India's economic boom spurs BBC World ad growth

NEW DELHI: BBC World in India is seeing a remarkable increase in category advertising and finding new advertisers over the past year or so, the latest being Uttaranchal government signing up exclusively last Friday with the global news broadcaster for its tourism advertising across Europe, Asia-Pacific and USA.

The channel is now viewed in 16.5 million cable and DTH homes, an increase by 1.5 million homes this year, the company has said.

Without revealing figures on the average growth rate in revenue, Seema Mohapatra, BBC World's head, advertising sales, India, tells that BBC is rapidly expanding its market in India and seeing two new trends: Indian MNCs looking at global markets have greatly increased their advertising on BBC World internationally, including Europe, the US, Asia-Pacific and Africa; and the interest of global players in advertising in BBC's India programming has also increased.

Mohapatra says: "We have been growing steadily over the last couple of years and last year we recorded a substantial growth over the previous year."

"We are currently working on some groundbreaking initiatives with some of our IT clients that specifically target the younger audiences," Mohapatra reveals.

"This year, Aditya Birla, Kirloskar and a few others have advertised on BBC World internationally. Uttaranchal Tourism have advertised exclusively with us in Europe, Asia Pacific and USA and has been extremely happy with the outcome," Mohapatra asserts.

"Besides, India being the emerging epicentre of global business, the interest in India from global players has gone up significantly and we see that in our business. With these emerging trends, I see us being at the helm of developing strategies along with clients rather than just act as an agent for them," she adds.

The channel also claims to be the leader in international news service in this country, especially because of its long presence here. "The Indian market has been a focus for BBC World since its launch in 1995," Mohapatra said in an exclusive interaction with

Mohapatra says: "Our core advertisers have remained and grown with us and we have added on new advertisers from emerging sectors like real estate, IPOs and IT as well as Indian MNCs. We have also seen a sharply defined demand last year, from companies that want to reach out to discerning audiences and are looking at focussing on the right group of people.".

She avers that the Global Indian Survey conducted by BBC World also reiterates the fact that there are more and more Indians today who have a keen interest in global affairs and international news.

The key advertising categories on the channel are IT and telecom, premium white goods, banking and finance, travel tourism, and motoring, according to her.

"We believe in working as 'thought partners' with our clients and have a dedicated client solutions team who work with our key clients to understand their objectives before developing a solution on how they can best work together on attaining their objectives within a said budget. BBC World offers a low clutter environment that enhances greater recall for the client's creative helping it stand apart from the competition," Mohapatra claims.

Referring to BBC's audience, she points out: "Our key audience, apart from opinion formers and decision makers, also include progressive people who are very keen to know what's happening in the world - all of whom have an enviable spending power that works well for our advertisers."

One advertiser increasing its spending on BBC each year is the tourism ministry. Mohaptra revealed that the Ministry of Tourism and the 'Incredible India' campaign have continued to increase their ad spends on BBC World, ever since they began advertising with the channel four years ago.

"This year, we are proud to have worked with the ministry to produce three unique commercials which highlighted the different sectors and raised the profile of India as a country with world-class health care services and state-of-the-art conference facilities. Indian tourism is, in fact, using the Ayurveda film created by us, for the Incredible India Campaign on the domestic channels," she avers, while giving an example of new forms of client solutions systems BBC has put in place.

Adds Mohapatra, "There is a lot of interest in India today and a whole host of global companies want to reach the Indian consumer. International energy clients, tourist boards, airlines, hotels, banks, telecom and other investors looking to come into India are advertising to an Indian audience."

And though international news is and shall remain the channel's focus, it is going to increase its Indian content considerably in the near future. The channel is currently planning a series on Indian weddings due to be filmed in March and scheduled to broadcast on BBC World globally in the summer 2007.

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