Keeping both viewers and advertisers happy is like being in a no-win situation but Hindi movie channels believe they have finally found the right balance. It wasn’t easy. Despite the rising cost of film acquisition for the satellite platform, these channels experimented with their commercial breaks to minimise audience irritation. The result: higher TRPs.
So to woo the audience, channels like Star Gold and Zee Cinema revamped themselves completely, both in terms of look as well as programming strategy. Other channels like MAX, which consistently ranked among the top three in the TRP race, brought in new titles. But the consistent change across Hindi movie channels was that they reduced the number of commercial breaks and shortened the duration of the ad break too.Neeraj Vyas, Business Head, MAX says, “Movie channels have always had the problem of overdosing on commercial breaks. This was mainly because the trading levels or the ad spot rates were low.”
For a Hindi movie channel, a ten-second ad spot at prime time ranges between Rs 7,000 and Rs 10,000 which is much lower compared to the rates on Hindi general entertainment channels. An average ten-second slot on the top three GECs is anywhere between Rs 25,000 and Rs 35,000.
Vyas adds, “With acquisition costs also rising swiftly, we had no choice but to increase the number of advertisements to recover the money we had invested in acquiring titles.”
However, with the audience growing increasingly restless, Hindi movie channels had little choice but to switch to shorter commercial breaks. So while Star Gold brought in the one-minute ad break while airing their recent blockbuster films, both Zee Cinema and MAX reduced the duration of their commercial breaks to just two minutes.
“The main objective was to retain viewership. We witnessed that the moment we decreased the ad breaks, viewers spent more time on the channel, which in turn also hiked our ratings,” reveals Vyas.