TV news versus GECs: Who can deliver better ROI for brands?

While cynical observers have spent years writing obituaries of TV news, a full page advertisement by News18 India in Tuesday's Economic Times said that the news channel is watched by more people than Star Plus, Sony and Zee TV are.

The data amplified by News18 India can be an eye opener for the set of advertisers who are either more skewed towards GECs or digital platforms.

A closer look at the weekly data shared by BARC, which also claims that news has just 4.5% market share in the overall viewership pie, reveals that some news channels be in 2+ category or 15+ are ahead of popular GECs.

Will advertisers lean more on news?

Though the numbers of reach TV news look good on paper, but in reality advertising expenditure on TV news is very less.

News channels, which operate in a highly competitive market, barely take home around Rs 4000 crore in adex every year. This is a fraction of India’s total adex. Whereas, GECs command a lion’s share of adex, which as per some reports is more than Rs 25,000 crore.

In terms of ad rates, top TV news channels operate at 30% of the rate charged by GECs.

Analysts say though News channels are delivering in terms of high reach, time spent on GECs is a factor that is in favour of entertainment channels. The reach data, however, will help change the perception towards TV news.

“For an advertiser, what matters the most is that his brand reaches the audiences in a cost efficient manner and in a safe environment. News channels are very much capable of delivering that,” said a media planner who did not want to be named.

A large FMCG advertiser who advertises mostly on GECs said that the reach numbers of news channels is a great news. “If our objective is met at a lower cost, then why not go for news. The perception around news should change now. For two years, there was no data on news. Now that the data is coming in, it will help us plan better.”

Another media observer said that it was about time for TV news industry to come together and demand better ad rates from advertisers. “The entire news genre has been highly divided. Now that the numbers all looking good in terms of reach, all channels should come together and seek better ad rates. News shouldn’t be undersold anymore,” the observer, who’s held senior positions in the broadcast industry, said.


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