Specials

Soirees from south

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The show about a married woman who wanted to give her salary to her mother‘s family glued people on to their television sets in the South. The script for the soap could have been regressive, but the appeal was pan India. The same story was retold in Kannada, Bengali and Hindi. The serial in question, Tamil hit soap Kolangal. Following suit was Thirumathi Selvam, another Tamil soap which mutated into Hindi as Pavithra Rishta.

If fiction had a story to tell, non-fiction did not take away the fun, too. The KBC Tamil equivalent with Tamil film actor Suriya is in the making along with Kannada and Malayalam. Popular format shows in Hindi too have found regional audiences shows like Deal or No Deal and Million Dollar Drop. The north-south integration has come full circle, at least on Telly. Today, just like the upper part of India, the lower half also had a compelling narrative of successes on the television.

You cannot look the other way when regional GECs in South, over the years, have emerged as key focus areas for most of the players. This is largely attributable to the connect with Non-Hindi speaking market audiences.

The South constitutes approximately 35 per cent of all pay TV subscribers, 36 per cent of all DTH subscribers and 34 per cent of all cable TV subscribers nationally. Availability of vernacular content is the most critical factor. In fact, viewers in the South are spoiled for choice with the plethora of content.

All figures in Millions
Total HH*
TV HH
TV HH %
C&S HH
C&S Penetration
Tamil Nadu
17
15.3
90%
15
99%
Andhra Pradesh
20
13.5
67%
13
97%
Karnataka
12
8.5
69%
8
94%
Kerala
6
4.7
75%
4
93%
South India
56
42
75%
41
97%
All India
231
141
61%
116
82%

Source: Deloitte analysis and industry estimates

The above table clearly shows TV and Cable & Satellite (C&S) penetration in south is well above the national average.

Furthermore, the number of operational regional GECs is four times those of the national GECs. If one were to decode economics as to what makes the proposition attractive, one would learn that regional channels are attractive for advertisers due to lower cost of connect with the right audience. For the broadcasters, the attraction is due to lower cost of content and distribution costs, coupled with increasing advertiser‘s interest.

The penetration and potential has helped niche genres emerge in south too. GECs clearly dominate the viewership in there and will continue to reign at the top while news, movies and music remain the other popular genres.

An interesting trend in the regional television space is the emergence of niche genres such as kids, youth and comedy that have a dedicated audience and provide targeted advertising platforms for brands.

Box Populi

For over four decades politics and cinema had a cozy alliance in the south of India, but suddenly the more influential spouse had to give way to a more alluring mistress - television. Or how could someone explain the equation? Consider the case in point: 14 news channels and counting in Andhra Pradesh; Tamil Nadu also saw an influx of new channels with Puthiya Thalaimurai TV now considered numero uno in Tamil Nadu. Sun TV, which till now ruled the roost in Tamil News, now has competition with the DMK run Kalaignar TV, Jayalaitha run Jaya TV, and Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK), a constituent of UPA, owned Makkal TV.

Down south in Kerala, news channels are translating to good business with Jai Hind TV, Kairali TV and the recently launched Manorama TV slugging it out with the already popular Asianet News.

In Karnataka, 2011 was a year that saw launch of many news channels - Janashri TV, Samaya 24/7, Kasthuri Newz 24 and Publice TV to name a few.

India has one of the highest number of news channels in the world with almost 150 channels in the genre. The South too recently saw a spurt of mushrooming news channels. The major attraction for players in this space stems from factors like political ambition and driving public opinion besides profitability. While English news channels command the highest advertising rates due to their connect with the male urban audiences, it is the regional news channels that garner major share of total advertising pie.

TAM data suggests the viewership share of regional news channels has grown by 15-20 per cent in South India in 2011.

Revenue share in South Markets

Currently, Tamil Nadu is the largest market for advertisement in the South with revenues close to Rs 11.5 billion followed by Andhra Pradesh with revenues of Rs 8.2 billion. Karnataka and Kerala generate advertisement revenue to the tune of Rs 5.8 billion each.

In 2011, of the total ad revenues in South India, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh had a share of 37 per cent and 26 per cent respectively, while Karnataka and Kerala follow with a share of about 19 per cent each.

Content Revenue

With fierce competition, every channel tries to maximise the topline. There are two key ways TV broadcasters earn revenue from content; subscription fees and pay per view fees. Additionally, the internet and the digital mode have gained much credence in the past 2 years or so. With the content costs from networks going up, the challenge is to maximise the yield when viewers can get content through many new media channels reducing the value for the networks. Two major markets that show promising trends are Tamil Nadu followed by Andhra Pradesh.

Source: Deloitte analysis and industry estimates

Way forward

Television industry in South is on a transformation path. Multiple channels in each genre competing with each other for TRP, increasing pay TV penetration, expanding yet fragmented local as well as overseas viewership of South Indian channels, demand for more specific content - clearly set the stage for the next level of growth and transition for players across the television value chain. Content creators and broadcasters need to be cognisant of the ever increasing demand for differentiated content. While on one hand new digital content distribution platforms are emerging, on the other hand new formats of entertainment - computers, mobiles and other handheld devices - are gaining importance. Monetisation of content through these new opportunities in existing platforms and new media platforms are going to be key focus areas for the content owners.

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