Recently launched television channels are optimistic about their prospects; how justified is this confidence?
Ever since fledgling channels NewsX and 9X ran into trouble last year and popular general entertainment channel (GEC) Zee TV lost viewers and ratings,many declared that television was no longer financially viable. However,even as NewsX was bought by Indi Media,several new TV channels,like Real,WB,ET Now and DWTV Asia +,entered the playing field. The question then is how will the new players fare in a game that has already seen its share of bloodshed?
Amit Verma,CEO of Audience Measurement and Analytics (aMap),the overnight TV audience measurement system,believes that rumours of TVs death have been greatly exaggerated. TV channels will continue to run as long as there is a demand for them. Content is recession-proof. Tobias Grote-Beverborg,
Representative of distribution South Asia,of DWTV Asia+,also echoes the sentiment and adds,The reports are grim,I agree,but the situation is not really that serious. We have a readymade viewership in India which is interested in European culture and wants a taste of it. So weve tailored our programming to suit this demand.
However,Sudeep Malhotra,India representative,DW TV Asia+,admits that as far as advertising revenue is concerned,there has been a downturn. Every economy goes through ups and downs,but that is just how market forces work, he says,But at DW TV,were not particularly concerned about that,since we dont expect to make money through advertising revenues straight away. That also seems to be the strategy at Turner International,which launched two channels Real and WB,this year. Monica Tata,vice president and deputy GM (Entertainment Networks),Turner International (India),says that the idea is to be established in the market. One has to be realistic,of course,and its not possible to make money straightaway.
Sunil Lulla,CEO of Real Global Broadcasting,says that the key to long-term success is differentiating oneself in the market. Our USP is that we offer an alternative to the programming that exists on the current GECs. Were trying to reach out to a more contemporary audience. Verma too believes that keeping it different will be the key survival tactic for new channels. There isnt space for another me-too channel. If you do that,then the channels that have been around longer and who know the rules of the game,will continue to call the shots.
While the general chorus seems to be that things are not as bad as they look,Verma does have one remark to make. When the new channels like 9X,NDTV Imagine and Colors launched last year,they debuted in the number three position in the ratings. The latest GEC,Real,did not manage to do that,although the publicity buildup was quite good. Maybe its an indication of slow times,but it certainly doesnt mean that the new channels will not do well. Its just too early to tell.