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Sweet music for news, regional on ad sales front

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Show me the money. That was what ad sales execs in television networks managed quite well, thank you in 2004. It was a year that witnessed solid growth across genres, sports and Hindi cinema being the exceptions. The big story of 2004 was of course news, as well as regional and music channels to a lesser degree.

A tale that was in sharp contrast to the "confusion on the ground" as regards distribution revenues. Cable penetration may have increased to approximately 50 million households in the country and the sector may have got a regulator, but the chaos in the broadcast and cable segment continued unabated in 2004. However, this is not to say that pay channels failed to collect as regards distribution revenues. It was just that it generally remained more flat than up. But more on that in another report that comes out next week on the distribution scenario in India. Wait for it.

Coming back to the ad sales scene. This has been a rare year where Print has managed to notch a slightly higher growth than TV. At a broad level, the categories that are responsible for Print pipping TV in growth rates were - Properties/real Estate; Education (Coaching Centres, Computer Education, Competitive Exams); Travel & Tourism; Retailers; and of course election related spends.

Advertising Revenues across all media

  Year 2002 Year 2003 % Change Year 2004* % Change
TV 39090 42999 10 48600 13
Press 44000 47520 8 54500 15
Radio 1500 1800 20 2200 22
Cinema 3300 3550 8 3750 6
OOH 6900 7900 14 8500 8
Internet 300 400 33 600 50
 
Ad Industry Size 95090 104169 10 118150 13
(All figures in Rs. Million)
 
Source: Industry Estimates compiled by AdEx India
* Estimates on the basis of the first 3 quarters of 2004

Estimates by AdEx India indicate that print will rake in about 54,500 million, well ahead of television which saw ad revenues of Rs 48,600 million. That still gives television a 13 per cent growth (print grew at 15 per cent) above last year's 43,000 million, as per AdEx estimates.

A point of note is that in the media mix, it was Internet advertising that showed the highest growth rates, up 50 per cent from Rs 4,000 million in 2003 to Rs 6,000 million in 2004.

As regards television it was the news genre that made the headlines. Revenues this fiscal are expected to cross Rs 5,000 million (Rs 5,006 million to be precise), up a whopping 70 per cent from last year's Rs 4,300 million. Whether the news genre can keep up this scorching pace going forward into 2005 remains the big question though. The general elections in May and the state elections in October, as too the historic India-Pakistan cricket series which came on the back of a thawing of relations between the two neighbours had a lot to do with the growth that news channels witnessed.

Whether the growth can be sustained remains a moot point. But what there is little doubt about is that fragmentation in the news segment will increase in 2005. Channels from the Dainik Jagran stable, Times group, NDTV, CNBC and Zee group are all hoping to make an impact in the course of the year.

Another big growth area both on revenue and viewership terms is expected to be the regional space. Especially with the big players like the Star Group, Zee Telefilms and Viacom's MTV planning to spread south. Southern titan Sun Group on the other hand is readying its first serious foray beyond its bastions in the southern states of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Kerala. And it is the Bengali language space that Sun has chosen as its breachhead into the north.

The biggest downturn was of course in the sports arena. However, before anyone presses the panic buttons, this could well be one indicator of the huge impact the cricket World Cup has on ad revenues for broadcasters.

Break Up of Television Ad Revenue according to genre

  Year 2003** Viewership share 2003 Revenue share 2003*** Year 2004 Viewership share 2004 Revenue share 2004*** Revenue share change
Mass Ent.* 20210 36% 47% 25029 40% 52% 13%
Regional* 7740 40% 18% 9914 38% 20% 32%
Hindi Films 2150 4% 5% 1798 8% 4% -10%
News 4300 3% 10% 5006 5% 10% 70%
Sports* 5590 10% 13% 2916 4% 6% -125%
Infotainment

+ Kids
860 3% 2% 1069 3% 2% 13%
English Ent. 1720 2% 4% 2138 2% 4% 13%
Music 430 2% 1% 729 1% 2% 125.58%
 
(All figures in Rs. Million)
 
Source: Industry Estimates compiled by AdEx India
* Estimates on the basis of the first 3 quarters of 2004
** 2003 - Cricket World Cup year. World Cup and other Cricket on non-Sports channels has been clubbed with Sports
*** Revenues have been recomputed on Industry Estimates with relevant discounts

AdEx estimates that regional in 2004 will reach Rs 9,914 million, up 32 per cent from last year's Rs 7,740 million.



All this hectic activity going on around it has not affected the Hindi entertainment space too badly however, which continues its onward march. Hindi mass increased its overall viewership share from 36 to 38 per cent. The revenue share of Hindi mass is expected to grow to 51.5 per cent this fiscal at Rs 25,029 million, up 13 per cent from last year's Rs 20,210 million.

Next year the choice for both advertiser and viewer is only going to get wider. Whether it be kids (that Disney has landed says it all), spiritual channels and a whole host of niche channels, expect a whole load of action.

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