After a very difficult 2020 dealing with the pandemic, television ad spends and advertisements had witnessed a sharp decline. However, this festive season presents an ideal time for brands to capture the interest and attention of consumers. Today with the vaccination drive is at its peak brands are witnessing a subtle change in consumer mindset and a surge in demand.
Viacom18 has identified the trend and has lined up blockbuster doses of entertainment to capture audience interest. Hence, brands have reignited their spends to capitalize on the upcoming festive season, by focusing on a high-octane entertainment calendar.
Mahesh Shetty -Head – Network Sales, Viacom18 talks on their big-ticket properties big Boss and Big Picture and how there is revenge spending and this has built a demand for brands…
Viacom 18 has had a great year, how are you seeing the oncoming festive season in regards to spends by brands? Advertisers on board for both the shows?
Viacom18 is all set for the festive season with a power-packed line-up of shows including Bigg Boss 15, The Big Picture, Bigg Boss Marathi Season 3, SangeeterMahaJuddho (Bangla), amongst others. Our strategy is to go with two big properties every quarter. We aired ‘KhatronKeKhiladi’ and ‘Dance Deewane’ in the same quarter this year (the last quarter). Now, we have Bigg Boss 15 which has just gone on-air and we will launch ‘The Big Picture’ which is Ranveer Singh’s TV debut on October 16.
The advertiser response to this strategy has been great and we have launched Bigg Boss 15 with 18 brands sponsoring the show, 13 of which are exclusively on television. ‘Bigg Boss’ is a unique proposition, which offers unmatched integration opportunities for brands and is a tried and tested hit with the advertisers. Response on The Big Picture has also been overwhelming with 5 sponsors already on-board the show.
The top advertisers on Bigg Boss are TRESemme ( HUL ) : Co-PresentingLotus While Glow ( Lotus Herbals): Co-Powered by Dabur Red Toothpaste : ( Dabur India Ltd) : Co-Powered byKnorr (HUL): Co-Powered byJeevansaathi.com ( Infoedge): Associate, JK Smart Tyre: Associate, Hershey’s Kisses: Associate, Garnier Men ( L’Oreal) : Associate, Wow Skin Science ( Body Cupid Pvt Ltd): Associate, Spotify: Associate, Moj App: Associate, FoggDeo ( Vini Cosmetics) : AssociateHaier Washing Machine: Associate. Additionally, we have 5 sponsors exclusive for Bigg Boss 15 on VOOT.
The Big Picture, we have the following sponsors on TV as below and additionally 2 more on VOOT.
Byjus: Co-Presenting, Bikaji: Associate, LIC: Associate and Haier Refrigerator: Associate
Is GEC seeing a dip in revenues as brands are now very active on OTT, your thoughts?
Television from an overall size of the business is multiple times the size of OTT, advertising business. A lot of Ott that many of us consume like Amazon or Netflix is Ad free. There is no advertising dollar that is moving there. The GEC brands are looking for mass audiences, which kind of go across the country or they could be across regions and create a quick, big impact. The impact of OTT on television is very minimal. Many of the broadcasters have a very strong OTT play, it’s a television plus OTT, which we give as a solution to advertisers. Many of our advertisers have taken sponsorship for television plus the Voot sponsorship, and then there are advertisers who take onlyVoot sponsorship because they’re looking for specific audiences and the ticket size of television being a linear medium. The quick answer to whether Ott has impacted television is No. Television is growing very strong and OTT is also growing at manifold levels and this growth has come at the cost of other mediums. Thus, advertisers are concentrating their ad dollars on television plus digital and digital Ott is a subset of digital fiction.
How are you seeing the Adex in the third quarter of 2021 and has COVID second wave affected the Adex overall?
COVID had an impact on the AdEX in Q1 and when I say Q1 It is my Q1 where we are on an April to March financial year. From a calendar year standpoint, Q2 was impacted. From a calendar year standpoint, we know that Q1 of this year was very good and things were kind of back to normal. However, when we compare it to the kind of dip we saw in 2020 when COVID hit, there was a national Lockdown and this time around there was a partial lockdown at different states at different points of time and brands did not stop advertising. However, during the first wave in 2020, a lot of brands stopped advertising as there was no demand.
This time around, it was not a complete lockdown, shops were open for certain hours in the day, though the intensity of advertising reduced a bit, the impact wasn’t as much for AdEx, from a television standpoint. The impact on some other mediums was far higher and the bounce back also was equally fast. As the vaccination drive gained momentum, from the second half of June, different universities and states started opening up and by August we were back to normal. The bounce back was very strong from a consumer standpoint: I would call it to revenge spending, the consumer demand returned and it was very strong. So, if we look at the quarter results of most of the consumer brands, they were very good.
As for the overall AdEx for this year, I think last year is not the best comparison as the first half of the year was completely washed out due to the first wave. However, if you compare it to pre-COVID for television my guess is we are seeing a double-digit growth this year due to the strong content line-up.
Regional Channels have upped their content, has this curtailed the ad spends by brands on national channels?
Hindi channels continue to gain the maximum part of the AdEx and continue to grow very strongly. Also, for an advertiser, if you look at it from an advertising standpoint what is it that the advertiser or the brand owner wants? They want to reach out to their consumers. The Hindi bunch of channels connects with adjacent markets; however, plans are distributed across the country so that they reach the consumer. They have to go to the regional channels because that gives them the reach to the consumer.
I don’t think regional channels compete with a Hindi GEC, because both are different markets, the brands are reaching out to the consumer and there are distinct geographies that consume regional entertainment I think the overlap markets are very minimal except for e.g., Gujarat or in Maharashtra, there is Marathi and Hindi channel where they become an overlapping market and both are doing very well. If you have to reach out to Tamil Nadu or Karnataka, it is imperative you take a Tamil or a Kannada channel or Malayalam channel otherwise you will not be able to reach the consumer and at the same time there are regional brands that have a regional presence and many FMCG brands who have regional presence only in certain pockets, why should they spend money on Hindi GEC channels when there’s so much of wastage? So regional channels get national brands plus Local brands and the Hindi GEC gets national brands, both kind of complement each other and it’s not that one is competing with the other for brands ad spends.
Today tiers 2 and 3have become full-fledged destinations for most brands. Is this giving a lot of boost to advertisers plus to channels?
The aspiring markets Tier 2 & 3, are now the go-to destinations for most brands because they have become strong aspiring markets. Today if a brand is looking to advertise only on television and targeting the top four or top six metros, then there’s a lot of spillovers because TV helps to reach not only metros but also Tier 2 and 3 markets. Any brand that’s looking at MEDIA presence or is looking at cities which are your Tier 2 & 3, then television works out to be a great medium, from a reach, cost and effectiveness perspective. As brands go deeper in terms of their distribution and as brands widen their distribution, television becomes the most obvious option for them to advertise. Basically, what happened with many brands in the last couple of years that are direct to consumer brands, we have seen many of them on the internet as they build their offline presence and as they grow their presence across the country, they come to television. Many such brands in the FMCG space or in the personal care space like Mama Earth and WOW Science are now looking at the television to advertise.
This year also you clash with IPL and World Cup, effect on viewership and ad spends?
IPL is on right now and it’s going full up on inventory across the network. The Indian advertising market has a lot of depth and IPL is the best impact property in the country and it’s great.
There are brands that want to go beyond IPL and it just adds to the overall Ad space. I think the T2O World Cup is also going to do the same. Some brands would invest but however, the overall numbers of brands who advertise on GEC are far more than the brands that just advertise in a T20 world Cup or just IPL. I don’t think it’s going to impact GEC and have any impact happening right now and I don’t see an impact happening in the coming months also.
Are we seeing two sets of advertisers one for your digital offering and one for GEC or you sharing revenues?
No, the sell on television is different and on Voot is different. There are some brands who take TV plus Voot so for example BYJU’s who is the presenting sponsor on the Big Picture, is both on TV &Voot. There are some brands that advertise only on television and there are some brands who want their brand’s presence on both platforms.