Dual LCN/ Landing Pages- Good or bad?
“MIB directed BARC India to stop generating ratings of those channels that use landing pages to boost viewership through high sampling and reach for their channels.”
Going by past trends, broadcasters have been actively using landing pages to boost viewership. The logic is simple- a landing page ensures higher probability of the channel being watched, much like a supermarket where higher visibility of a product leads to impulse buying. Similarly, the channel with higher availability increases the chances of higher visibility, which eventually increases viewership.
Commenting on MIB’s decision, Pankaj Krishna, Founder & CEO, Chrome Data Analytics & Media said “We support MIB’s decision of preventing channels using unethical routes to enhance their viewership, for e.g., if a channel opts for dual LCN, the others are compelled to follow it to safeguard their numbers, consequently causing the spiralling effect of increased carriage fees. However, a landing page is purely a promotional exercise. As long as a channel is not running on dual LCN, there is nothing unethical about the concept of channels using landing pages.’
As per the Chrome DM Landing Page Report-Week 36, 2017, there are over 400 landing pages active as on 05-09-2017 and are spread across channels and genres all over cable and DTH platforms.
Dual LCN denotesa channel running on two separate LCNs within the same cable operator’s/DTH platforms feed.
He further added, “A channel’s presence on the landing page does not denote it being present on Dual LCN. All landing pages do not constitute dual LCN.”
Typically, there are three cases of landing pages that can arise:
CASE 1: Channel LCN as a landing page –So for e.g. if a channel is running on LCN #234 – and the set-top box switches on to LCN#234 hosting that Channel, the channel becomes the landing page.
CASE 2: Dual LCN with one LCN being a Landing Page – If a channel is running on LCN#234 – but the set-top box initiates a switches on to anotherLCN#, e.g. LCN#001, also hosting the same channel (as the landing page), that constitutes to a Dual LCN.
CASE 3: Dual LCN with neither being a Landing Page - When a channel is present on two different LCN#s e.g. LCN#234 & LCN#675 within different genres of the EPG, where neither is a landing page.
We believe that there could be a concern in the latter 2 cases – as they constitute to Dual LCNs leading to an unsustainable model of boosting viewership through higher sampling and reach for these channels.
Landing pages are simple marketing exercises – mirroring an FMCG company placing its products at the entry/exit cash counters to boost sales. We believe MSOs have been monetizing landing pages as a source of additional revenue stream by running promos and commercials. As per the Chrome DM Distribution Investment Index - The yearly generated revenue ranges from Rs.5Cr to as high as 20 crores for major MSOs and is all accounted for.
What is more important as an industry endeavor is to focus more on achieving 100% digitization in India, which missed its 31st March, 2017 deadline. Interestingly, Analog signals continue to be carried out in many parts of the country, indicating a lack of addressability and transparency that only digitization can solve.