With fresh episodes coming back, viewership is expected to increase for GECs, especially during primetime
Major broadcasters have restarted production work in the second phase of Unlock and, starting July 13, fresh episodes will air across Hindi and regional channels.
From Zee Entertainment to Sony, channels are now offering new content for shows like Kundali Bhagya, Tera Kya Hoga Alia, among others.
Sony Pictures Networks on June 25 had restarted production work for its film, television and OTT business.
As for the Zee Network, more than 5,000 people have come together to bring over 100 fresh stories in 11 languages daily.
The comeback of fresh episodes will mean stronger growth in viewership especially during primetime and also improvement in both ad volumes and revenue.
Channels have been playing old content for around three months due to coronavirus-led lockdown.
And general entertainment channels suffered the most due to old content.
If we compare the share of GECs in the first half of 2019 with H12020, the share came down from 49 percent to 46 percent, according to recently released BARC data.
But with fresh episodes coming back, viewership is expected to increase for GECs especially during primetime.
And regional channels have already shown that audience have been eagerly waiting to watch new content.
GECs which started originals, saw viewers of pre-COVID period coming back to TV.
Also, the reach during week 26 which is period starting June 27, was almost at par with pre COVID.
In addition, original programming in Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam, Bangla, Oriya saw viewership increasing by 39 percent, 92 percent, 65 percent, 89 percent and 161 percent respectively when compared to period April 18 to May 15 when there was no original programming.
“Television viewing is a strong habit and it has strengthened during lockdown. We have seen 30 percent increase in viewership of GECs that had original programming from lockdown to now and we have seen 2x increase for some regional GECs. Similarly, we are looking at a big spike in the coming days in the Hindi GECs,” Prathyusha Agarwal, Chief Consumer Officer, ZEE Entertainment Enterprises Limited, told Moneycontrol.
Under the Zee banner, channels like Zee Bangla, Zee Kannada, Zee Sarthak, Zee Keralam, Zee Telugu have already started airing new content.
And for the other channels on which new content will make a comeback from July 13, Zee has collaborated with brands like Nestle Maggi, Amul Lassi, PepsiCo, Red Label, Cadbury Dairy Milk, ITC Dark Fantasy.
This shows that fresh episodes is bringing back confidence amid advertisers especially at a time when ad volumes are increasing.
Explaining the ad business on TV, Ashish Sehgal, Chief Growth Officer, Advertisement Revenue, ZEE Entertainment Enterprises Ltd (ZEEL), said, “Due to the slump in the economy last year there was pressure in topline on ad volumes. In march this year, we saw a bit of growth coming back but the pandemic disrupted ad business. Overall ad business fell and volume went low as low as 30 percent of previous months this year.”
He added that while news was the only genre to salvage business, the category has a small pie in terms of revenue in advertising. Major pie is with GECs and movies and that’s where the major dent happened, he said."But since June brands started to realize that being out of sight will have a negative impact in the long term. Advertising induces consumption. So, in June we saw 30 to 40 percent jump from April in ad volumes. In July, we expect 70 to 80 percent of pre-COVID ad volumes coming back. August is possibly when we will start seeing pre-COVID run rate coming in," said Sehgal