TV industry needs to come out of old ways: Sanjeev Kapoor

Speciality channels need to be treated better.

MUMBAI: A number of brands often advertise on speciality TV channels to reach a specific target audience. But, with the lockdown, advertisers have nearly stopped ad spends on niche channels. Celebrity chef and food entrepreneur, Sanjeev Kapoor, in a virtual fireside chat with founder, CEO and editor-in-chief Anil Wanvari spoke at length about his speciality channel Food Food, his company Wonderchef and life after NTO 2.0.

Kapoor said that in the upcoming times, speciality is going to bring more premium. It is easier to understand target audience in social media. There is more data available to provide brand and advertisers. Whereas on TV, a specialised channel is asked many questions. 

Kapoor highlights that the premiumisation of speciality channels has already started on digital and all the creamy digital assets are being taken and TV has not understood this concept yet.

He also gives a warning to TV channels. “I have said this three years ago that the death of TV is coming and I don’t think so it is about consumption. According to data, the consumption of content on digital assets in the last month has doubled which is not the case with TV. The CPMs are also good on YouTube which is not the case with TV. And look at how the world is still living in the old ways."

According to Kapoor nothing has changed post NTO 2.0 whether you are a paid channel or free. No matter what, you have to pay carriage fees. He feels that if you are a smaller channel there is more arm twisting. 

India's most-loved chef seems to be upset with the situation for his channel during lockdown. He said, "Even in the lockdown when everyone says be compassionate, there is a ticker that says Food Food channel is not available.  As far as carriage fee is concerned, I am not in that position to pay. Do you think when people want to see content on food this is how television should act? We still believe in the power of content. So, we will partner with distribution mechanisms who are fair."
He added, "Tata Sky understands speciality. They are our partners for quite a long time. With Jio coming in I see a hope for speciality channels. But the people who think old school have not changed."

Food Food is currently available on Tata Sky and Airtel. On the cable side it is available on Siticable, GTPL Hathway and small cable networks.

He also felt that there is a need to change the way advertising works on TV.

He said, “There should be a mechanism where people will feel benefited from advertising; it should not be shot in the dark. People say that a GEC channel's and a specialty channel like FOOD FOOD’s rate should be the same. That's like saying a general physician and a heart surgeon should charge the same. It doesn’t work like that. Our media has not understood this yet. I think this is the time to change, to respect each and every person and all specialties.”

Kapoor, who runs a company named Wonderchef and is also the brand ambassador of the same company, believes in spending wisely.

"If money cannot be converted into sales then it is money not spent well. This is my approach since the beginning.That is why I say variable cost model is important. I am ambassador for many brands. I tell them that I will not take the money if I cannot give you better sales. You can do a percentage sales with me; a royalty kind deal." 

In the future he looks at investing in artificial intelligence, ML platforms and Google Home. "I would invest more on solutions for bringing better content and better quality in food," he concluded.

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