses, especially in leveraging CTV for news content.

Challenges Specific to News Content

News, unlike most web content, is perishable, demanding tailored packaging for effective leverage on the internet. Soman highlighted the challenge of capitalising on a few major news events annually, especially on CTV, citing difficulties in monetizing even extensively viewed coverage like the recent events in Palestine.

“The solution to this is to push out non conflict related content in equal numbers. We need each other and each other’s efforts in this space because news is not a commodity but a service to the nation. The content should be beneficial not only for our viewers but also partners,” he says. 

Watch the full discussion here:

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