Mumbai: Broadcasting Industry in India has witnessed strange issues towards the last leg of digitization process. While, everyone was under the impression that digitization will bring in larger transparency in various areas like measuring the volume of C&S homes across the country and measuring of viewership in cross platforms with greater accuracy etc…
However, the recent tussle between News Channel has opened up a Pandora box of issues that revealed possibilities of broadcasters spiking the viewership numbers through the means of running Dual / Multiple LCNs and Landing Page deals between the MSOs and Broadcasters.
While TRAI has issued a notification directing MSOs to refrain from running Dual LCNs, still the system needs another layer of cleansing with a clarify on running Dual through the means of Landing Page deals.
When it comes to Landing Page / parking / breaker deals between MSOs and Broadcasters – It clearly gives an edge to players with deep pockets to spend in such deals, whereas the small players won’t be able to dive in to such deals.
To analyze the issue in an industry expert’s viewpoint. We reached to S Yesudas – MD & Co-founder, triggerbridge – the un-agency. He took a neutral stand in the whole issue and discussed the pros and cons of such deals:
Que: Do you think Landing Page deals amounts to a kind of malpractice..?
Yesudas: I doubt that it amounts to any malpractice. It is their way of promoting and optimizing their assets. If the print owners could do various masthead related promotions and free copy circulation just before the readership research survey, my question is why not TV. Atleast in the case of TV, it will not be just the channel name. Viewership registration will only happen if content is consumed. By that logic all other distribution deals should also be a malpractice.
Que: What do you think advertisers should do in such scenario…?
Yesu: Advertiser pays for numbers. Since BARC is the bible currently, the channel owners monetize what gets recorded there. The landing channel is a good source of income for the MSOs and the DTH operators use the channel to also promote their assets among their customers. Hence for any long-term sustainable deal the broadcasters will need deep pockets. It will be interesting to see a possible bid type of scenario emerge here, which will surely have viewership numbers swinging in different directions and advertisers in that case will start looking at such channels with caution.
Que: Should TRAI declare such deals between MSOs and Channels as Illegal..?
Yesu: I don’t know what view TRAI will take of this. For one it is immediate revenue generation and for the other it is revenue optimization . The regulatory body will also have to keep that in mind. Having said all these, my final concluding words are that no one really benefits from such tactics in the long run. It will only result in confusions where even credibility can get questioned.
While, Yesu was kind enough to understand the short-term nature of such deals and the opportunity involved in it for a broadcaster and the related additional revenue prospect of MSOs. He had categorically said that the advertisers in that case will start looking at such channels with caution….
Similarly, he also pointed that no one gets benefited in long term from such deals and cautioned that the credibility of such players will be questioned.