Television’s virtual Onam conclave: BARC India CEO Sunil Lulla on Kerala ad market

The ad volumes in July’20 were higher than Jan’20 & might go up around Onam

NEW DELHI: Starting the first-ever virtual conclave by, “The Comeback of Kerala: Onam Returns” focuses exclusively on Kerala’s ad market and predictions for its supposed uptake in the upcoming festive season. BARC India CEO Sunil Lulla shared some interesting insights into the market and ongoing advertising trends. 

He shared that the TV universe in Kerala represents 3.7 per cent of the overall domestic market and Malayalam channels contribute to 86 per cent of the overall TV viewership in Kerala. 

The state spent 12-16 per cent less time watching non-primetime television vis-a-vis other southern states over the last three years, primarily due to low GEC and movie viewership during non-primetime hours. 

The Covid2019 period led to unprecedented growth in TV viewership in Kerala, interestingly, driven by non-primetime. Additionally, film-based content rose significantly on Malayalam channels while serials fell sharply because of the lockdown. News channels became the prime choice for viewers recording 1.04 hours average time, amounting to 19 per cent of overall viewership. 

When it came to advertising trends, affluence levels in the state led to increased purchasing power. After Unlock 2.0, ad volumes surpassed pre-Covid2019 levels across India, including Kerala. There has been a recorded 10 per cent hike in ad volumes in July 2020 as compared to January. Ad volumes for Malayalam genres have picked up significantly from the troughs observed during Covid2019 lockdown. 

The share of top 10 advertisers, which include HUL, ITC Ltd, Cadburys India Ltd, RB Group, WIPRO, P&G, among others, is stable at 50 per cent with next 40 showing minor variations. Most of the categories have also shown a hike in ad volumes. However, it may not have resulted in a growth in ad revenues, quipped Lulla. 

He also showed great positivity towards the Kerala ad market picking up during Onam season, which is at the end of this month. Sharing some numbers from the past three years, Lulla noted that even while the overall non-primetime viewership was low in the state, festive viewership was driven by the slot. Film-based programming also witnessed the highest growth. 

In terms of advertising, daily ad volumes (AVG) have shown a steady increase over the years during the festival. 

In terms of categories, the top advertisers during Onam usually are electronics and auto. 

Lulla noted that ad volumes are a function of production-supply chains and if they keep the pace, people will surely spend during the season. The ad volumes naturally will go up if that happens. However, for the ad revenues to reach the pre-Covid2019 times, it might still take some time and Lulla sees the silver lining in 2021. 

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