Major ad revenue boost for Viacom18’s key properties this festive season: Mahesh Shetty

Festive season always sees a spurt in ad spends and a bumper festive season is expected this year, buoying up the overall performance during H2, compared to H1. After garnering huge traction on Voot with ‘Bigg Boss OTT’, the reality show has begun its innings on television. Meanwhile, Viacom18 is all geared with India’s first entertaining quiz show – ‘The Big Picture’, which will be aired on Colors.

‘Bigg Boss Season 15’, the country’s most expensive television show, will see Salman Khan return as the show’s host. For this edition of the show, 13 brands have been roped in across categories on Television and five sponsors on Voot. Already 6 major sponsors have joined the upcoming show ‘The Big Picture’, which will feature Ranveer Singh as the host.

‘Bigg Boss Season 15’ has got on board TRESemme (HUL) as Co-Presenting sponsor, Lotus While Glow (Lotus Herbals), Dabur Red Toothpaste (Dabur India), and Knorr (HUL) as Co-Powered by sponsors. The associate sponsors include (Infoedge), KK Smart Tyre, Hershey’s Kisses, Garnier Men (L'Oréal), Wow Skin Science (Body Cupid), Spotify, Moj App, Fogg Deo (Vini Cosmetics), and Haier Washing Machine.

The sponsors on board for ‘The Big Picture’ include BYJU’S as Co-Presenting sponsor, besides Bikaji, LIC, and Haier Refrigerator as Associate sponsors on TV and additionally two sponsors on Voot.

Viacom18 is also geared for the launch of its other high impact properties in the regional markets such as ‘Bigg Boss Marathi Season 3’, ‘Sangeeter Maha Juddho’ (Bangla), among others.

In an interaction with Adgully, Mahesh Shetty, Head - Network Sales, Viacom18, speaks about the expectations from Colors’ marquee properties, ad revenue growth expected during the festive season and H2 this year, the strong performance by regional channels and much more.

How can GECs use content as a strong pull to attract eyeballs during the festive & cricket seasons?

We at Viacom18 have a power-packed line-up of shows with impact properties like ‘Bigg Boss 15’, ‘The Big Picture’, ‘Bigg Boss Marathi Season 3’, ‘Sangeeter Maha Juddho’ (Bangla), amongst others. The unique proposition of our marquee properties is to bring the biggest stars like Salman Khan, Ranveer Singh, Madhuri Dixit, etc., right into the living rooms of our audiences. The star appeal along with the unique format creates an unmatched affiliation and fandom for the shows and holds on to audience interest year after year. These shows help garner much more visibility and credibility for advertisers as they are a big hit amongst consumers and offer brands the opportunity to interact with their consumers in a very innovative and clutter-breaking manner. Over the years, brands have realised that our marquee properties are a platform to boost top-of-the-funnel metrics such as brand awareness and consideration during the buying cycle. Thus, we expect a major boost in ad revenues through our key properties during the festive season.

With the cricket season coinciding with the festive season this year, what kind of bonanza can TV channels expect in terms of increase in ad spends from the revival and rebound expected in this festive season?

The festivities bring about a paradigm change in consumer mindset in the country and brands will want to latch on to it with increased ad spends. India loves cricket, and TV channels with the cricket properties will witness a huge surge in advertising. However, the surge will not be limited to cricket, but will extend to all marquee content in entertainment too. At Viacom18, we have a complete bouquet lined up across our Hindi GEC, regional, movies, youth and kids cluster of channels.

According to you, what are the kinds of ad revenues that GECs can expect in the second half of 2021, including the festive period?

Typically, the first half saw around 45% of the annual TV spends. However, since there was disruption due to the 2nd Wave, we will potentially see a stronger second half. We are confident of growing double digit revenues in the second half over last year on the back of strong performance of our channels and a robust content line-up.

What has been the revival like in the Unlock period? During the lockdown period OTT has given a tremendous fight, do you see OTT eating into TV’s share in terms of time spent on the medium and also TV ad revenues?

With India being an “&” market, TV advertising continues to grow as TV viewing audiences also keep growing. Our ad inventories are full as the demand is very high. The reason being the fact that TV advertising brings unmatched reach at low acquisition cost per user and most importantly, it creates brand equity, saliency and top of mind recall, which is essential for both established and start-up brands.

What role are Tier 2, Tier 3 and rural markets playing in giving a boost to TV ads this year?

The Tier 2, Tier 3 and rural markets have seen a lot of reverse migration during the pandemic and hence, advertisers are also planning to take advantage of that fact. We are seeing significantly higher demand on the channels that cater to the rural and smaller towns. The demand is led by our FTA channels, but even the pay channels which have high penetration among smaller towns are witnessing high demand. The same is true for Hindi as well as regional channels. Overall, TV as a medium is performing really well across markets.

Regional channels have been on the rise in getting more traffic for advertisements. What kind of impact can it have on national channels’ ad spends?

Regional channels are thriving both in terms of viewership and innovative programming.

The markets that they cater to are different from the National Hindi Channels. National and Regional channels provide vehicles to reach different sets of consumers and hence, there is hardly any overlap, barring 2 markets. National channels cover the Hindi Speaking Belt of India, while Regional Channels cover mainly the Non-Hindi belt. Advertisers are equally interested in reaching their entire consumer base and hence, are investing in both National and Regional channels. Moreover, Regional Channels have large set of local clients who only invest in their local language channels. Therefore, we see a beneficial harmony is maintained between the two, and don’t see one affecting the other.


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