The lockdown led to an unprecedented growth in viewership for news channels. It also did see a decreased ad spends, but now as the country is slowly limping back to normalcy and advertisers are coming back. The festive season has also given the advertisers a chance to reconnect with the consumers.
Mona Jain, Chief Revenue Officer, ABP Network speaks to us about the plans the Network has for the coming festive season and the way forward for the Regional channels and the digital arm of the Network.
Covid 19 and lockdown has seen an unprecedented growth in the News genre, what has been ABP’s growth trajectory during this crisis?
As television consumption reached a historic juncture in the COVID era, the news-genre ruled the roost. In fact, our network registered record-breaking viewership during the first few weeks of lockdown, with ABP News reaching 31 Crore Indians in 4 weeks (Source: BARC, TG-NCCS 2+, Mkt – All India, Cuml Reach in Cr, Wk 12-15’20).
Our growth trajectory has only spiraled up during these times as our Marathi News Channel, ABP Majha outshone all other channels in terms of reach in the Maharashtra and Goa region. (Source: BARC, TG –NCCS 15+, Mkt – Mah/ Goa, Reach) and on the day of Janta curfew, ABP Network was chosen as the most favourable network in India. (Source: BARC, 15+, All India, 22 Mar 2020).
Through wide-ranging initiatives and 24×7 updates, our unique content offerings have left an indelible mark in the hearts and minds of the viewers amid these challenging times.
How was the content curated during this period?
Above all, a sustained focus on credible information was a prerequisite during these times since much fake news was floating around in the guise of coronavirus information and updates. Throughout this period, all our channels have been fervently pursuing their vision towards responsible, action-oriented, and impactful journalism.
Our news channels have not only kept the viewers engaged and updated 24×7, but have also been a close ally to them during tumultuous times. For instance, the calamity that struck Bengal during the Cyclone Amphan, ABP Ananda’s Live TV garnered 6.2 million views in one day (20th May, 2020), despite a major breakdown in communication networks. This dedication and companionship has made our channels, undisputed leaders in their respective markets.
What were some of the special programmes initiated?
In an effort to keep the viewers informed and strengthen their consciousness on the pandemic, various programmes like Sachchaika Sensex on ABP News, Corona Parishadon ABP Majha, and Corona KeKaram Yodhaon ABP Ganga were initiated.
A message-driven campaign called #CoronakoDhona was also launched by the network to spread awareness on preventive measures and drive home the message of good hygiene amongst the viewers. This initiative was endorsed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Furthermore, in an effort to sustain high viewership even post unlock, our regional channel, ABP Majha launched an extensive content play around our flagship property BappaMajha – wherein UNICEF had come on board as a partner for a special donation drive for Ganesh Chaturthi.
Similarly, on the onset of unlocking of the city, a campaign called ‘ShaharVahiZindagiNayi’ was also initiated for the viewers, to help them navigate and venture into the new normal.
How are you seeing advertisers’ response towards the news genre as per the latest BARC-Nielsen report many women are also watching the news?
According to BARC, in week 12, the general news genre recorded a 298% rise in terms of viewership. It has only seen an upward trajectory in terms of reach & engagement in the past few months.
The news-genre not only offers a prodigious amount of reach, but is also successful in providing incremental audience and marginal growth in new viewership categories like Women & Youth. However, as a result of the economic repercussions of COVID-19 and uncertainties over future operations, various brands had recalibrated their advertising plans in the initial months of lockdown.
Slowly and steadily, since July, we have been witnessing a resurgence of advertisements on all our channels. Moving forward, we hope advertisers will leverage the incremental reach offered by news-genre and help us achieve rosier projections in the upcoming quarters.
With the festival season approaching and the lockdown more or less lifted what has been the advertiser’s response?
We are starting to witness a significant upturn in terms of advertisements. Since July, ad inventory volumes have been increasing at full tilt and all markets are responding equally well with marginally more demand from North and West.
As businesses revive, marketers possess a higher ad expenditure. In fact, various brands are planning major activation in the coming months, with relatively longer festive season campaigns (7-8 weeks). Categories which were silent earlier are also getting active; these include: mobile handsets, e-commerce, retail, durables, automobiles, etc. These categories had been on a hiatus for a long time during lockdown.
Furthermore, since there is a substantial increment in demand, we foresee a greater pull this season as compared to last year, as festive season appears to be beginning early.
Now with the News genre seeing an unprecedented spike as a network will you roll out special rates for the festive season?
We are planning to increase our ad rates as viewership continues to mount on all our news channels, providing advertisers with tremendous reach & unmatched brand-building capabilities. Our channels have not only conquered the premium urban markets but also the rural markets, providing advertisers with a diverse set of audiences to reach out to.
How much is the network promoting its Digital Platform?
While TV consumption has been at an all-time high, consumers continue to embrace the digital space substantially. In fact, we have witnessed a sharp growth spurt on all our digital platforms. ABP Live has been one of the most visited news-platforms during this time, garnering impressions in millions and witnessing a humongous upsurge in usage with +46% Users and +138% Total Video Views in March 2020. Moreover, ABP Network garnered record-breaking viewership in the same month, with 1.5 Billion views on YouTube (Source: YouTube Analytics) and also saw a 62% surge in Facebook engagements.
Additionally, our regional channels have had a profound impact on the viewers, as ABP Ananda’s Youtube channel received a whopping 6.2 million views in one day [20th May, 2020 (Source: Youtube Analytics)]. We have taken this grandiose flight of digital media as a golden opportunity for us to engage with our viewers and provide them with a rich portfolio of content online. Our objective, right now, is to remain the viewers’ most-preferred news destination – no matter which medium.