Q] What trends have you noticed post the NTO implementation, now that things are settling down?
The pay channels have seen a 5% rise at an all-India level and a 10% rise at a Hindi-speaking Market (HSM) level. This is a very good sign for us because people are moving towards it. If we were to look at it to counter the popular belief about a decline, Q1 of this year is 1.5% ahead of Q1 of last year (in terms of overall TV viewership). With the festive season coming in, there will again be a big revival. In terms of subscription revenues, there’s been a 46% increase, and it clearly goes to show the strength of our channels and the pull that they have.
Our regional channels have been performing really well for a while now, and especially in the last quarter, growth has been driven in a big way by Bangla, Kannada, which has not just gone to No. 1 position, but a clear leadership margin. Counter to all popular belief on English Cluster, we’ve seen our subscriptions have been really positive. We have seen 30% upwards growth on HD, which again gives you a very positive sign that people who actually consume these channels, and have a certain affinity towards a certain kind of content, are choosing it.
The other interesting bit is that even for an advertiser who wants these premium audiences – on OTT etc there’s no ad spot that’s possible - so these channels become the primary mode to get reach and access to the premium consumers, through long-form TV as a medium. The narrative that’s being built is not so true as much as the fact that these are the channels available for advertisers to reach out to their audience.
ZEEL: Q2FY20 HIGHLIGHTS
Total revenue for the quarter was Rs 21,220 million, growth of 7.4% YoY, to strong performance of domestic broadcast and digital businesses
Rs 12,247 million - Overall ad revenue for the quarter, 1.2% YoY growth
Rs 11,690 million - Domestic ad revenue
Rs 557 million - International ad revenue
Rs 7,235 million - Subscription revenue, 19.0% YoY growth.
(Source: ZEEL, Q2FY20 results in BSE)
Q] You mentioned that regional channels have been seeing a big boost in viewership. Have advertisers shown equal interest?
There’s definitely a growth in regional channels. It’s not a shifting trend, as much as advertisers wanting to talk to many Indias, or Bharats. That’s a big trend that ZEE is able to deliver very well for them because of our very strong portfolio. Gone are the days when you’ll do one campaign, and run on HSM and add some two channels here and there for additional reach in regions because the advertisers are so focused on winning in many Indias, that they want solutions, which are very focused on the regional language. It’s not so much for media spillage as much as customising further in that particular region – that is where the growth is happening for the regional channels.
With all our regional protagonists acting as influencers, we’re able to do a lot of solutions for the clients. So, there’s a heightened interest in customising to regions and talking to the consumer.
Q] What kind of headwinds did you face in terms of advertisers’ interest post NTO implementation and in the weak economic environment?
More than the NTO, it is the economic slowdown issue that happened in Q1. But Q2 definitely seems to have seen a revival, because somewhere, people will try to jump-start the consumption. Going into the festival, a lot of advertisers have come back with a bang, for the festive season. The misnomer that people will not invest in TV but on digital, any marketer worth their salt knows that digital CPC is extremely expensive, whether it’s for brand-building and video, or performance marketing. If I don’t have a TV to optimise my plan, it’s not going to work. So think of it - in the old world, there is ATL, BTL, and direct marketing. ATL, in terms of TV, is staying because of the whole mass awareness, mass bonding, all of that its delivering. A good marketer, who wants to do awareness and influence, and close the call to action, is using TV+Digital as a nice combination.
Q] Many broadcasters have removed popular GECs from DD Free Dish. How has Zee Anmol, which was pulled out, fared post that?
That’s a category-building move. When somebody is used to consuming something free, it will take them a while to pay and come on to the channel. It’s been only six months and we are hoping that the migration starts happening a lot more. While they were watching five channels initially, they are watching only one now. They watch it so much that the larger trend we see is that boredom has set in and Time Spent Per Viewer (TSV) will go down.