News broadcasters, excited about the government’s nod to reintroduce ratings of news channels and the upcoming assembly elections, are now planning to increase their advertising rates. While some networks have already hiked advertising rates in view of the elections, other broadcasters are now planning to follow the same as the government has appointed the Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC), a television viewership measurement body. The green signal has been given to release the news viewership data.
The restoration of news data is expected to do some good for many channels, as even the ratings blackout in the last 15 months has not affected the big news networks much.
Republic Media Network CEO Vikas Khanchandani said the reintroduction of news data will lead to an increase in advertising revenue in this genre. He said that Republic Network is very happy that ratings are starting again. The NBF team and its members have been representing all the stakeholders for some time now. Transparency is essential for advertisers and agency partners and lack of data has been a major concern. The release of the ratings will help in bringing in more business from those genre brands which invest heavily in advertisements.
The ad sales head of a leading news network said on the condition of anonymity that the next two months will be like the Indian Premier League (IPL) for news channels due to increase in viewership and restoration of ratings data. There will be an increase in the number of advertisements.
The head of ad sales said, “As elections are around the corner and news data is also about to be released, it will be good for broadcasters, especially big broadcasters, as they will be able to get the right value for the ad inventory. However, post the ratings blackout, ad deals were being done based on estimates from past data, which were released in October 2020.
He also said that his network has already raised ad prices by about 25 per cent for the next three months, as supply is limited, while demand is expected to increase further.
He emphasized that the next three months are very important for the news genre, as the data for news will grow exponentially in the meantime. Like there is IPL for Star Sports, similarly there are state assembly elections for news channels at this time. In any election season, news channels generate at least 8-10 per cent more of their total top line.
He also said that all news channels will revise their prices after the release of the data. “Once the data is released, after that, news channels will come out with the revised prices. Well the supply is going to be more or less the same, but what will change the game is the prices. Anyway the prices will also depend on the market share of the channel.
Ad sales head of another news network said that due to lack of data, news channels would find it difficult to get the increased prices. However, if there is a delay of 5-6 weeks in the release of the data, then the news channels will not benefit much.
The ad sales head said that in the absence of ratings, it would be difficult to achieve increased revenues due to the increase in viewership during elections. If news ratings are released, it will help in getting increased rates. However, if the data is released after 5-6 weeks, it will be quite disappointing, as the elections will be almost over by that time.
However, he said that the benefit of resuming news data would be available in the next financial year. He said that there will be demand for ad inventory on news channels and due to elections a lot of money will be diverted from other genres to news channels. Since our supply is limited, we will be able to determine the pricing. By the way, the situation right now is that due to lack of data, advertisers are not ready to pay the right price. But after the data is released, they will not even have this excuse.
According to the head of ad sales, “It will be the endeavor of all the news channels to increase the advertising rates. And then the ratings will help the agencies to tell their clients that the rates hiked by them are justified. At the same time, the FMCG sector will also come back in this direction, although at the moment they have reduced their expenditure on news channels significantly. The share of news genre has also increased since Kovid-19. The news genre has done a good job for FMCG during Kovid-19. At the same time, many big start-ups will also try to invest more money on news.
The revenue head of a news channel said that the rating blackout has not affected the big networks and their news channels. However, small-medium channels have been badly affected by this and they will benefit the most from the resumption of ratings.
He said that things will be better for news channels now. There is a sudden increase in the cases of Kovid-19. There is uncertainty everywhere. In such a situation, the clients are still in a waiting mood. All of us are not able to meet people due to work from home. In such a situation, something is sure to be affected.
On increasing the prices, the revenue head said that his channel is continuously working on increasing its advertising rates. We revise the prices every year, but not every channel insists on raising the rates. Many networks have launched new channels to add more inventory, but they have failed to get the rate hike from the market.
Provocateur Advisory Principal Paritosh Joshi said news channels are increasing ad inventory to achieve growth. However, the increase in commercial airtime has alienated the audience. News channels feel that the revamping of news ratings along with the state assembly elections is a perfect opportunity to increase the advertising rates.
“There is a huge opportunity for news channels to increase their advertising rates during the state assembly elections. UP elections are the biggest opportunity for news channels to hike rates. The revival of news ratings will have a positive impact on the pricing of news channels.
But he also cautioned that if news channels do not increase the prices now, they will find it difficult to get the right prices in the next financial year. If they do not increase the prices in this financial year, they will lose their chances in the next financial year also. Without ratings, it is difficult to get the right value from advertisers. Even before the ratings blackout, news channels’ advertising rates were on the rise.
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