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English channels see healthy ad revenue growth in 2015

MUMBAI: English movie and entertainment channels are estimated to have earned advertising revenue of around Rs 700 crore (Rs 7 billion) in 2015, registering a growth rate of 15–20 per cent over the earlier year.

While English entertainment channels grew at a faster rate, they are less than half the revenue size of the movie channels. According to multiple estimates, English movie channels earned a combined annual advertising income of around Rs 500 crore (Rs 5 billion) in 2015.

Ashish-Sehgal150-150Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd (ZEEL) chief sales officer Ashish Sehgal said that the inventory for advertisers to buy grew due to the emergence of new players. “There are new channels like Colors Infinity as well as new HD offerings. Obviously, the inventory has grown. In 2015, English movie and entertainment channels have seen their ad revenues grow by 15–20 per cent.”

According to Sehgal, while some channels have seen revenue growth, others might have stagnated. “But even if they stagnated, at least there was growth as new entrants would have lifted the ad revenue market,” he added.

For ZEEL, the English genre has grown by 25–30 per cent. The improved ranking of Zee Studio helped it to push up the effective ad rates. Zee Café HD launched late this year, which means the revenue would be captured in the following year.

“At the industry level, the movie genre has not grown as much as the English GEC. HD has added to the kitty. Ad revenue for ZEEL’s English genre has grown 25–30 per cent,” Sehgal said.

Rohit Gupta

Sony Pictures Networks India president – ad sales, network and telephony Rohit Gupta estimates the ad revenue size of the English movie channels to be double that of the English entertainment genre. “But the English entertainment genre, which was struggling earlier, has had a good year. The movie genre keeps growing. Pix, in fact, has doubled its revenue over the last three years,” he said.

According to Gupta, the top three channels in the English movie space take away the large chunk of revenues. In the English entertainment space, the top two channels make the bulk of the genre revenue.

“HD and new channel launches have helped grow the market. Everybody has benefited. There has been no fragmentation of revenue,” Gupta said.

When Gupta’s team sells the English channels, clients generally look at a male focus. “It is mostly male. They also look at youth. The good part is that all advertisers are present in this category,” he said.

According to Gupta, AXN has seen a double-digit growth while Pix has been growing at the rate of 35 per cent.

Both Gupta and Sehgal agree that perception and channel ranking play an iFerzad Paliamportant role. “Positioning of the channel makes a lot of difference. Pix’s perception in the market is good due to the many premieres that it offers. Premieres fetch a higher value.”

For Viacom18’s English channels, 2015 has been a much better year. Viacom18 head of English and youth entertainment, executive VP Ferzad Palia said, “It has been a great year, definitely better than the last. In entirety, we’ve grown from a 41 per cent to 50 per cent market share with a 25 per cent growth in advertisers, especially with the launch of Colors Infinity. We are looking forward to an even better year ahead in 2016.”

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