TV ad volumes on Kannada channels grow as Covid2019 situation improves

The market is the least hit in southern India

NEW DELHI: The third biggest contributor to south India’s ad space, amounting to Rs 5,000 crore in the year 2019 (as per TAM AdEx South Side Story), Karnataka is a crowded space when it comes to advertisers and marketers both. With the hub of digital agencies and regional offices of many mainline agencies in Bengaluru, the market is a very competitive one too. And going by the words of industry insiders, probably, the least impacted by Covid19 lockdown. 

Mplan CEO Parag Masteh tells that lesser number of Covid2019 cases in Karnataka, compared to other southern states, and a positive market sentiment helped the Kannada media companies maintain a steady grip on their advertising revenues. News and movies genres had an easy time, but there was a good dip in GEC numbers. 

“Though the nationwide lockdown and advertisers’ reluctance to splurge forced the TV market to lessen the ad rates by almost 50 per cent, the cumulative loss is nowhere near to what markets like Kerala faced. They, in fact, managed to maintain their revenue cycle in place.” 

The Media Ant co-founder Samir Choudhry reveals, “Overall there is a dip of more than 25 per cent in business (Kannada-language channels) in Q2 (April-June) vs Q1 (January-March).” 

Karnataka ad market is one of those where television still holds a greater affinity than other media and it remained the same during Coid2019 period, too. In fact, TV news genre managed to gain business during the time as per industry experts.  

Choudhry adds, “When it comes to Kannada markets, we have seen an increase of 10 per cent in the business when it comes to news channels. But yes, there was more than 30 per cent drop for the remaining genres during the Covid2019 period.” 

As per Masteh’s prognosis, news genre might have managed to hold 40-45 per cent of its regular business. 

If we look at the overall share of the television ad market, the advertiser sentiment seemed to be gradually increasing as the situation improved and fresh programming began. 

As per data shared by TAM AdEx, while there was a 32 per cent drop in overall ad volume across genre during the Covid2019 period, the numbers increased month-on-month. Ad volumes surged by 57 per cent in May and 84 per cent in June over the month of April.

The top 10 channels, which consist of four channels from news genre and three each from GECs and movie genre, amounted for 50 per cent of the advertising volume shares. Top brands included HUL, RB, Brooke Bond Lipton, Wipro and Colgate Palmolive, all big national-level advertisers.

The biggest sufferer in the market has been print and OOH for very obvious reasons; distribution problem for print and lack of advertiser interest in case of OOH. As the market slowly starts moving to normal, print is expected to get its advertiser share back sooner than later, but for OOH companies the fight is going to be tough. Even with lockdown restrictions gradually lifting, the OOH players are forced to sell the ad space at 90 per cent lesser than their original prices. This is hardly able to help them survive and pay salaries, shares an industry insider. 

The Kannada-language market has already started seeing positivity when it comes to ad volumes and revenues will follow soon. But that is not happening right now as per Choudhry. 

Masteh believes that the situation will start improving for the media players by the end of August if the Covid2019 numbers remain on a downward trend and the peak doesn’t hit the state, as expected to happen in September-October. 

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