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Will Advertisers Gain from PM Modi’s Stint on Discovery in ‘Man vs Wild’?

Have you ever seen Prime Minister of India in a reality show? Well here is the deal, Discovery Communications is featuring PM Narendra Modi with Bear Grylls in Man vs Wild special episode on 12th August. The information was released earlier this week and has taken the Internet by storm. People across the world are expressing their views on the development and has put the PM once again ahead of its rivals in the way he leverages the media.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has taken up the cause of animal conservation and in a press statement mentioned that "For years, I have lived among nature, in the mountains and the forests. These years have a lasting impact on my life. So when I was asked about a special programme focussing on life beyond politics and that too in the midst of nature I was both intrigued and inclined to take part in it."

"For me, this show presents a great opportunity to showcase to the world India's rich environmental heritage and stress on the importance of environment conservation and living in harmony with nature. It was a great experience spending time in the jungle once again, this time with Bear, who is blessed with indefatigable energy and quest to experience nature at its purest," he added.

Interestingly, Bear Grylls, a renowned adventurer who hosts the Man vs Wild show on Discovery, has earlier hosted the likes of former US President Barack Obama, tennis legend Roger Federer, Hollywood actors Julia Roberts and Kate Winslet.

The announcement for the show was accompanied by a campaign with the hashtag #PMModionDiscovery where you can see a promo of the Prime Minister and Bear Grylls camping out in the wild.

Will it Get New Audiences and Eyeballs?

There is definitely a lot of buzz for the show as once the trailer was released a section of society lauded the initiative while others criticized it. The show is co-presented by Havells and co-powered by Fogg and PolicyBazaar.com and surely the advertisers are anticipating a strong viewership. 

Discovery will be simulcasting the show at primetime (9 PM) across 12 network channels in India to amplify the reach. It will be telecast across 180 countries where the channel has its presence.

The 12 channels that Discovery operates in India include, Discovery Channel, TLC, Animal Planet, Discovery HD World, Discovery Science, Discovery Turbo, Discovery Kids and sports channel DSPORT. These content on these channels has traditionally been of interest to consumers in Tier I cities. Post the implementation of the new tariff regime, all 12 channels have become pay channels.

Discovery Channel is their most popular channel dominating the infotainment segment with 4543 (000) impressions between 13th and 19th July (6 Mega Cities: NCCS AB : 2+ Individuals) followed by Animal Planet with 1784 (000) impressions. In the Lifestyle segment, TLC is Discovery’s most popular channel which garnered 561 (000) weekly impressions between 13th and 19th July (6 Mega Cities: NCCS AB: 2+ Individuals). (Source: BARC Data)

Apart from these, Discovery Communication’s other channels have a relatively smaller audience base in India. There is an anticipation that that PM Modi’s appearance of ‘Man vs Wild’ will provide a strong spike in the viewership for the Discovery channel, which is most visible and has the highest ratings.

According to, Soumit Deb, General Manger, Mediacom, “Given the fact that it’s Discovery and the base of the channel itself is quite low, the incremental growth will not drastically impact RoI. While the show will definitely bring in new audiences, but we still have to wait and watch how Brand NaMo delivers on mainline TV. As the show is only going to be available on TV, and not on any other platform like OTT or YouTube it will not attract that many millennials.”

As per the media planners and industry veterans, last year, Discovery’s marquee shows ‘Indian Submariners: Lethal Force in the Sea’ and ‘Indian Airforce Academy’, commanded ad rates between Rs 1.2 lakh and Rs 1.5 lakh per 10 seconds. Sources further mention that anticipating a phenomenal number of viewers tuning in to catch PM Modi on Discovery, the network has hiked ad rates by as much as 3X up to Rs 5 lakh.

Discovery is also offering a bundle deal to advertisers ranging between Rs 90 lakh and Rs 1 crore, which will allow them to place ads across 12 channels. For this, Discovery will allocate specific number of ad spots to advertisers as per the deals drawn up with them. These ad spots could be of any duration in length and not necessarily of 10 seconds.

An industry source who did not want to be quoted remarked that it is unlikely that Discovery will find many new subscribers for their channels just because of one special episode. Even if PM Modi’s biggest fans tune in to catch the show, the channel will see a spike for that period and taper off again. However, the show will deliver quality of eyeballs if not quantity and will attract advertiser interest likewise.

However, there is no doubt that the show will definitely increase the top of the mind recall value for Discovery with PM Modi joining the mainline television for the first time. It will be interesting to see that in future if anyone other networks are able to create such an impactful programming line up.

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