Mumbai: UTVi, the country’s newest business news channel, is the latest to join a small club of broadcasters creating in-house advertising cells to make ads, thereby lowering entry costs for new advertisers.
Given the benefits to both channel and advertiser, experts say more broadcasters will follow suit in an overcrowded and largely undifferentiated market.
“Many of our advertisers are first-time advertisers and there are benefits of positioning ourselves as an end-to-end solution provider,” said Shontanu Aditya, executive director, UTV Global Broadcasting Ltd. “Advertisers save time, money, get a more effective advertisement with minimum wastage.”
MTV Networks India Pvt. Ltd and Network 18 Media and Investments Ltd offer similar services.
Chandradeep Mitra, president of Mumbai-based Mudra MAX, said with channels having an in-house agency to create promotional campaigns for themselves, offering these services to others is “the next logical step”. This could attract new advertisers to the channel, he added. “One of the biggest problems with television is its extremely high entry cost.”
And the channels can offer a good deal by throwing in an ad campaign with a large purchase of airtime, or, as with channels such as National Geographic, offer their stock video footage to create a customized ad, in exchange for an exclusive contract, Mitra said.
A Mumbai-based analyst, who tracks UTV but did not wish to be named, said with such deals channels can regulate the production quality, especially from smaller advertisers, but cautioned that “these customized ad cells will work better for niche channels such as news, regional content or travel channels and not so much for the GECs (general entertainment channels).”
Executives at both Star Plus and Multi Screen Media Pvt. Ltd, which airs Sony, said they were not keen on such cells as this job was best handled by ad-making agencies.
UTVi was launched in April and competes with CNBC and NDTV Profit. According to TAM Media Research Pvt. Ltd, in the week ended 9 August, UTVi had 6% market share among viewers of english business news channels. CNBC TV 18 had 55% market share and NDTV Profit had 39%.
Television advertisment revenues are projected to grow from Rs8,000 crore in 2007 to Rs20,000 crore in 2012, according to a report by audit and consulting firm PriceWaterhouseCoopers and industry lobby Ficci.
Network 18 Media and Investments Ltd, which airs channels such as CNN-IBN, CNBC TV18, was the first mover in this space.
The in-house agency, The Cell, has grown from a three-member team to 122 today. They recently launched Cell 18, a division under The Cell which works on projects for agencies such as JWT India and Lintas India Pvt. Ltd.
MTV says it is not purely a platform for conventional advertising and uses vignettes from its shows or content to create campaigns that match the look and feel of the channel through its unit Viacom Brand Solutions. “Unless it (ad campaign) smells uniquely of MTV, we’re not likely to touch it,” said Aditya Swamy, vice-president, marketing, MTV Networks.