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Regional channels are the losers during World Cup: TAM Media

Our Bureau

MUMBAI, April 10

WE'VE counted the winners, let's take stock of the losers; while the ICC World Cup brought gains to SET-Max and Doordarshan in the form of viewership and ad revenues, the big losers on both counts were the regional channels. Regional channels held a viewership share of 42 per cent of all cable & satellite viewing before the World Cup, but only 30 per cent during the six weeks of World Cup coverage, according to TAM Media Research. By contrast, viewership share for the sports channels rose from 5 per cent to 13 per cent, and for mass channels from 42 per cent to 46 per cent. Niche channels like English entertainment, news, music and children/infotainment had stable viewership shares during this period.

As for revenue shares, while regional channels had a 16 per cent share of overall TV ad revenues prior to the World Cup, their share dipped to 12 per cent during the World Cup coverage. By contrast, the revenue share of mass channels went up from 53 per cent to 55 per cent, and that of sports channels from 5 per cent to 10 per cent. Again, the revenue shares of niche channels remained largely stable; while music channels showed a decline - from 2 per cent to 1 per cent, the news channels showed an upswing, from 13 per cent to 14 per cent. Curiously, Hindi movie channels, whose viewership share remained a steady 4 per cent before and during the World Cup, registered a marked decline in revenue share - from 7 per cent to 4 per cent.

"Regional stations already having a disproportionately lower revenues vis--vis their viewership shares - 16 per cent vs 42 per cent - and it slipped even lower during cricket season," noted Mr Atul Phadnis, Director - S-Group, TAM Media Research. "In the case of the Hindi movie channels, perhaps media planners underestimated their hold over viewers and diverted their ad monies in anticipation of a decline in viewership share."

While regional channels and Hindi movie channels have some "re-building" to do after the World Cup, the story to watch would be that of the news channels, Mr Phadnis said. "(In their case) 2 per cent viewership attracts more than 10 per cent revenues: When will the bubble burst? Will it really burst?" he said. The Iraq war coverage could take revenue share up further, but the spate of new channels may well kill the goose that lays the golden egg, he added.

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