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Broadcasters see regional adex space growing

Regional and Hindi GECs continued to lead advertisement expenditure in FY18.

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MUMBAI: Now that the Hindi fervour has died down, broadcasters and advertisers have latched on to the regional segment. It's no wonder that the adex in the space is expected to grow as well.

According to the global ad growth forecast of GroupM, India’s adex is expected to grow at 14.2 per cent compared to the global growth average of 3.9 per cent in 2019 and is likely to change. Indian adex has grown by 13.2 per cent in 2018 as per estimates by the media agency network. Moreover, according to the KPMG report 2018, regional and Hindi GECs continued to be the leading genres in terms of advertisement expenditure in FY18. However, the adex on Hindi GECs declined by 9 per cent in FY18 as compared to an increase of 5.4 per cent in adex on regional channels, outlining the overall growth of the regional market in India.

Throwing light on the Tamil and Marathi genre, they saw a marginal decline of 2 per cent and 9 per cent respectively while other major regional languages such as Telugu, Kannada, Bengali, Malayalam and Oriya, saw a growth in their contribution to the overall adex in FY18. This indicates that other regional languages are picking up quick.

In Februrary 2018, Viacom18 entered the Tamil GEC market with the launch of Colors Tamil, with an availability across 11 million households in Tamil Nadu and 22 hours of weekly original content at launch.  

Commenting on the same, Viacom18 head regional entertainment Ravish Kumar said that part of it could possibly be caused by the FTA channels which have come up in Hindi. The viewership has moved to them and that has led to margin dilution as opposed to margin accretion. “On the regional space, you must have seen a lot of consolidation on the top end so where the strong are getting stronger and the weak are getting weaker, more margins are analysed which normally means that the ability to command high rates are high.” He added that it is backed up with a lot of investment in formats like reality, movie premiers or events which typically tend to command higher rates.

He further added that the growth in regional space is in double digits. Commenting on the decline in Tamil and Marathi, Kumar said that the ratings of regional channels have only increased steadily over the years and short term ups and downs are expected.

The other factors that would aid adex growth are big ticket events such as several state elections, government advertising and cricketing events. FMCG continues to contribute 51 per cent to the total television spends followed by telecom 12 per cent and auto 8 per cent that helped reach a growth of Rs 820 crore in television adex in 2017. Hindi GECs, including FTA, contributed 28 per cent of overall television adex and Hindi is by far the largest contributor to television adex.

As per the report, Times Network MD and CEO MK Anand said, “2018 will be a good year for adex overall. The economy has more or less come to terms with the earlier disruptions. We don’t expect any major new policy changes since it’s an election-eve year. And not to forget, the 2017 base is a depressed one. So growth will be decent.”

Speaking about the Bengali cluster, Zee Bangla had recently refreshed its channel’s campaign by observing a wide surge in the viewership off late. Meanwhile, in an interview with Indiantelevision.com, ZEEL business head for Zee Bangla and Zee Bangla Cinema Samrat Ghosh said that in terms of ad space, it has observed a good amount of contribution to the national players as well as the local players and it sees a lot of opportunity in West Bengal in the GEC space in terms of viewership. “As I have already said that the Bengal TV viewership is growing at a CAGR of 5 per cent whereas the ad expenditure is growing at 13 per cent.”

Adding more relevance to Ghosh’s point, ZEEL cluster head regional markets Amit Shah said that the total Bengali TV ad market is pegged at Rs 1000 crore with 90 per cent of the spends going towards Bengal GECs. “National advertisers are seeing a lot of merit in choosing Bengal for their incremental purpose where the national brand is concerned. Now, most companies divide the country into zones. According to that division, East zone in most cases is growing faster than the rest of the country which itself means that there is some good momentum in the market.”

Whereas, in terms of Kerala market ZEEL CMO Prathyusha Agarwal said that South GECs is a larger universe with larger audience. “It actually contributes 33 per cent viewership of the network and 23 per cent of the adex share. Hence, there is scope to grow there. The total adex in the Kerala market is estimated to be Rs 650-700 crore.”

As per the reports, with increasing focus on quality content in the regional markets, the production costs also saw an increase in FY’18. The production cost of a single original episode in the southern languages ranged between Rs 1.75-2 lakh and the acquisition price for a single ready dubbed Hindi series episode was between Rs 35,000-50,000 per episode. The proportion of local advertisers in regional channels ranges from 40-60 per cent, with the remaining being national advertisers, and this mix is skewed in favour of local advertisers for regional GECs outside the top three to four.

Star India south business MD K Madhavan said, “The content costs saw an increase in FY18 on account of significant improvements in the quality and production value of regional content. For non-fiction properties like Big Boss Tamil, the content costs were significantly higher, an indicator of the quality that audiences are now expecting.”

It remains to be seen what does the year 2019 have to say to the broadcasters about adex in the near future.

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