NEW DELHI: Lack of fresh programming has started biting general entertainment channels (GECs) where it hurts the most—their advertising revenues. According to sources in media buying agencies, despite an understanding between broadcasters and advertisers not to shift advertising for about 10 days starting November 10, the day GEC started airing reruns on prime-time, few advertisers have shifted campaigns to alternative genres like sports and news.
As a result, GECs may have suffered a combined loss of Rs 20-25 crore in the last one week. Says Indian Society of Advertisers chairman Bharat Patel: “We had advised our members not to withdraw advertising from GECs immediately and study the situation for one week. It is up to advertisers, agencies and channels whether to continue, withdraw or reduce the rate of advertising.”
Advertising spend on TV is around Rs 7,000 crore per annum. GECs account for about a third of it. Media planners admit that GECs may have lost ad monies in the past week or so. Says Mudra Max president Chandradeep Mitra: “If the current impasse is not resolved in the next three days, the revenue loss to GECs could be about 30%. The situation will be clear in the next few days, depending on which we are going to renegotiate deals.”
Agrees Lintas Media Group COO and joint president Sudha Natarajan: “There has been a 40-50% drop in ad revenues for GECs thanks to slowdown in advertising and the current imbroglio. Few advertisers have shifted advertising from GECs. But these are small advertisers who are not active ISA members. All big advertisers have supported GECs.” For Lodestar Universal CEO Shashi Sinha things are as usual and advertisers are not moving out. “We have got an advisory from the Advertising Agencies Association of India not to shift adv from GECs till November 20. Till now, none of our clients have asked us to shift advertising.”
But GECs are denying any loss. Says Zee Entertainment chief revenue officer Joy Chakraborty: “No advertiser has diverted advertising, but they have deferred their plans. There are no fresh release orders and new deals are getting deferred for the stalemate to end.” Agrees Star India CEO Uday Shankar: “There is no such information with us as yet. There are many vested interest groups that would wish for this to happen. ISA has been supportive of us.”
6 months ago