Post Thumb

When we speak about content IPs on news channels, ‘Save Our Tigers’ by NDTV, ‘Mission Pani’ by News18, are some of the names that come immediately to our minds. While the content marketing and IP space was dominated by channels like NDTV and Network18 until some five years ago, today more and more news channels across different markets are giving importance to creating and producing content IPs for clients. spoke to experts to find out what makes news channels a lucrative choice for marketers, brands and what the channels stand to gain from it.

Shamsher Singh

According to Shamsher Singh, Managing Editor, Zee Hindustan, content IPs are at the core of their business. “In the last few years, our network has been focusing on creating new content ideas for the channels. Big IPs have been created through on-ground events which explore topics that are very much relevant for the audience and focus on relevant issues that need to be addressed. We connect with different people from various industries and bring content that is different from the breaking news and analysis that we offer on a daily basis. From a business perspective as well, these IPs are good non-FCT opportunities to garner revenue and connect with the trade fraternity at the same time,” he said.

Sonia Kapoor

Sonia Kapoor, Revenue Head - India Today Television, said that, unlike an ad, content IPs give more synergy and help drive conversations around a brand.

Kapoor said most of these campaigns are very informative and bold, so associating with these make the channel look good. “At Network18 we were behind an IP called ‘Jal Daan’ which aimed to spread awareness about clean drinking water which is not accessible to 80% of the population. Only 20% of the population in India has access to clean drinking water. The campaign celebrated water heroes in the country. This kind of content doesn’t only make our channels look good, for example, this campaign also got the attention of UNESCO and the brand ‘Eureka Forbes’ won an award from UNESCO for the same. It was good for the channel and the brand. Depending on the kind of brands you associate with and the objectives of the brand, you have the potential to make up a very synergetic communication which is huge and will stay relevant for a long time,” she said.

But what is it that makes news channels a lucrative choice for marketers?

Kumar Deb Sinha

One of the biggest reasons brands choose news channels for big-ticket content IPs is because of the credibility and trust people have in them. Kumar Deb Sinha, Director of Global Production Hub of GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare, said news channels are content factories. He said, they already have full-fledged studios, writers, productions to support the big IPs.

“This is not comparable to any other genre. GECs don’t have their own production houses. It is a very minimal cost association for them (news channels) to have branded content teams that will manage all this. If you have such teams, your profitability is also going to be high. If brands associate with GECs there will be many cuts and commissions for all the parties involved. However, here the news channel gets the entire profits.”

“The turn-around time taken by news channels for branded IPs is pretty fast. Brands can create volume (of content) at a low cost which is very relevant to them,” he added.

However, according to him, the only challenge with news channels is that very limited categories of brands can associate with their formats.

Singh of Zee Hindustan said that editorial, marketing, sales teams all come together to create successful IPs that record-high viewership numbers. This financial year, his channel created IPs like ‘Udaan’ and ‘Rise’ which focused on SMEs and start-ups. Singh said they were so successful that the channel took the IPs to regional chapters as well; garnering high revenues.

Another reason for channels, to focus increasingly on content IPs are FCT rates as per Sinha. "I would not be surprised if today for a news channel, branded content contributes close to 40% of its revenues," he said. Sinha said that normal 10-second ad rates on news channels are still quite low and therefore, the "only USP they have is the value of content and writing."