Television

TRAI tariff order impact: Niche channels yet to stabilise

The channels are expecting to see clearer results by then.

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MUMBAI: Though three months have passed since the implementation of the new TRAI tariff order (NTO), industry stakeholders feel it might take a few more months for the dust to settle especially for the niche genres. Indiantelevision.com spoke to various industry experts across genres to get a sense of the situation on ground. While reports cited that niche channels like English, infotainment, music, lifestyle among others might face difficult times for a couple of months more, 9X Media chief revenue officer Pawan Jailkhani said that eight to ten weeks is sufficient time for the data to stabilise. “Hindi music channels should not be classified as niche. They are as or even more popular than the Hindi GECs and movies. 9XM with the highest reach at 197 million amongst the 15+ universe across the urban and rural HSM is far ahead than Hindi GECs. Today marketers and brand managers view 9XM as a strong reach platform.” He further added that for them, it has stabilised.

He explained that since its implementation came into force, marketers, advertisers and the ISA took a call that the data shouldn’t be used for any FTA or paid channels because of the transition. It was only recently that ISA directed the clients to use the data for media planning.

Similarly, paid channel TravelXP is seeing substantial growth every month. According to the company, any system’s reset, whether good or bad, will take time. TravelXP CEO Prashant Chothani feels that the reset will be beneficial for the whole ecosystem and with the proper implementation, execution and better understanding of the consumer, things will fall in place.

NTO has provided transparency between the consumers and the broadcasters’ chain even as TV viewership is increasing which is proven by BARC. This is beneficial to the channels because advertisers want more eyeballs and more time spent. “I don’t see any fundamental difference. So, a cautious approach was there during the implementation of the tariff order. But in the medium to long term, it will be beneficial to the entire ecosystem,” he noted.

Recently, at a Zee Melt session, Zeel CMO Prathyusha Agarwal mentioned that she doesn’t actually consider genres such as music and travel as niche. But in the case of regional channels, it has observed faster migration and subscription. “The effort taken by the consumer to buy that channel is potentially higher whereas the HSM market migration as against regional migration is much higher,” she said.

When it comes to English or lifestyle genres, Zeel head premium channels Shaurya Mehta was of the opinion that the impact is across the board and not necessarily only on English or niche channels. For niche channels, the impact can be a little more accentuated and exaggerated. “Niche channels or channels which are discretionary will take a little longer in terms of stabilisation. The impact may be larger in the transitory phase but in the long term I strongly believe that we stand to gain because the strongest brands would emerge even stronger,” he said.

Even the kids’ genre is facing NTO issues. A kids’ broadcaster said, “The whole genre’s reach has come down and will take 3-5 more months to settle,” said the broadcaster.

Another player in the kids’ segment, Viacom18 head Hindi mass entertainment and kids TV network Nina Elavia Jaipuria said in an earlier interview that the new regime is still a black hole because broadcasters have still not got subscriber reports. She further stated that Q4 FY19 witnessed a slowdown in advertising due to the NTO implementation.

“We did have a bad quarter because of NTO. There was an ad slowdown because no advertiser was clear about the reach channels were going to deliver and whether consumers are actually buying the broadcast package or the DPO package, or they are going a la carte. We are still not very clear about what is going on,” she stated.

While the majority of the broadcasters are waiting for the dust to settle, a few biggies in the market feel that the wave of NTO has stabilised and are heading towards significant growth in their respective genres. There is likely to be more clarity in the coming months.  

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