Reliance Industries’ Viacom18 is setting its sights on expanding its revenue market share in the lucrative Hindi and Kannada general entertainment sectors, which collectively rake in over ₹9,000 crore annually in advertising revenues. This ambition is fueled by the company’s impressive growth in prime-time viewership.
Why the shift in focus? According to Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) data, Viacom18’s Hindi General Entertainment Channel (GEC) Colors has seen its evening prime-time market share jump from about 20% to 27% between weeks 27 and 49. Similarly, Colors Kannada has surged in viewership share from 27% to 37.2% in the same period, making it the leading Kannada GEC.
Competing with channels from Disney Star, Zee Entertainment, Sony Pictures Networks India, and Sun TV Networks, Viacom18 attributes its success to a strategic mix of fiction and non-fiction content that appeals to a broad family audience. Fiction shows primarily draw female viewers, while non-fiction offerings like ‘Bigg Boss’ have a wider cross-demographic appeal.
Kevin Vaz, CEO of Viacom18's TV business, explained to the Economic Times that as viewership share increases, revenue share will naturally follow, though there is a delay in monetizing this viewership growth. Both Colors and Colors Kannada are attracting new advertisers and witnessing increased spending from existing ones, buoyed by their viewership surge.
In 2022, reports showed that TV and digital video ad spends in India reached ₹31,000 crore and ₹10,000 crore, respectively. Viacom18 itself posted a net profit of ₹11 crore on revenues of ₹4,554 crore in FY23.
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Next in line: After successfully turning around its Hindi and Kannada operations, the network is now focusing on the Marathi and Bengali markets, planning to boost content production in these regions. Viacom18 operates Colors Marathi, Colors Bangla, and Colors Bangla Cinema channels.
Vaz also mentioned Viacom18’s strategy to sell ad inventory across TV and digital platforms, leveraging the growing content consumption on both mediums. This integrated approach, first implemented for ‘Bigg Boss 17’, has resulted in strong double-digit ad revenue growth.
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