The COVID pandemic has posted major challenges to the overall economy amidst the lockdown. The coronavirus had already impacted the way brands, agencies, and media organizations work. While India’s leading agencies and brands had witnessed a downfall in the revenue as most the businesses are shut, the media outlets had been on track despite the challenges. V. Chandrasekar, Consulting COO, News7 Tamil, speaks on how regional news channels functioned during this pandemic and how brands, agencies should work together to achieve greater results.
With entertainment channels confirmed only to movies, repeat telecasts, and fictional content with limitations, how News as a genre had gained prominence in an Indian household?
During Covid-19 the viewership for News content saw a phenomenal increase. The households spent more time on the News Channels to catch up on the spread of pandemic and government initiatives on lockdown. On the other side, the GEC offered only repeat telecasts of films and rehash of serials which were of no great entertainment value.
How did the regional news channels perform during this pandemic compared to the normal days and against their national/English counterparts?
The regional news channels, besides reporting government statistics on the pandemic, came up with awareness content and provided hope to the viewers. The service of News channels was laudable in their efforts by not spreading fear but also creating confidence in fighting the pandemic. Even in the debates, where the opposition made allegations and accusations, the final impression was what the government is doing the best in this circumstance.
How the pandemic had transformed advertising spends on the brands on tv as a medium?
Advertising took a huge hit. Since the vendor outlets are closed due to the lockdown and the logistics were in disarray, the stocks were not placed in the shelves. Real Estate advertisements came to a grinding halt with no fresh registration of properties. Even the outstanding payments were not released resulting in default in payment to the telecasted advertisements and no budget for fresh advertisements. Brands and agencies saw an opportunity to negotiate for lesser tariffs for a high number of eyeballs. Not many brands shared the social cause of the News Broadcasters. With reduced advertisement budget from brands, the agencies exploited the News Broadcasters and encouraged undercuts in the tariff for survival.
Moving forward, post lockdown, how the consumption of news will change according to you?
The news consumption pattern will remain the same with lowered ATS and hence impressions. However, it has been very clear, the claim that agencies buying the eyeballs and that determine the tariff. Purely it is a bargain and the best get the most when blinks last.
With OTT viewership increasing how it will impact the TV viewing content?
OTT is not a replacement for TV. Indian Broadband infrastructure needs to grow a lot. TV is for family, OTT is for the individual. TV and OTT shall complement each other and not replace
Now many advertisers are confused that will spending on TV will give them results. What is your comment on that?
Any investment made for advertising now is to keep brands alive. With the stocks on shelves, it will help. Advertisers should have to be innovative and engage with the TV Channels to get the best value for money. They should get away from cut-and-paste campaign attitudes and treat TV Channels as their partners in business. The negotiation should be with equity and not be exploitative. That way, together, great results can be achieved.