Wednesday, September 23, 2009


Public broadcaster Doordarshan (DD) not only commands the highest channel share compared to private networks, but also attracts a far greater number of viewers, according to TAM Media Research, which recently made a presentation to this effect before the Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni.

The TAM numbers have managed to establish the supremacy of DD over competing news channels like Aaj Tak and India TV and also entertainment channels like Star Plus, Colors and Zee TV in the year 2009. DD is the country's largest TV broadcaster with a penetration of 107 million households; while the number of households with cable & satellite TV are about 85 million, in comparison. Instead of using the Weekly data, the TAM presentation was backed by statistics and data for 31 weeks, from January 2009 till the beginning of August. Therefore, while private channels are ranked according to weekly fluctuations in ratings, DD was established as a top channel using the average ratings for these 31 weeks.

Taking this average data for 31 weeks in the 85 million cable homes, TAM shows DD1 was leading in the 8-8:30 pm time band with a channel share of 20 per cent and ahead of Aaj Tak (18 per cent) and India TV (14 per cent). For private news channels, the prime time news bands are 8 pm to 9 pm, and 9 pm to 10 pm.
Channel share simply means a channel-wise percentage allocation from a universe of 100 viewers, who watched various news channels in a particular time band during a week. While DD has a 24-hour DD news channel, TAM did not use this channel to compare it with private TV news broadcasters. Instead, it has compared the news during peak time with DD1

To establish the supremacy of a musical talent show on DD1 called 'Jalsa', TAM data have compared its ratings on July 12, aired between 10:30 to 11 pm, with ratings of general entertainment shows aired on private channels between 8:30 pm and 11 pm on Zee TV, Colors, Star Plus and others. Comparing the performance of the same movies on DD1 with those aired on Colors, Star Plus, Zee Cinema, Sony and UTV Movies, among others, TAM data for Hindi-speaking markets show higher ratings than those aired on private channels. The DDI rating for, say, Jab We Met, was 3.5 TRP, compared an average rating of only 1 in Colors, which had shown the movie nine times.

The research shows that movies like Jab We Met, Bhool Bhulaiyan and Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna got four-five times higher television ratings on DD1 compared to the private channels. However, this was because all these blockbusters were aired only once on DD1 (between January 1 to August 8), as compared to up to nine times on private channels. Comparing sports events like the two cricket ODI series in January-February 2009 that were simulcast on both DD1 and Neo Cricket, TAM data show that both coverage's attracted a similar number of viewers. While DD1 had an all-India reach of 68 million viewers, Neo Cricket had a reach of 70 million for the same series. However, DD and its two-dozen channels do not attract more than Rs 500 crore in advertising revenue in a year compared to nearly Rs 4,500 crore generated on private channels, including the news channels, movie channels and the general entertainment channels.

Fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) companies have more screen presence than car makers and telecom companies on all DD channels, though the latter two are pushing hard for rural sales. The top ten advertisers on all the 50 DD channels are FMCG companies. The TAM data shows that Hindustan Unilever (HUL), the country's biggest advertiser, leads the pack as the top private advertiser on DD with a 9 per cent share. HUL is followed by ITC with a 2 per cent share. Other top advertisers include Wipro, Emami, Dabur, Colgate-Palmolive, Heinz, Perfetti Van Melle, Godrej Consumer Products and Reckitt Benckiser. Telecom is the second most advertised category with media buyers saying that it is bound to find more space on DD. While FMCGs buy more volume of advertising, telecom companies buy more high-value deals at a premium.

While FMCGs consume more inventory since they buy airtime across the day, telecom companies buy air-time mostly during evening prime time. That's because FMCG advertising is aimed more at women who would watch TV through the day while telecom companies target the male audience who would typically tune in during the evenings. Companies and media buyers, however, said that DD is a medium no marketer with a rural focus can afford to ignore. Godrej Consumer Products' price warrior soap brand, Godrej No 1, crossed Rs 500 crore in value sales in June '09. Over the past 18-20 months, Godrej No 1 has focused its ad spends only on DD, highlighting the brand's affordability plank.

The Kolkata-based Rs 750-crore FMCG company Emami Ltd, which makes Boroplus, Himani Fast Relief and Fair & Handsome cream said its portfolio appeals to consumers who watch only DD, where cable TV does not reach. Typically, Emami spends about 70 per cent of its budgets on satellite channels and the remaining 30 per cent on DD. It is learnt that FMCG is the highest-penetrated category in rural markets, so DD naturally figures in their media plans. Rates on DD are about 50 per cent less than that of private channels, so even if companies buy more air-time on the channel, they spend lesser in comparison.