TV entertainment channels double online promo spending

At this week’s #entsm tweetchat we briefly discussed the budgets of online spending for entertainment content as it relates to traditional media spending. This article speaks to the topic, which we will address again in future #entsm tweetchats. Join us Tuesdays, 8PM PDT.

TV entertainment channels double online promo spending
Upasana Kaur / Mumbai August 27, 2009, 1:08 IST

Online promotion spending by general entertainment television channels (GECs) have risen by around five percentage points as compared to the previous year ? from 3-4 per cent to 8-10 per cent this year of the total marketing budget. Typically, this total amount for a GEC ranges between Rs 40 crore and Rs 90 crore, depending upon the channel.

?There has been more than a 100 per cent jump in the spends. All GECs are spending on the digital medium, as it is the only one from where you can get responses well and fast. It is a crucial strategy for creating brand awareness and reaching out to the young. It also has the advantage of becoming interactive. For channels like Colors and MTV, the online medium is playing a bigger role than it used to do earlier,? said Maneesh Mathur, Chief Operating Officer of P9 Integrated, a film entertainment marketing company.

?Although there are other established media like print and TV, there is a problem in terms of buying spots to promote a channel. For instance, Colors cannot buy a spot on STAR Plus to promote itself because they are competitors. So, they buy spots on AajTak and other news channels, where the basic reach is small. But to overcome this problem, the effectiveness of social networking sites have been realised, adds Mathur.

Viacom 18, for instance ? which is promoting its channels MTV, Colors, Nick and Vh1 on the web ? is spending almost 10 per cent of its marketing budget on online promotion. ?Along with this, we have tied up with Orkut and Facebook in a non-commercial agreement, wherein both sides see a certain mutual benefit and value in the association. There have been certain other tie-ups (with the likes of MSN, Ibibo) wherein we have parted with our content and/or offered them tremendous branding and visibility and hence earned revenues for that,? said Anuj Poddar, Senior Vice President.

?GECs seldom use online platforms for marketing fiction shows, but for non-fiction shows, 10 per cent of the spends could be towards online promotions. I believe there?s scope for more,? adds Poddar.

When asked if there has been an increase in the investments by GECs, Poddar says: ?Traditionally, GECs did not use the digital platforms much for their marketing activities, but we are starting to see this evolve. As shows themselves get hippier and the target group younger, marketing spends, too, will follow towards younger media. We have gone from zero to spending about 10-20 per cent for non-fiction shows.?

Channels like MTV, NDTV Imagine, Sony and Colors have also come with interesting content on the web like MTV?s Facebook Connect ? Facebook users can post who they think their Celebrity Look-Alike is. If the judges on MTV Connected feel so, you get a chance to be featured on the show. On Roadies Battleground 2, watch MTV, note down the tasks, go to the website and upload the video of yourself performing the task. If you impress the judges, they?ll let you participate!

Also, recently for the show Rakhi Ka Swayamvar they came out with a game where you can kiss Rakhi online. Around 81 per cent of the online Indian population, according to a report by Hungama Digital Media, engages in some kind of social interactivity on the web, making it an ideal place for the GECs to draw young crowds.

?For us, we see the net as a core platform to engage and entertain our audiences. The only difference is that in India, entertainment through the internet has yet some distance to go before catching up with TV. However, this catch-up is happening much more rapidly amongst the youth. Hence, out of our four brands, MTV right now is the most evolved online and by default, we now have a multi-platform approach to most MTV shows. Similarly for Colors, we do things online more with the non-fiction shows than the fiction shows, due to the differing TG. Interestingly, kids? online presence is growing exponentially and hence we have created a very vibrant site for them at Just like its TV avatar, now enjoys the highest time-spent per kid amongst all the kids? channel sites,? says Poddar.

The online promotion for Sony?s Bhaskar Bharti and Iss Jungle Se Mujhe Bachao is carried out by Ignitee Digital Solutions, a digital marketing company. Danish Khan, marketing head of Sony Entertainment, says: ?We are spending 8 per cent from our total marketing budget on online promotions.?

Atul Hegde, Chief Executive Officer of Ignitee Digital Solutions, is also not surprised by the increase in spending. ?I see a lot of viability for this trend to grow, as the target audience the GECs are targeting through social media are mostly in the age groups of 15-25 years and online is the best way to attract that target group.?

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