Television

Amid pandemic, GECs take lion’s share of brands’ TV advertising budget

Television remains the preferred mode of advertising for brands due to its reach.

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As the entire country is battling the second wave of coronavirus outbreak, advertisers asserted that they will continue advertising on television as it is the most effective medium to flaunt their product before Indian audiences. In the recent Tele-Wise Kannada panel discussion organised by Indian Television Group in association with Colors Kannada, industry experts debated whether regional channels were the next frontier for Indian advertisers to advertise their products. The discussion was moderated by Indiantelevision.com's founder, CEO & editor-in-chief Anil Wanwari. 

Television continues as the most preferred medium

During the event, ITC head of marketing Aishwarya Pratap Singh stated that his company trusts television as the most effective medium of advertising, as it offers 96 per cent penetration rate. According to him, television and print are ITC's most preferred mediums to advertise their products, especially in Karnataka. 

"As long as the market is there, lockdown or no lockdown, we will continue to invest in TV," added Singh. 

Airtel vice president - media Archana Agarwal said, "Television remains the highest reach medium. We may look at other options if we are to focus on specialised local markets, but for the entire state, TV is the medium." 

Parle Products sr category head Krishnarao Buddha revealed that they did not have much chance to experiment on advertisements, as their stocks were shrinking due to increased demand. However, the consumer goods major trusted television as its primary advertising medium, and advertised their products across channels. 

"Last year, there was not much possibility for us to advertise. But, we stitched a new creative from our old creatives. We also went out of our way to support broadcasters, like Star Sports and news channels," he said. 

Setbacks faced during pandemic times

Krishnarao admitted that Parle had faced a setback, especially in the confectionery segment due to the Covid2019 pandemic. 

"We have deferred some of our launches due to the pandemic. Overall, the confectionery category has been impacted. Children always buy confectionaries in mono packs. As schools remain closed, the sale of mono packs has been impacted. But we have seen an increase in the sale of salty snacks as people now confined to their homes," he elaborated. 

ITC's Pratap Singh said, "Noodle businesses are stable, in fact, a little more, as people tend to eat more while being at the home. We were able to grow even in Covid times. During these pandemic times, we focus more on quick selling products rather than spending time on slow-moving products."

Challenges faced by advertisers in Karnataka

Industry experts who attended the virtual summit unanimously agreed that the multifaceted culture in Bengaluru is one of the main challenges they face while delivering region-specific ad campaigns. 

"In Karnataka, 60 per cent of TV viewership comes from Kannada channels, and 15 per cent from Hindi speaking channels, so a lot depends on the language. But when it comes to Bengaluru, only 53 per cent of TV viewership comes from Kannada channels. For advertising, a drop of seven per cent cannot be ignored. So, instead of creating region-centric ad campaigns, we always roll out national ad campaigns in Karnataka too," detailed Airtel’s Agarwal. 

Pratap Singh further explained why exclusively Kannada campaigns may not work in Bengaluru. "There is a lot of Tamil and Telugu-speaking population in Bengaluru. Due to the staggering amount of Tamil-speaking people in Bengaluru, Tamil channels are also faring big in Bengaluru.'' 

"We have not experimented a lot with Karnataka specific campaign. We typically use an entire south Campaign or an all India campaign," remarked Krishnarao when asked about Parle's marketing strategy for the region. 

Favourite genres for advertisers 

The overarching consensus among the talking heads at the Tele-Wise Kannada panel discussion was that general entertainment channels (GEC) are the best option to reach consumers. The reason is simple – it’s the category that offers the biggest reach.

"In most cases, we prefer GECs and sports. Movies play a big role, especially when there's no fresh content on TV during the lockdown. News channels do not give us high reach somehow. Sports, yes, we are on IPL. We strongly believe in the power of cricket. It is quite expensive but it’s worth investing there," said Pratap Singh. 

Agarwal revealed that Airtel has not invested much in reality shows. 

"Most of the reality shows are on similar lines. But, we haven't sponsored any show in the last two or three years in any market, except for Kerala," she said. 

Krishnarao explained, "The reality shows come at a premium. So we have to evaluate our needs. But, we have associated with a few channels, and we are continuously on the lookout for more impact." 

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