@FF12: Niche isn’t niche any more

16 Mar,2012


By Rishi Vora


It is a fact that Hindi GECs command a premium position in the TV space in India and the primary reason behind that is its mass appeal. And thereforea lot of advertiser interest tends to go in favour of the so-called mass channels.


But there is another set of audiences that prefer a certain kind of content – speciality content such as Action, Comedy, Food, Music and so on; channels that cater to the tastes ofaudiences with a peculiar taste. These channels are termed as niche channels.


The concept of niche channels started about 18-20 years ago, and now, as experts believe, niche isn’t niche any more as all niche channels put together command a share that is equivalent of the share of Hindi GECs and the mass channels, so to say.


On day 2 of FICCI Frames, in a session titled “Building Sustainable Models for Niche Content” honchos from the broadcast industry such as Paritosh Joshi, CEO, Star CJ (session moderator); Smeeta Chakrabarti, CEO, NDTV Lifestyle; Monica Tata, General Manager, Entertainment Networks, South Asia for Turner International India; Ajay Chacko, President, A + E Networks I TV 18 JV; Atul Pande, CEO, Sports Business, Zee; and Rasika Tyagi, Sr VP – English Programming, Star India discussed on revenue models to sustain TV content catering to niche audiences and its long-term sustainability.


Atul Pande talked about the launch of Ten Golf, a speciality channel for Golf followers in India. He stressed on the need to charge premium to audiences who really are on the lookout for speciality content.


Smeeta Chakrabarti said that as a speciality channel one cannot talk about TRPs, rather it is the brand connect that what needs to be spoken about as far as ad sales was concerned. Rasika Tyagi on the other hand remarked that the whole idea of measuring a speciality interest channel should be relooked at. “It’s not about how many people are watching you, it’s more what kind of people are watching you.” She also said that the audiences of niche channels are of such quality that they do not mind paying, and that broadcast companies should look to tap into that opportunity.


Atul Pande remarked that the Pay TV as a concept does not yield great deal of revenue as the pricing of the niche channels are on the lower side. “We keep the pricing on the lower side because we don’t want the consumers to be shocked despite the fact that some of the content that we do justifies a price in the higher range.


On whether the industry requires a different approach as far as measurement for these channels was concerned, Paritosh Joshi said, “The big challenge with respect to measurement is that we need to find a way to measure both quantity as well as quality. The quality aspect is very critical for a speciality channel.” Monica Tata added, “We need to have a different measurement system to evaluate special interest channels.”


As for the digitization mandate that all channels have to follow, Ms Tata was of the opinion that to move from the present model of advertising to embracing the digital opportunities will be a challenge, and something that will take time before becoming an industry norm.


The panel also discussed the need to create global content, thus opening up monetisation opportunities across markets.


Photograph: Fotocorp

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