The Anchor: Abraham Alapatt on 7 reasons a marketer prefers television to other media

03 Oct,2011

#1 Reach

IRS media figures show a 17.9 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) in the spread of cable and satellite TV across India. The figures, for the first quarter of 2011, show that the total reach of cable and satellite TV is now 416.51 million, up from 403.51 million registered in the fourth quarter of 2010, and just under 383.61 million homes a year ago. Television – including terrestrial transmission – is now available in 522.44 million Indian homes, up 5 percent on the 516.41 million figure at the end of 2010, and the 509.86 million recorded in the first quarter of 2010.

In fact, the only sections of the survey which registered a dip in the IRS figures were radio and cinema penetration. Cinema’s reach fell by minus 5.4 percent CAGR, from 81.66 million at the end of 2010 to 79.71 million in Q1 2011. The total reach of radio fell from 163.91 million to 161.48 million in the same period: a drop of 8.3 percent negative CAGR.

#2 Family consumption

In markets like the US or the UK – small families, working parents and typically “more than one TV homes” is the norm. In India on the other hand, TV viewing is a social “family” gathering where Indian families (often larger/joint families) gather around the single television in the living room of the home. This means that, with approximately four people viewing per TV set in India (during prime time) the reach is not just significantly larger than the numbers suggest, but also more involved and animated as a family unit. This aids marketers across segments and target groups. This group consumption of TV as opposed to radio, print or internet (which are usually consumed alone) makes it very powerful and unique.


#3 Nature of media

The versatility of the media – combining audio and visual elements and allowing stories, humour, glamour and imagery to be combined, makes it a potent tool for marketers to project their message/brand in the most attractive manner possible.


#4 Segmentation based on viewer profile

Based on time of day, nature of programme etc, marketers are able to target the right segment better than other traditional media such as print and radio.


#5 Planned consumption

TV viewing, in extension to being a social/family event, is consumed to a specific time pattern/lifestyle and is therefore fairly dependable from a marketers’ point to view to reach prospects.


#6 Consumption by habit

An extension of the social and planned aspects is “force of habit” – viewers of a particular program/channel tend to consume it almost by habit, unless the content fails to deliver or something more attractive comes up on another channel during the same time band. Women viewers of soap operas, teens watching MTV or lifestyle channels, men watching cricket/sports/news are cases in point.


#7 Ads themselves as content

With ads getting more creative, slick and entertaining, TV ads have themselves become subjects of discussion and aid brand consumption – Vodafone’s ZooZoos, Airtel’s new jingle “Har ek friend…” etc are just some very popular recent examples. This is, for obvious reasons, a marketer’s dream come true.


Abraham Alapatt is Head – Brand & Corporate Communication, Future Generali India Life Insurance Company Limited.

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