Fresh content, festive season, rural consumption buoy GECs as advertisers return

Devoid of fresh content due to shootings not taking place during the lockdown, General Entertainment Channels (GECs) saw a decline in its viewership, especially during the primetime. Re-telecast of old favourite serials did shore up the viewership for some weeks, especially for DD National and DD Bharti, which aired old classics like ‘Ramayan’ and ‘Mahabharat’.

On the other hand, content consumption on digital platforms saw tremendous traction during the pandemic and lockdown times as Indian remained confined to their homes.

With shootings resuming amid strict guidelines, original content is returning to television and so are the viewers. BARC-Nielsen reports reveal that though viewership dropped during the peak lockdown period, advertisers remained consistent on GECs, even though they, too, could not produce fresh ads due to no shootings being allowed by the Government.

The pandemic didn’t leave any sector from getting trapped under its spell. With the nationwide lockdown and shooting coming up to a standstill, the General Entertainment Channels (GECs) lacked of its original or fresh content, and due to which its viewership also came down. Now with shooting coming back to normal and fresh content, GECs observed their viewers getting back to their serials.

A Star Plus channel spokesperson told Adgully, “The recent months have been tough for us as a society and the journey of getting back on track has just begun. In this journey, we want to stand alongside our viewers, giving them entertainment and escape. The numbers are only an outcome of our sincere efforts to ensure that we put out content that speaks to our viewers based on societal insights and real stories. We will continue to push hard to remain their favourite family entertainment destination.”

Ashish Sehgal, Chief Growth Officer - Ad Revenue, Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd (ZEEL), pointed out that the introduction of fresh content has seen an increase in advertisers’ response. “Apart from the new content, the entertainment industry is slowly and steadily recovering towards pre-COVID levels of growth. The good monsoon season, agricultural growth and a boost in consumption during the unlock phase has been able to revive demand,” he added.

Several new brands and categories were seen emerging during the pandemic, which saw brands in e-commerce, edu-tech and banking increasing their advertising spend. Despite the economic slowdown, brands realise the merit of being a part of the customer’s consideration set, which is critical for brand salience.

Arpit Machhar, Head of Marketing, Enterr10 Television, remarked, “Viewers as we know it were starved for fresh original content due to the lockdown. Now that shoots have resumed and so has fresh programming, viewers have started returning to their favourite prime time shows. Moreover, the launch of new shows has also begun, getting prime time viewership on track to pre-COVID levels. At Dangal, we too launched a new show – ‘Aye Mere Humsafar’ in the 7 pm slot and have seen interest from viewers to a great extent. At the same time, we have seen increased interests from advertisers. Considering Dangal is an FTA channel, we have a bulk of FMCG brands associated with us. In addition to this, there are also new categories that are actively looking at television as a medium. Insurance players have increased ad spends given the crisis and so have e-commerce brands. Education and Edu-Tech is another emerging category that has been investing in television off late.”

The festive season has given a further boost to demand for certain categories, such as consumer durables, FMCG, white goods, immunity boosters, health & hygiene products, e-commerce, with brands seeing great traction and the need for advertising has also increased.

According to Sehgal, “Increase in rural consumption and good monsoons will drive the demand. Ad volumes in the industry during the Unlock period have surpassed pre-COVID volumes. We are expecting a healthy increase in ad spends during the festive season since all genres are evaluating their content mix and investing in multiple properties. It is important that advertisers capitalise during this time period since TV is the most impactful source for creating awareness considering the scale of audience the medium is able to reach. Industries like consumer durables, automotive and e-commerce will do well during the festive season. Our leadership position and strong presence across India will yield good results for advertisers.”


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