Media firms prefer television to advertise their own products

Media firms prefer television to advertise their own products

When it comes to advertising, television and print still account for the majority of ad spends, with nearly 90% of last year’s Rs16,300 crore advertising revenues going to the two.

But, when it comes to TV networks and print media companies looking to advertise their magazines, newspapers and channels, television has clearly emerged as the preferred ­media.

Ads by print companies on television in the first six months of 2007 amounted to 19,800 minutes of air time, almost 73% of the entire ad time used by print companies in all of 2006, with six more months to go. Print companies advertised for 17,650 minutes in 2004, according to TAM Media Research Pvt. Ltd, a Mumbai-based media agency.

By contrast, advertising by television channels in print has stayed relatively flat from 2004 when it was 1.57 million column centimetres (cc) to 1.64 million cc in 2006. For the first six months of 2007, such advertising totalled 729,000cc, a clear downward trend, says TAM.

Cross-Platform Advertising (Graphic)

Both print and television ads are by volume—of space and time—and include any barter deals that media companies have with each other, or with sister concerns.

“There are more channels and print publications in India now than ever, yet print is a more niche medium catering to specifications in terms of language and content," said Harish Bijoor, chief executive officer, Harish Bijoor Consults Inc. “Television has and will continue to have a very mass appeal."

TV channels are leveraging their presence on sister channels, thereby maximizing their reachAshish Bagga, chief executive, Living Media India Ltd, one of the leading print industry advertisers on television, says; “In India, print is growing faster than television. Yet, when you look at mass media options for advertising, print has its limitations while television maximizes the interest of the advertiser." Living Media publishes India Today, among other magazines.

In addition to mass appeal, advertising professionals also believe the growth of radio in the past one year has made the medium another viable option for television companies.

“Television networks usually advertise a certain programme prompting their viewers to tune in at a certain time," says Basabdatta Chowdhuri, chief operating officer, Madison Communications Pvt. Ltd, the agency that handles the account for Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd. “And with the number of radio channels that have launched in the past one year, a lot of television networks are realizing that advertising on the radio versus print is more cost-effective, while also reaching out to a larger footprint across consumer segments."

“Today, there are many more platforms on which a company can reach potential customers which were not there before," adds Bagga. “Consumer behaviour is changing and customers need to be kept engaged and television is the most creative and imaginative way to do so."

Some of the shifts are also taking place because media companies are expanding their platforms from purely print or television to other mediums. Indeed, a report by consultant PricewaterhouseCoopers and industry lobby Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry notes that one of the most notable developments of 2006 was the diversification, “be it the news channels launching general entertainment channels, television broadcasters foraying into film segments, film companies entering the radio market, print media companies getting into radio and television and so on."

This trend has pushed companies to take advantage of their cross-platform partners to be present in every medium. Malayala Manorama Co. Ltd, which publishes a namesake leading Malayalam daily and The Week magazine, is one of the top 10 print advertisers on television today, after nearly doubling its presence on television in the past three years.

“In the last year, we have launched a news channel from our group, which has made it easier for us to have a stronger presence on television," said Jeslin Joseph, senior executive, marketing research, Malayala Manorama. “But, that taken into account, we do spend a lot more on advertising on other channels now than we used to because we have to constantly tap new readers and get ahead of our competition."

Even television channels are leveraging their presence on partner channels, thereby maximizing their reach on ­television.

“With networks increasingly launching more channels, there is a lot of cross-channel promotions taking place," said Sameer Nair, chief executive, NDTV Imagine, the general entertainment channel of NDTV Networks Plc., that is scheduled to go on air in January.

“While print is still a very strong platform for NDTV, there are also other media options now available for an advertiser."