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We’ve seen a pattern of news becoming more efficient for advertisers: Experts

We’ve seen a pattern of news becoming more efficient for advertisers
We’ve seen a pattern of news becoming more efficient for advertisers

The news genre – Hindi, regional as well as English – has witnessed significant growth on TV during the lockdown period. Audiences are hungry for news, updates and information around the pandemic.

Fresh content is yet to return to GECs as production has only recently resumed. News channels have increased their reach and engagement across geographies and demographics. Meanwhile, movie channels and to some extent kids’ channels have also seen increased traction during the same period.

While the situation in the country remains highly volatile, even as India enters Unlock 2.0, the interest and viewership of news channels continues to remain high. With the advantage of a growing viewership base, news channels are increasingly becoming a part of the advertiser’s media mix to reach a much more diverse audience base.

Brands can not only reach beyond the traditional news’ audience that skews male but entire families and viewers in Tier II, III cities by leveraging a mix of national and regional news channels. Because of the nature of the genre, news consumption also tends to drive more engagement and delivers on impact of communication.

In partnership with News18 India, Adgully organised a webinar on Tapping the growing News TV audience – New possibilities for Marketers. Joining the discussion, was a distinguished panel, comprising of marketers and media experts, including:

  • Neel Pandya, Head of Media, L’Oreal (Moderator)
  • Jaikishin Chhaproo, Head - Media & PR, ITC Ltd
  • Loveleen Sahrawat, Head of Brand, Aditya Birla Capital
  • Mayank Jain, CEO – Hindi News, Network18
  • Sai Narayan, CMO,
  • Sanjay Adesara, Head of Media & Digital, Adani Wilmar

Network18’s Mayank Jain began by sharing the most recent developments in the news ecosystem in the post COVID-19 era. He observed that news channels were seeing interest from new advertiser categories and increased spending from select brands. He said “Naturally, we've seen a huge surge in viewership post-COVID-19. The viewership minutes and the total reach of the genre has climbed up. We've also noticed a change in the trends of viewership. Non-primetime viewing has gone up and in certain cases it has even surpassed the primetime viewing. The reason for this is obvious, people are spending more time at home and have more time at hand. They are also curious to know more about the pandemic and be updated of the latest situation.”

Jain further said, “Due to this, we've also seen advertisers increase media rates on news. With the increase in media rates, we've seen a pattern of news becoming more efficient for advertisers. This means that a lot more FMCG advertisers have been able to increase their media spends on news. A combination of this has resulted in the advertising volumes to almost return to the pre-COVID-19 levels. On the back of a tough economy, there are fewer advertisers in the market and the entire media industry is going through a challenging phase, news channels have fared better compared to other channels that were available.”  

He opined, “The increase in media rates and advertisers will be a long-term phenomenon and it will be interesting to see how this plays out.”

Speaking about the relevance of news channels, Loveleen Sahrawat, Aditya Birla Capital said, “We’re in the BFSI category and money is the most important commodity people engage with. Our primary target audience are highly involved with the progress of this country, it's economy and their personal finance. Hence, we talk to mindsets that are open, informed and news provides this amazing platform which mirrors our category in many ways. For the last two years, we haven't been off primetime news for a single day. We bet big on news whether it's Hindi, English or other regional languages because entertainment is getting very fragmented.”

She observed “For the last 9-10 months, people have been talking about OTT, but the truth is, that we've been a 3-screen household for a very long time. News is that one genre that has really got your attention. Therefore, it is a very potent platform for brands to reach their audience. In the absence of fragmentation, it will continue to be an important platform for brands for quite some time.”’s Sai Narayan concurred, “Whether it's Pre-COVID or Post-COVID, the news genre will always be important for BFSI. The reason being, news reaches a core female and male audience and this division reflects in the financial aspects of their life.”

He further said, “When we started advertising way back, budgets were low, and the news genre created a great opportunity for a young brand like ours because the cost of entry is low, audience is relevant and the reach is high. The news genre allows a brand to test the waters and as a Dotcom company, it gives you instant feedback based on the change in traffic on your platform. We also used news to create shows on money that increased thought leadership at a very low cost. These shows also help create direct traffic. More than 70% of our spends are allocated in Cricket and News. With no Cricket happening, most of our spends are diverted to news and Hindi movies.”

To evaluate the right mix of news channels, ITC’s Jaikishin Chhaproo suggests, “From an FMCG perspective, I don’t think news genre is seen as a reach medium. We look at it when an announcement or communication that needs to go viral quickly. Within the FMCG viewer base, I’ve observed that viewers have a habit of sampling news channels. The stickiness is not that high and therefore you end up going with a carpet-bombing approach on news channels and aim for specific spots to maintain visibility. Since the difference in rating of news channels is in the decimals, you normally take a cluster of channels instead of ranking them individually. Usually, you take the top two channels and a few from cluster 2 and 3 to reach a significant set of audiences as they are swiping across news channels.”

He observed, “One doesn’t spend on new channels with a high rating but rather on spots. In terms of the KPIs, the sign is when you start hearing conversation around your campaign after coverage on the news for visibility.”

Speaking about the news audience, Sanjay Adesara, Adani Wilmar said, “For most parts of India, we're still a one TV household. So, whether it is male or female T.G, news is a part of everyone's viewing patterns. While we're into Food FMCG and the female audience is extremely important, when it comes to new product launches and communications, trade media plays an equally important role. For the last 5-6 years, there has been a sizeable incremental investment in news genre. We tend to pick cluster of top 4 or 5 channels across languages. Visibility in trade media is one of the biggest KPIs for the Food FMCG category. New launches and communications will lead to an increase in the relevance of news channels.”

Watch the entire session below.


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