Broadcast industry: Trends to watch out for in 2021
Representative image Doordarshan
After facing unprecedented turbulence in the year 2020, broadcasters are now looking forward to seeing what 2021 has in...

Broadcast industry: Trends to watch out for in 2021

After facing unprecedented turbulence in the year 2020, broadcasters are now looking forward to seeing what 2021 has in...
  • With the industry changing at a rapid pace, throwing a new set of challenges every day, experts are hoping that 2021 will be a game-changer that will help them redefine a lot of rules in advertising, with smarter marketing techniques.
  • We spoke to a few industry experts to identify these new opportunities that 2021 will bring forth for the broadcast industry and here is what they had to say.
In 2020, the media industry changed a lot and because of that, 2021 will see a far-reaching impact on consumer behaviour and their viewing habits. While some changes will take us back to the ‘old normal’ like on-set shoots, going back to office, etc., some would accelerate digitalisation in the media industry and push us forward at least by 2-3 years.

When the whole country was confined to their homes, consumers turned to OTT platforms and TV channels to entertain themselves. TV sets and mobile phones became the only sources of connection with the outside world. News channels also benefited as people stayed glued to their TV sets to catch on COVID-related updates and lockdown measures. As a result, consumption of content increased like never before.

There is no denying that the future is digital. Technology will continue to play an important role in redefining the business operations and broadcasters will also focus on delivering aggregated content and device experiences this year.

During the lockdown, the return of old mythological shows like Ramayan and Mahabharat from the 90s led to an exponential rise in viewership and advertisers count on TV. These shows soon became the main source of entertainment among Hindi GECs as it contributed about 43% to overall viewership of the genre, revealed BARC. The re-telecast of Ramayan alone garnered the highest-ever rating for a Hindi GEC show since 2015 at 1.20 trillion minutes and Doordarshan’s average daily viewers grew by 62 million.

As the lockdown was lifted gradually and the economy started limping back to normalcy in July, television continued to be the screen of the household and an important medium for advertisers to reach their consumers. After seeing a lean few months, IPL brought the much-needed cheer for the Indian advertising industry and consumers in September. Dream11 IPL 2020 set a viewership record with an overall consumption increase of 23% than 2019. IPL’s Television viewership reached an outstanding 31.57 million, revealed Star India. It was the biggest IPL carnival the nation saw.

According to BARC, return of original shows on TV along with the festive season and live sporting events boosted the ad volumes, taking the overall growth in ad volumes to 34% as compared to H1, 2020 and eventually minimising the reduction in volumes to a marginal -3% for the overall year than 2019.

After facing unprecedented turbulence in the year 2020, broadcasters are now looking forward to seeing what 2021 has in store for them. Here is what they are expecting:

Prathyusha Agarwal, Chief Consumer Officer, ZEEL:
Broadcast industry: Trends to watch out for in 2021

I see "Thriving VideoVerse of The Soaring 20s" as the biggest trend in Entertainment that will shape 2021.

As a whole generation hit by the pandemic will kick into hyper-active mode to rebuild lives, economy and a whole new world, consumers will demand entertainment not as an earned indulgence at the end of a hard day's work but an always on entitlement. It will be a need as essential as the daily bread, acting as food for their souls, sparking their minds and a reservoir of emotions that they can dip into as a respite from the hard reality that a post COVID world will be.

Viewers will share their dining tables and living rooms with our content on television satisfying the craving for anticipation of a new story, the first bite to savour the emotion and form a firm bond engaging with our characters every day. They will then stretch it across multiple screens, platforms and interactions, micro-dosing, binging on it, dipping in, dipping out and gorging on it through time and space.

As broadcasters, we need to gear up our backend to tailor-make our content such that it is adept to the multiple platform front-end user interfaces. There is a shift needed from thinking of content development as an uncertain creative process to building a nuanced understanding of the cultural core that makes viewers tick, what they want/ need, where do they need it and have the capability to evolve our craft to deliver that. Its time to unleash the full potential of the Viewer VideoVerse which is way larger than any product x platform, seamlessly serving "fit for delight" content across screens.

Nina Elavia Jaipuria, Head - Hindi Mass Entertainment and Kids TV Network, Viacom18:
Broadcast industry: Trends to watch out for in 2021

In a connected world where linear and digital media are increasingly becoming intertwined, the year 2020 has been crucial in reaffirming the fact that unlike many western countries, Television and Digital will grow together in India. And this is one of the key trends that will continue and further take shape in the year 2021. The industry is expected to grow at 17% CAGR over next 4-5 years – while digital is expected to grow at a rapid pace, the traditional TV medium is also expected to witness a steady growth. This TV + Digital combined growth will result in a continued hike in demand for content – both long form, episodic and short form – as well as provide significant opportunities for content creators. Rural and semi-urban areas witnessed highest growth driven primarily by increased reach due to top broadcasters going back on Freedish this year. Furthermore, the availability of original content in regional languages across all genres contributed to this upswing. Concurrently on digital, given the increased demand and competitive landscape, OTT players are betting heavily on regional and differentiated original content to expand their library and drive-up user engagement. The growth in consumption of content across touchpoints is a trend that will enable unlocking the industry’s true potential – from both macro-economic as well as soft power capabilities.

Avinash Pandey, CEO, ABP Network:
Broadcast industry: Trends to watch out for in 2021

In 2021, online content consumption will continue to trend. Broadcasters are now open to new ideas of reaching out to their audiences, be it through podcasts or online video content. Furthermore, empathetic, intimate, and contextual storytelling will be crucial for content creators this year as the pandemic has placed a special focus on personal experiences and unfeigned stories. Hyperlocal content and neighbourhood stories, therefore, will help broadcasters engage with their consumers on a deeper level. At ABP Network, we have left no stone unturned when it comes to expanding on digital. We have invested into video content, podcasts and other forms of digital media to create greater value in the long-term. Our regional channels, too, continue to dominate in their respective markets across diverse platforms. Harnessing new opportunities on both fronts, we have expanded our offerings to create new avenues of growth and monetisation for 2021 and beyond.

Abhishek Dutta, South Asia Network Head for Cartoon Network and POGO:
Broadcast industry: Trends to watch out for in 2021

Indian viewers now expect relatability and relevance in terms of characters and contexts so demand for homegrown IPs will continue to rule the roost in 2021. India’s sustained co-viewing patterns and the rise in greater access to entertainment will cement Kids and Family Content as the ‘anchor genre’ in the country.

Markand Adhikari, Chairman and Managing Director, SAB Group:
Broadcast industry: Trends to watch out for in 2021

We will not just see the addition of new users but also increasing the retainership of existing digital consumers. Online gaming consumption and demand for OTT originals is only going to increase as technological advances greatly aid them. The best part is that their model is subscription-driven and not dependent upon advertisers. Though television is very much here to stay, OTT is going to gain a lot of traction in the mid-term. Further, the dependency of M&E companies on technology will likely increase to leverage cost-efficiency and create revenue enhancement opportunities. As monetisation and revenue in terms of ad-spend, continues to grapple, profit protection and cash management with greater technology integration will gain strategic significance for M&E companies. The industry is likely to remain focused on sustenance at current levels along with a renewed emphasis on flexibility which would accelerate the move to a variable cost model and reduced fixed costs. While the long-term implications of COVID-19 are yet to emerge, the above-mentioned developments will likely come into focus in the M&E industry as the post-COVID reality becomes clearer.